The Kansas City Chiefs aren’t going to wake up this year, next or the one after that and discover that they have become the New England Patriots. Not going to happen. That’s why they need to adopt a New York state of mind, and quick. No, Herm Edwards, not your former J-E-T-S–the G-Men. The Chiefs need to examine the New York Giants‘ roster that Jerry Reese and Tom Coughlin built in The Big Apple, and use that blueprint as a guide to success back in K.C.
The Giants have become a hard-nosed team that successfully both runs the football and rushes the passer week in, week out. Because of those highly desired gridiron traits, the G-Men were road warriors. That’s how you get it done in the NFL–protect your own backyard, give ‘em hell on the road.
If you compare the Chiefs’ and Giants’ rosters, you’ll see that the two teams have a lot in common. Bookend defensive ends? Check. Smash-mouth feature running back? Check. Perennial All-Pro tight end? Check. Bona fide No. 1 WR? Check. Rangy linebackers? Check. Somewhat spotty secondary? Check.
The Giants’ offensive line is solid, but not spectacular. Where they really have us beat is at the defensive tackle and quarterback positions. That’s why I fully believe that if the Chiefs adopt my NFL Draft plan they will put themselves on a trajectory similar to the one the Giants have enjoyed. I’m not saying we’ll win a Super Bowl, I’m saying we’ll put ourselves in position to compete for the Super Bowl.
- Step One – Draft DT Sedrick Ellis, USC
There is at least a handful of can’t-miss prospects in this year’s draft class. What does that mean? It means that picking fifth we can’t afford to walk away from NFL Draft weekend without one of the five best players from the draft. It also means that we shouldn’t trade down. The top players in this draft blow the rest of this class away, but it’s deep because of underclassmen. That means that we’d be foolish to trade back to draft two players in the first round similar to the talents we can pick up in the second and third rounds.
Ellis will be a star. His addition to our defensive line will give us one of the most ferocious units in the league by far. We all witnessed how the Super Bowl was won. Ellis will make our D-line G-Menesque. I recommend picking him over even Darren McFadden, Jake Long and Matt Ryan. I’d give Glenn Dorsey the same recommendation if he passes our injury screenings. We also cannot give in to temptation and draft either Chris Long or Vernon Gholston–we have our defensive ends. Two great ones at that.
- Step Two – Draft an Offensive Tackle in Round Two
I hear the meat-and-potatoes Chiefs fans out there collectively groaning, but I don’t give a damn. Sure, Jake Long could be the best tackle to come along in some time. He could also be a poor man’s Joe Thomas. Wouldn’t we be better off drafting the best second round tackle in recent memory? After all, this is possibly the greatest draft class of tackles ever. Teams fail in the draft when they fail to adapt to the draft and its talent.
There are two unique forces at defensive tackle, but about seven or eight very solid offensive tackle prospects out there. I think going with Ellis or even Dorsey in round one, followed by someone like Gosder Cherilus, Ryan Collins or Sam Baker in round two is the way to go. I know how much Chiefs fans like Long, and how much Mel Kiper likes Ryan Clady, but I think a starting left tackle will be available with the fourth pick in round two. Remember Redbeard’s personal salvation project Tony Ugoh, the rookie who protected Peyton Manning’s blind side last year? He was the 42nd pick. Joe Staley went 28th overall. A very good tackle will be there.
- Step Three – Trade up and Draft A Quarterback
I like Brodie Croyle, I really do. But given his durability issues it would be ignorant for us to put all of our eggs in the Brodie basket. Remember what Woody Allen said?
“80 percent of success is just showing up” — Woody Allen
That alone could doom us during the Brodie Croyle era. That’s why we need to use our plethora of picks and move up to get a second second-round pick and draft a quarterback. Either Brian Brohm, Chad Henne or Joe Flacco will be there. And all three are underrated. Alex Smith went No. 1 and none of these three studs can crack the first round? Something’s not right here, not with the players but with the scouting. Remember John Beck and Trent Edwards–who both look like they are on their way to becoming good quarterbacks–they were there in round two last year. Brady Quinn damn near was.
We draft a rookie to sit for a year or two while Croyle gets his shot. If Croyle stumbles, they step in. If Croyle succeeds, we are in the same predicament the Browns now find themselves in, which is a good pickle to be in if you ask me. Research shows that quarterbacks who are slowly groomed typically succeed. I’m confident that if we had both Croyle and one of the three above-mentioned rookie QBs, that we would finally be successfully in developing a QB of our own. Don’t we all want that?
- Step Four – Draft Corners, More Hogs and A Return Man in the Later Rounds
Bill Kuharich, Herm and Ray Farmer have actually been pretty good in the later rounds of the draft. Jarrad Page. Kolby Smith. Some good finds. They need that trend to continue. We need two solid corners–which Herm always says he can find late–a guard and a return specialist. If a receiver slips into round three or four and has no business being there, we also should look at him, especially if he doubles as a return guy.
I truly believe that if the Chiefs follow this blueprint, that Herm Edwards’ bold prediction to Eric Casillias will be right –the Chiefs will end up being like the Giants two-three years from now.