Well Addicts, The Chiefs went out and conducted a practice under the guise of a game last week.
What did we learn about the Chiefs first string?
No, I am not worried about the score. Though the Chiefs management should be embarrassed to collect money for that practice. What did we learn? I was encouraged by the play of Jerrell Powe and Ricky Stanzi. Jonathan Baldwin showed some of the athleticism that made him a first round draft pick. Rodney Hudson, Allen Bailey and most of the rookies had their moments. All in all, there were encouraging signs for the current rookie crop.
However, all was not good. I have written before about my concerned about the offensive Since Casey Wiegmann didn’t play it’s unfair to draw too many conclusions about the first string line. However, it’s very fair to be concerned about the offensive line depth. Tyler Palko and Ricky Stanzi spent most of their time at quarterback running for their lives. Right now Rodney Hudson is the only solid depth we have on the offensive line. Ryan O’Callaghan is borderline and Jared Gaither can’t make it a couple of practices without being hurt. Although Gaither has a lot of talent, the most important ability is availability. Don’t be shocked if Gaither doesn’t make the team. He is a low risk, low price signing, but the Chiefs are not in the business of coddling problem children, despite his skills. Fans of the Chiefs should be holding their breath all year that Albert and Richardson stay healthy. This is a prime area for a new player to be brought in. Backup tackle and backup quarterback are the two spots where we are most likely to see a new player brought in. Tyler Palko didn’t do much to cement his status as the second string quarterback.
The second preseason game with the Ravens should provide a much greater read on the first string. The Ravens and Rams will provide a good idea on what we can expect from the Chiefs this year. The final game against the Packers is primarily for the final roster spots, trade bait and practice squad candidates.
Defensively, I was more encouraged. With Bailey, Houston, Miller, Powe and Brown, we have some rookies that could provide solid depth either through their own play there or by unseating incumbents, sending them to the second string.
As many of you know, I also serve as your Chiefs analyst for Draft Tek. At Draft Tek, we run draft simulations. We are already on our third first round mock draft for 2012. As the Chiefs analyst, I am always changing and refining the Chiefs needs list. Periodically, I go through my thoughts here on Arrowhead Addict. This year in particular will be a challenge. The Chiefs have now had three drafts with the same general philosophy. Now the Chiefs have some depth and potential depth at several positions. It will take all year for us to evaluation what we can get out of these players. So, expect my needs to alter at a fairly frequent rate. Currently, I have left and right offensive tackles listed as the highest needs. On Draft Tek, I can pair those needs together, but I am not sure I want to. It would not be a bad strategy to draft tackles in the first two rounds, Move Albert to left guard and Richardson to backup swing tackle. My buddy LongBall has already started to campaign for the Chiefs to package picks and move up in the draft for a stud QB. It’s not a bad thought, but it’s not a move that is in Scott Pioli’s past. However, it wasn’t in his past to make a rookie the highest paid player at his position, but he did it anyway.
Addicts, that’s where I sit. I am encouraged by the rookie class, nervous about the offensive line (depth especially) and looking forward to seeing a sharp series or three from the first string offensive against the Ravens. What is your current take on the state of the Chiefs?