In years past, the Chiefs could have taken on any position and found a need. Such is not necessarily the case anymore. We have talent on this team, and just a few spots that need upgrading. Those spots, however, are glaring. You would have to be an idiot not to see them. (Are you reading this Scott Pioli?)
A Second Wide Receiver
In my humble football opinion, it would be absolute professional malpractice for the Chiefs not to sign a free agent wide receiver or at least spend a top pick (first or second round pick) on a wide receiver.
A quick run down of the second wide receiver position tells you why. Chris Chambers is toast; Terrance Cooper is a special teamer; Verran Tucker a fourth receiver at best; save one or two plays, Dexter Mccluster was unimpressive in his time (definitely not a second receiver); Quinten Lawrence (why is he still on this team?), and Kevin Curtis (aging, slowing and injury prone). Dwayne Bowe is the only real deal we have, and without help he tends to disappear in games.
More after the jump…
Since most wide receivers take years to develop, the free agent route is the safest way to go. Pioli knows this from his time in New England (Randy Moss) and his brief time in Kansas City (almost snagged Anquan Boldin/lost him to Baltimore). Pioli’s failed attempt at Boldin last year lends credibility to my argument that the Chiefs will sign (or even trade for) a veteran wide receiver, as soon as the lockout is over.
Even though Todd Haley wants a running team first, a competent veteran free agent second receiver would make the offense exponentially better. Especially on third downs, which we had so much difficulty with at times last year.
Why do I think it would be professional malpractice for the Chiefs not to do so? Because you have a 60 million dollar developing QB in Matt Cassel, a talented wide receiver in Dwayne Bowe, a potential pass catching rising star in Tony Moeaki, and the league’s best running back in Jamaal Charles. You absolutely have to give the defense one more threat to think about. It would be crime to allow opposing defenses on third and long to blitz Cassel, double Dwayne Bowe, jam Moeaki at the line, and have your only chance at converting the down lay in the hands of Verran Tucker or the abovementioned recovering corps.
Without a true second receiver you hurt the potential and development of Cassel, Moeaki, and Bowe.
It is also not brain surgery to figure out which free agent wide receiver fits the Chiefs “right 53”. James Jones (GB), Mike Sims-Walker (JAC), Steve Breaston (AZ), TJ Houshmandzadeh (BAL), Jacoby Jones (HOU), and Sidney Rice (MIN) all fit the bill. They are good players who keep their noses out of trouble. With the exception of TJ, they have not even hit their ceiling yet.
We have the plenty of cap room and plenty of need. It has to happen. A second wide receiver is our most glaring need on Offense. Plus we save a high draft pick by signing one. Going into the season without a good second receiver would be malpractice on Scott Pioli’s part. (I swear Mr. Pioli, I will sue you, right after I get done sticking your voodoo doll full of pins).
A Second Running Back
Another position of glaring need, and this will probably spark some debate, is a second running back. There would be no bigger nightmare than losing our number one running back (you know who I am talking about and I won’t say his name because I am superstitious and am not voting for him in the Madden poll) and be left with just Thomas Jones and Jackie Battle as our options.
I know Todd Haley loves Thomas Jones, and he may be a great leader, but his wheels are obviously coming off. In fact he has only three wheels left (3.7 ypc to be exact). Am I wrong? Nope, I am not. I think Pioli needs to step in here and release him. He could just tell Todd Haley he did it on accident and since he cannot admit his mistakes (G.M. 101; see Tyson Jackson) he can’t possible bring Thomas Jones back… (that was for Big Matt).
I love Jackie “The Battle Axe” Battle, and there is a place for him on the team, but that place is third and two, and fourth and one, not first or second downs. Sorry, but Dexter McCluster is not second running back material.
Since there are no really good viable free agents at the running back position, we must spend a high pick on a RB too (second or third round). We need a big bruiser with over a 4.0 yard per carry during his college career (Merlin do you know of any?).
This need is real because our current second running back is just terrible. How many times did you see our star running back leave a play or two because he got walloped? We need a new second running back in a bad way, maybe not as bad as a second wide receiver, but that need is definitely up there.
A 3-4 Nose Tackle
On defense our glaring weakness, at least according to my perception, is a true Nose Tackle. How important is a true NT to a good 3-4? The Miami Dolphins raised a lot of eyebrows when they put the franchise tag on nose tackle Paul Soliai guaranteeing him about $12.5 million in 2011. Did I mention Paul Soliai has only four years of experience, 70 total career tackles and only two career sacks? The big immovable bodies are worth the big money in the NFL. (Interestingly, and as a side note, DE Tyson Jackson has 69 tackles and one sack in just two years).
Free agents NTs? Forget about them. Can you name any true 3-4 NTs on the market? I cannot because they are a rare breed and never hit the market. I am of the opinion that our first round pick, most assuredly our second round pick, should be on a big bodied, true, space eater, stop the run, NT.
Want more proof of this glaring need? Romeo Crennel went to the local Gate’s BBQ recently with Free Agent NT Shaun Rogers in an attempt to woo him. (Unfortunately, a fight broke out between the two of them when Romeo got the last of the short ends and then refused to share. Shaun Rogers quickly left to New Orleans pissed and still very hungry. Damn you Romeo, we were that close to getting our true NT).
Even though we have spent the last decade drafting big bodied defensive lineman with no real success, we can not let our past failure deter us from finding the cornerstone of our new 3-4 Defense. Just wait and see how much improvement the defense exhibits with a true NT.