Dec. 9, 2012; Cleveland, OH, USA; Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Dwayne Bowe (82) makes a catch while being defended by Cleveland Browns cornerback Joe Haden (23) in the first quarter at Cleveland Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

The KC Chiefs’ Top Five Needs

As we get closer and closer to the opening of free agency and the draft, we’ve had great conversations about what our Chiefs should do. There’s definitely been shifting opinions since the regular season ended. Back in December, the almost unanimous perspective was that we ought to draft Geno Smith. Over the past six weeks however, I’ve read on this site more and more strong arguments for the Chiefs to pick someone else, ranging from Luke Joeckel to Dee Milliner to Star Lotulelei. I’ve also read some excellent posts advising us to trade the #1 pick so that we’lll have three picks in the first two rounds. There’s only one thing for sure from the trajectory of opinions thus far  - it’s only going to get more chaotic as we head into April.

As of now, here are my top five positional needs. This list is not necessarily the positions I would draft for however. They are my priorities for our smartest thinking, given the multitude of options.

1. Quarterback: Rest assured, Addicts, our quarterback gap hasn’t changed, regardless of all of the chatter. The question is, what do we do about it? Most of you want Geno Smith – I think I’m in the camp too, as of now. But we saw Tamba Hali arguing this week that Matt Cassel not only deserves one more chance but still has what it takes to be an NFL starter. There’s been more and more conversations about trading for Alex Smith or Nick Foles. And many have argued cogently for either dropping down in the draft or using our second round pick on a QB to keep the value of the player in line with his draft pick. I think all of these options should be kept on the table, with the major factor being Geno’s performance at the Combine and endless tape review of all of these guys. Heck, Tamba’s defense of Cassel reminded me of how teams had given up on Rich Gannon, Trent Green and Kurt Warner, only to see them blossom with another team.

2. Defensive End: This one kind of snuck up on me, lost in the hoopla of our quarterback issue. We literally may not have a starting defensive end on the roster in a month. Barring serious contract renegotiations, most pundits are saying that Glenn Dorsey and Tyson Jackson are gone. Ropati Pitoitua showed promise last year, but I’m not sure if he’s starter material. This draft class is rich in defensive ends.

3. Wide Receiver: I wish, very strongly, that the Chiefs sign Dwayne Bowe. Let’s assume that happens. We still have a major gap here. I think Steve Breaston will come back strong this year, now that the mysterious boycott by Chiefs’ coaches of his playing time is over (does anyone know what that was about, by the way?!). But we need a #2 receiver who is a legitimate threat, along with Bowe. Jon Baldwin isn’t that guy.

4. Cornerback: Brandon Carr, anyone? Javier Arenas is fine in the nickel, but I think we need an upgrade to play opposite Brandon Flowers. Dee Milliner from ‘Bama looks pretty damn good.

5. Mike Linebacker or Safety: If we land a top-notch corner, then I think our next priority is a Mike Linebacker to complete what would be a fearsome foursome of Derrick Johnson on the inside and Tamba Hali and Justin Houston on the outside. If we don’t land a corner, then we go safety, to compete with Kendrick Lewis for a starting role.

You may notice that left tackle is not on my list. That’s because we need to re-sign Branden Albert.

As far as our first pick in the Draft, I’m going to keep this simple, boiling it down to just one factor: If Geno Smith excels at the Combine, he’s our top pick. If he doesn’t, then we go Star Lotulelei and either find a QB in Round Two or pick up Alex Smith. And believe it or not, I think we need to start adding wide receiver into the mix in our conversation about top needs.

Addicts, who’s your top pick now, and what do you think about our receiver dilemma?!

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  • Chris Tarrants

    I still think that we roll the dice on Geno no matter what happens in Indy! Then in round two we go after Tavon Austin to round out our wr core and at the same time adding a comfort level to ensure Genos success

  • Kurt Rauch

    I think your ‘top five’ effectively illustrates an important point to realize about the 2013 Chiefs: they are by no means “plug and play”. The 2012 team underperformed no doubt, but at the same time KC’s representation in the Pro Bowl was not only ironic, but equally and oppositely extreme. This team has more than its share of holes to fill as well as a brand new regime with an undoubtedly (hopefully?) different plan for success that will take time to gel. Maybe my coffee is a tad too weak this morning, but I don’t think one ‘quick-fix’ off-season is sending the Chiefs to the promised land this year. I know, I know, it’s sad to even write it… For now I am resigned to remain clinging to my hopes of sniffing the playoffs in 2013.

    • Gene Yuknis

      you’re right on the money kurt, i was saying the same thing several weeks ago. you don’t build a dynasty in one year, or with one draft pick. these things take a little time and patience.

  • john

    There is only one sure thing about this draft. Some fans will hate what they do, some will love it, others will simply have a “wait and see” attitude. Chiefs have somehow stumbled on the worst season in decades to have the number one pick based on their needs and players available.

    • Stacy D. Smith

      That’s the spectrum every year.

  • john

    I’m writing more than one comment because I HATE the fact that this format does not allow for paragraph breaks.
    IF the Chiefs go the draft route for their QB, I am probably the only one, other than the people who sit at his dinner table, that would like to see the Chiefs keep Cassel.
    If the rookie can start, then start him. If he’s not ready, I’d like to see what Reid can do with Cassel, but with the clear objective of the rookie being the future QB, not Cassel.
    IF they go the free agent route, then I’d say draft Star Lotulelei and cut Dorsey and/or Jackson loose.
    Finally, a wild idea. Trade (maybe the second, keeping in mind it’s a very high pick) for Darell Revis. Might even take another pick or something. Chiefs will have to pay him around 90+ million, but they would immediately have one of the best defenses in the NFL.

  • chiefridgy

    QB and QB are pretty high on my list. Improving our offense automatically improves our defense. I think most would agree our WR’s just need someone to get them the ball. Oh, and Albert is healthy! Crenell and his “let the man catch the ball and run five yards before trying to tackle him” defense being gone should automatically make our D better. I know we have a couple of concerns on D, but none of those guys will b charged with throwing touchdowns ( unless they are our secret weapon 4th string QB sshhh).

    • berttheclock

      Jonathan Baldwin has never learned how to run routes and he has major problems trying to gain separation. On several plays he has gone downfield, seemingly, oblivious to what any Chiefs QB was trying to do with throwing to him. Those same problems appeared in many scouting reports prior to the draft. The only things which caught anyone’s attention were his circus type leaps in the end zones against lesser Big East dbs.

      • chiefridgy

        Ok. Next man up. We have plenty WR’s on the team who are/could be good. Gotta re-sign Bowe. I guarantee they don’t let that man walk.

  • berttheclock

    If only there was a QB out there in the draft who was considered to be “too short” and possesses a “Less than NFL strength for his throwing arm”. Then, the Chiefs could pull a San Diego trick by trading away the 1st pick to drop lower in the draft, take a solid player of both need and best available and pick at 34 that too short lack of arm strength QB. SD had the first pick in the 2001 draft, but, did not want Michael Vick. So, they traded with Atlanta and picked up the fifth which they used for LaDanian Tomlinson. No other QBs were taken in that pro bowl ridden 1st round and Drew Brees fell to them at the top of the second round. Scouts had said he was both too short and didn’t possess arm strength. Kiper, Jr, thought he was legitimate going in the 2nd round only because he had dubbed him “Captain Comeback” for his competitive play. Another funny thing about Brees is that much used canard that teams must draft and develop their Franchise QB. Both Brees and Favre were 2nd round picks and both ended starring for other teams. GB gave up a Number 1 for BF and Brees went to the Saints as a FA. BTW, the Chiefs could have drafted Drew Brees, but, opted to trade away both their 1st and 2nd round picks for Trent Green.

  • Scott Mahurin

    Not sure what we have for wide receivers. It’s just hard to say with the Cassel/Quinn throwing the ball. Which brings me right back to QB. Geno Smith will undoubtedly be our first pick. Wide receivers can be found in the later rounds and/or FA. Besides the 3 mentioned in the article we already have McCluster, Wylie, Bellamy, Copper, Newsome, Hemingway, Shoemaker, and most recently Gilyard on contract. That’s 10 signed and Bowe.

    I believe the pick at 34 will be a DB. There are oodles of good corners and great safeties still available at the 34th pick. We could also take one of the following in free agency: DRC, Grimes, or Talib. Or we could draft two using our 2nd and 3rd picks.

    As to the D-Line, I am hoping T-Jax will sign a lower contract. Then roll with Poe, Powe, Bailey, Pitoitua (FA signing), and Shaun Smith (FA signing). At this point we’d have a solid DL. If we added Giants lately released DE Chris Canty we’d then have a very strong front 3 with depth.

    SILB just isn’t on the field long enough to warrant a 1st or 2nd round pick this year. If we have a shot at good one in the third, compensatory 3rd, or fourth…great! If we have the cap money left over and the Ravens have a fire sale…Ellerbe would be elite. Pick him up and we COULD stay in a base 3-4 more often. Realistically, Siler and Studebaker may be what we end up going with.

    T-Jax and Cassel have to be cut or re-signed to lower contracts to pay for our FA signings. Do those two things and gain $12-22M extra to add to our current $14M cap. $26M is enough to sign Bowe, Albert, Colquitt, and Canty. $36M?

  • Jason Howell

    Trade for Harvin, let Bowe go. Re-sign Albert, keep Cassel. Then draft depth at o-line so Cassel can have time to throw the ball. And turn Hillis into a blocking fullback.

  • Shawn Patterson

    I trust Andy Reid when it comes to QB. Whether he goes with Cassel or trades for Foles or Smith, or simply drafts Geno Smith if he thinks he’s worth it. If he and John Dorsey decide to wait later in the Draft to take a QB then I think they should use the #1 pick on the best player available or trade back, get some extra picks, and take EJ Manuel later (He’s gonna be good). This draft class is FULL of offensive and defensive line talent, minus Jadeveon Clowney (of all the years where there is no #1 QB, there isn’t even the best college FB player)! The chiefs will find good players throughout the draft to strengthen the trenches. I think the Chiefs need to make a serious attempt to land Gregg Jennings in free agency, after resigning Bowe. Jennings has perfect route running skills and can be a legitimate #2 next to Bowe. Finally the Chiefs should take ILB A.J. Klein from Iowa State in the later rounds. In his time in the Big 12 no one has had more tackles (Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year 2011), he is the passionate emotional leader of a very underrated defense, he makes big plays (4 pick-sixes), plays the run extremely well, and is athletic enough to handle tight ends and slot receivers in coverage.

  • Ron White

    Regarding your Q on Breaston….I believe it had everything to do with his lack of downfield blocking….I noticed early in the season that he was putting little effort into it and it cost us some big plays. I could be way off the mark but that is what i saw. I was not unhappy when he did not get the playing time as in my opinion he did not deserve it.

  • Jason Ray Brawn

    I was kinda thinkin we try tp pick up Smith if the 49ers let him hit free agency then with the #1 pick we grab Dee Miliner (him and flowers make a solid cb combo for many years) with the #34 pick we grab either Hunt the DE from SMU (who i believe has a unbelievable ceiling) or Barrett Jones the versitale O lineman from Bama( i think this gives a replacement for llija and good depth on our line) or Lacey the RB from Bama( OMG could you imagine a Charles(speedster) and Lacy ab big power back combo next year??? That gives me chills. And then in the third with our first pick we grab E.J. Manuel the QB from FSU (which i think will make our QB depth chart for next year Smith, Manuel, and Tanney) then if we have a comp pick at the end of the round we grab the ILB from Iowa St Klein. I believ thats the best way to proceed into next year. Now with the combine and all the pro day stuff and free agency yet to come lol who know what will change before April. GO CHEIFS!!!!!!

  • Don417

    The author is clueless. This team needs an LT. Hello?

    • chiefridgy

      I don’t think he’s clueless. Team just needs to re-sign Brandon Albert. Hello?

  • Danny W

    I agree but think CB is a bigger need than DE. Pitoatua and Shaun Smith would do fine for cheap in a pinch. Quarterback is a need with so much urgency that I’m going nuts. Dwyane Bowe is the best receiver option we’ve got right now so it’s on him to sign for huge money or walk. One shall see.

  • dude

    “Heck, Tamba’s defense of Cassel reminded me of how teams had given up on Rich Gannon, Trent Green and Kurt Warner, only to see them blossom with another team.”
    None of those quarterbacks even remotely resembles Cassel’s context. Gannon, you might recall, was AWESOME for us when he filled in for 6 or so games in place of Grbac. Then we decided to go with a rusty Grbac against Denver in the divisional round, and lost. Raiders saw Gannon’s ability and picked him up, and he played well for them right off the bat.
    Trent Green didn’t look good in St. Louis, but he only had about a year starting before his injury. When he got to the Chiefs, he played well from the get-go.
    Warner played well the second he got a chance in the NFL. He was simply overlooked and never given a chance at all.
    In contrast to those fine quarterbacks,. Cassel has had THREE years to prove himself, and failed to do so. Even the year the Chiefs won the division, he wasn’t anything special. Even if you think he was great that one season, Gannon, Green, and Warner NEVER regressed like Cassel has done.

  • Outback Chief

    I see many holes on this team ,holes in the form of we need competition at keys spots to add depth. The Chiefs should take BPA at nearly any position because it never hurts to upgrade your talent.
    I took a little grief on my first mock for even mentioning linemen in this draft but I was only looking ahead to FA and who we might lose which could be Jackson,Dorsey,Albert, we lost Lilja already.
    As far as QB I don’t want to give anything if he’s going to be replaced in two years that’s why I’ve mentioned Chase Daniels,or Hasselbeck if released, and alike.They aren’t top tier but I’d use them for a year or two.
    With the receivers I’m not too worried but we need some speed definitely, in Reid’s offense we need a TE that stays on the field not this mish mash of whatever.
    We need at least one CB in the draft and one FA to boost the competition back there.
    And unless we draft a top talent at ILB we need to buy a FA with that still has legs.

  • cyberry

    I really don’t think any Chiefs offensive talent can be evaluated on last year. The coaches had this team so unprepared for every game..I saw Baldwin open several times but Cassel was on his back or had already thrown it away..Blame it on O-line, coaches or Qb’s but because the QB does not have time to look for the #2 receiver…doesn’t not make Baldwin a bust..Breaston has caught at least 700 yards for the last 4 years, he had 75 yards all last season, without an injury…My point is Baldwin showed in training camp his talent..I won’t dismiss any player’s because of last years..coaching meltdown..

    BTW..I am a big Mizzou fan but Chase Daniel is only 7 for 9 passes for a total of 55 yards and no touchdowns in 4 years..Just because he has been watching Drew Brees….never mind…