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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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