Hey, I remember this place.
God, it was so long ago. Todd Haley was only our head coach then. This rookie named Dexter McCluster was being compared to Wes Welker. We had some guy named “Ikechuku” lined up at right tackle. We were all so hopeful about Jerheme Urban. We were convinced life would never be the same after the Chiefs abandoned River Falls. This must have been eons ago!
Life moves fast in the football world. Fortunately, I move even faster.
In my ten month disappearing act (which turned into a hiatus, then turned into me farting around uselessly on Chiefs’ message boards and the blogosphere), I somehow embodied the essence of spiritual enlightenment. I’m not sure how it occurred, but somehow, I had become smarter. Wiser. As if I had absorbed the world-worn experiences of 1,000 men, congealed into the essence of what one might call a perfect soul, through which all things run, like turbulent tributaries into a great pool of nutrients from which dreams become reality.
As a result, I am no longer the Crock you guys grew to know and genuinely dislike for my takes on anything Chiefs related. I am now somehow the same collection of elements, but a far more powerful entity. So while the Kansas City Chiefs have mutated from league cellar dweller into playoff competitor, I have transmogrified from a mere mortal to a full fledged Demigod of Football Opinions.
So when Paddy’s name popped up in my email, asking me to periodically share my two cents once again on Arrowhead Addict, all I could think was: this is perhaps the best “get” of any blog anywhere, in the history of mankind. I envy you all for having me around.
More delusions of grandeur (plus some actual thoughts regarding the 2011 NFL Draft) after the jump.
So what do we know about the NFL Draft in 2011?
(a.) We know that for another year, the Chiefs will likely go without a Super Bowl appearance, and facing a harsh schedule, will struggle to make the playoffs.
(b.) This will put an increased amount of pressure on Scott Pioli as general manager, but even more importantly, it will call into question Todd Haley’s performance as head coach and playcaller, which seem now to be inseparable for the rest of his time in Kansas City.
(c.) Every draft is an opportunity to recreate the 2010 draft class, which by most measures have put Pioli and Haley in excellent graces with the Chiefs diehards and, by extension, Clark Hunt.
(d.) We are officially exiting “rebuilding” mode. This is not a team that must win now, but with so many players at crucial positions nearing the peak of their potential (Cassel, Albert, Charles, Bowe, Dorsey, DJ, Hali, Flowers, Carr, and yes, Berry), we can definitively say this is a win soon team, with championships set in its sights a couple seasons down the road.
(e.) With no CBA in place, there are no free agents during draft season.
(f.) With no CBA in place, there are no trades in the 2011 NFL Draft that can include picks from the 2012 NFL Draft, as GMs must assume it possibly won’t happen.
(g.) If/when a new CBA is in place, free agency will open up like a flood, and the more impulsive free agency teams (Dallas, Oakland, Washington, Bengals, etc.) will all-too-quickly offer hilariously expensive contracts that more temperate teams, like the Chiefs, won’t.
All that means is that this team must find a way to take itself to the next level with little more than the 2011 NFL Draft class at our disposal.
That must include:
1. Massively developing the available talent on our roster, the way Crennel pumped life into our defense with roughly the exact same talent. Fortunately, this will be the case for virtually every team in the NFL except for the foolish overspenders mentioned earlier. Even more fortunately, this puts the Chiefs in a better position than most teams in the league, as they are much younger with a ton of talent still developing at key positions, ranging from wide receiver to quarterback to offensive line to defensive line to linebacker to secondary. This whole team is still on the upswing, even if you subtract the incoming Draft class.
2. Identifying any potential players on our roster that could serve as bargaining chips for fair trade deals across the league. This is the unfortunate reality facing the Chiefs in coming months. Now, during his time in Kansas City, Pioli has shied away from making big trades other than landing Cassel. But desperate times call for desperate measures, and these are desperate times for everybody. That means virtually no players, especially pre-Pioli era players, are sacred, and can be shipped if the price (in players or draft picks) is right.
3. Treating the 2011 NFL Draft as if it were the Most Important Draft EVAR, mispelled for emphasis. The Chiefs should avoid the urge to reach for need, but the Chiefs will definitely need to fill their needs with this draft. That includes passrusher, nose tackle, center, wide receiver, and depth at quarterback, offensive line, wide receiver, defensive line, and the secondary. How do you do this with eight picks and an extremely limited ability to trade? Stay tuned. For Crock the Enlightened will share.