The Kansas City Chiefs are entering one of the most important drafts in franchise history. After coming off a solid draft in 2008, the Chiefs must continue to build off of last year’s draft to generate a solid contending team for years to come. The only way this can be done is to address the major needs of our beloved red and gold. In this post, I will be ranking our major draft needs; 1 being a non-need and 10 being a desperate need.
Sure Tyler Thigpen showed potential in 2008. I don’t want to throw him under the bus or anything, but who knows what is going to happen when we get a new coach and if he will want to stick with this spread offense. If our new coach does not want to go with the spread, can Tyler be an effective under-the-center type quarterback? The Chiefs can not afford to wait if Tyler doesn’t pan out. Damon Huard is more than likely gone and lord knows that we can’t rely on Brodie Croyle. We must pick up a QB in this draft but none of the quarterbacks coming out of the draft seem to be worthy of a 3rd overall pick in my opinion. I say we pick up a QB in the later rounds. Here are some who should be available after the first round.
- Graham Harrell, Texas Tech - In 2008 Harrell threw for 5,100 yards, 45 touchdowns and posted a quarterback rating of 160.04. I know that he is definitely a product of a system but his stats are still outstanding. Although he does not have the frame of most NFL QB’s, he has good fundamentals to become a solid NFL player. Great arm, good accuracy, durable, shows poise in the pocket and has great football intelligence. I see Graham Harrell more as a developmental type player but he definitely has potential.
- Josh Freeman, Kansas State - Standing at 6’5″, 238 pounds Freeman has great size for the NFL. I personally think Josh Freeman is overrated but a lot of people like him and he is rated high on many peoples boards for QB’s in the 2009 draft, so I thought I would list him. He has great size and a cannon arm but I question his decision making frequently, especially in clutch situations.
- Nate Davis, Ball State - I think Nate Davis would be a solid pick on the 2nd day of the draft. He threw for 9,233 yards and 74 touchdowns in 3 years at Ball State. He seems to be a more NFL ready quarterback and I think he wouldn’t take as long to develop as a Graham Harrell. Davis has great smarts and plays well under pressure. If we can get him on the second day of the draft I say we take him.
Defensive End -10
It is no secret. There is no hiding it. The Chiefs pass rush last year was embarrassing. Dreadful. Horrendous. I could go on and on with how bad our pass rush was last year. The Chiefs posted and NFL all-time worst 10 sacks. Tamba Hali could not cut it as a right defensive end. He wasn’t all that great when we moved him back to LDE. I like Tamba but I think he will only thrive if he has a good LDE to compliment him like he did when we had Jared Allen. There are some good DE’s coming out of the draft this year but once again, none worthy of a 3rd overall pick.
- Brian Orakpo, Texas - This man is a beast standing at 6’3″, 255 pounds of pure muscle. The amazing part about him is that he still has the frame to become bigger. Orakpo has a great motor and great moves on the pass rush. His timing off the snap appears to be inconsistent but Brian is still one of the best DE’s coming out of draft if not the best. If there is some way we could trade down a few spots, pick up another draft pick or two, and still get him, it would be a great move.
- Everette Brown, Florida State - This would be a solid pick as well if we could get him in the 2nd round.
- Michael Johnson, Georgia Tech - As of a few months ago Johnson was ranked high and expected to go early in the draft. His draft stock has dropped over the past few months. Johnson has amazing size and speed but seems to be more of a raw talent. I have been looking at some mock drafts recently and many of them have Johnson going in the second round and some of the mock’s have him going to the Chiefs. If he is there in the 2nd round I think it would be a good move to grab him.
Our linebacking corps is another position that desperately needs to be addressed in the upcoming draft. Donnie Edwards is old and on his way out. Our other linebackers consist of Rocky Boiman, Pat Thomas, and Demorrio Williams. We don’t have much going for us at the linebacking position. We do have a bright spot though. Derrick Johnson. I know there are a lot of DJ naysayers out there, but I have confidence in him. Sure he could be better for this stage in his career but he is still the best linebacker we have. DJ is a solid linebacker, but he still has room to improve and he will. Derrick hasn’t really had much help from our other linebackers or our D-line either so I think with another legitimate linebacker at his side and some more D-line help, he will excel.
- Aaron Curry, Wake Forest - Curry is the best linebacker coming out of the draft this year. I have seen a few mock drafts that have our Chiefs taking Aaron Curry with 3rd overall pick. This is a solid pick. The greatest thing about Curry is his elite speed. He has the ability to cut off the corners quickly and get to the quarterback. Aaron also has great recovery speed when getting blocked. Aaron Curry would be an awesome compliment to Derrick Johnson.
Offensive Line- 9
Don’t get me wrong, our O-line has improved tremendously from the 07′ season to the 08′ season. The Chiefs were ranked dead last in rush offense in 2007. Last year we were ranked 16th in rush offense. Great start! Brian Waters is still a beast and Branden Albert is looking studly. As for the rest of our line, they are replaceable. With a high pick of an offensive lineman and a couple of free agent acquisitions, our line will be ready to progress some more.
- Jason Smith, Baylor - Jason Smith is arguably the best OT coming out of the draft. Good size and a great motor. He did miss 5 games last year with a torn MCL but other than that he has had a great collegiate career and seems fit and ready for the NFL.
- Eugene Monroe, Viginia - Hands down the best pass protector in the draft. Monroe is more agile than Jason Smith and is quicker on his feet. Jason Smith and Eugene Monroe are neck and neck for the best OT coming out this year. Either one would be a great pick.
The only thing that concerns me about drafting another 1st round OT is, what will we do with Branden Albert? We could move him to RT but he has no experience there. I guess he could play guard. He played there in college. We’ll See!
Wide Reciever/Tight End- 8
Everyone knows that basically all of our receiving yards came from three players last year. Dwayne Bowe, Tony Gonzalez, and Mark Bradley. Mark Bradley started out hot when he was acquiredin the middle of the season but kind of fizzled out towards the end of the season, partly due to injury. With the Tony Gonzalez saga continuing, nobody knows if he will be here next year. We should know whether he’s staying or going by the time the draft comes around, but even if he stays we still need a top end reciever.
- Michael Crabree, Texas Tech - ESPN has Crabtree rated as the best player coming out in ’09. The man is simply a beast. He has the size, speed, route running, and hands you would want in any great receiver. I would be surprised if the Chiefs actually picked Crabtree (if he is still on the board) but not too sad. Imagine D-Bo lining up next to Michael Crabtree and possibly Tony Gonzalez. Wow! A man can dream can’t he?
If we decide not to go with Crabtree or he’s not there at the #3 pick, Anquan Boldin could be available this year (contract dispute) along with some other quality receivers out there.
Defensive Backs -5
The Chiefs are looking good with DB’s for once. The Brandon’s are looking great and will only get better. Maurice Leggett is showing some potential as well. Pollard and Page are inconsistent at times but let’s give them another year and see if they can’t pull it together. I have faith in the both of them to succeed. But you can never have enough depth, especially at the DB positions. Look for us to draft one or two on the second day of the draft.
Running Back- 4
Larry Johnson is pretty much gone. Jamaal Charles is awesome when he is healthy and Kolby Smith is progressing. We will need to pick up another RB but we shouldn’t worry too much. RB’s are a dime a dozen these days and our O-line should be built up pretty good by the start of the ’09 season. Look for the Chiefs to draft a RB on the 2nd day of the draft or pick one up in free agency.
I know it’s a lot to take in right now, but the Chiefs have some major pieces missing when it comes to their rebuilding puzzle. These issues must be addressed before going into the ’09 season or it could be another long year. We are off to a great start following the 08′ draft, the hiring of Scott Pioli, and the firing of Herm Edwards. The Chiefs are also well under the cap, so we should be able to make a substantial splash in the free agency market, and we should also be able to get a couple more draft picks with the possible trades of LJ and Tony G. We are just a couple of players away from being a respectable, legitimate, winning football team! Let’s do this!