Alright Addicts, I think I finally have something we can agree on here. You readers and I haven’t always seen eye-to-eye, but I think I finally found some common ground: the biggest need in 2013 for the Kansas City Chiefs is quarterback!
And that is where I expect the universal agreement to end.
Now that we’ve got quarterback out of the way, it’s time to break down the other team needs and see what other positions the Chiefs should be looking at. And don’t worry, you won’t have to just listen to what I have to say, I’ll include a poll at the end to see what Chiefs Nation thinks. Which I guess means you could just scroll down and vote … but I’d rather you read the whole thing. Please?
These are, of course, pre-free agency opinions, which should and will change as the offseason progresses and players are gained and lost. So know that this is not a final product. But for arguments sake, let’s assume all unrestricted free agents are gone. What positions will the Chiefs need to look at this offseason?
I asked Nick Jacobs of TWC Metro Sports in Kansas City that question on Twitter. Excluding quarterback, he listed out: 1) Left Tackle 2) Center 3) Tight End 4) Wide Receiver 5) Left Guard. If these rankings differ from yours, then you and I have something in common. Personally, I think cornerback is the second biggest need on the team, and even asked Jacobs about that. He replied: “If they are getting pressure and disrupting timing then CB you can get by with. You can’t with offense.” He went on, “I think the CB is important but there are a ton of priorities above it right now.”
Let’s examine Jacob’s list. Left tackle makes sense since there is no guarantee that Branden Albert will be back. Next in line is Donald Stephenson, who got some work filling in for an injured Albert last season, is a big downgrade over Albert or even a Luke Joeckel. At center is projected starter Rodney Hudson, who was the Chiefs second round pick in 2011. After taking over for Casey Wiegmann last year, Hudson then broke his leg in late September and was place on IR. Without seeing a full season of Hudson at the helm might be a little preemptive to find a replacement, but Hudson could easily slide into the left guard position that Ryan Lilja vacated with his retirement and Jacobs listed as the fifth biggest non-quarterback need. Although it should be noted that 2012 2nd round pick, Jeff Allen, did a nice job filling that role last season.
Next was tight end, where Tony Moeaki, Steve Maneri and Jake O’Connell man the position. I also need to clarify that Jacobs made this list before the release of Kevin Boss, so the position might have moved up on his list of priorities. While the Boss move came as a surprise to me, Adam Teicher of the Kansas City Star speculated the cut came because they weren’t sure if Boss would ever be able to play again because of his history with concussions. Finally, Jacobs came to wide receiver, where the absence of Dwayne Bowe and the recent cutting of Steve Breaston would leave Jon Baldwin, Dexter McCluster (assuming he’s listed as a wide receiver), Devon Wylie, Terrence Copper and a bunch of other guys that wouldn’t even come close to replacing Bowe.
While each of these positions should be looking for additions/upgrades this offseason, I’m still not convinced that cornerback isn’t a serious need for the team. With Stanford Routt being released during the season, the Chiefs got to look at a combination of Jalil Brown and Javier Arenas opposite of Brandon Flowers. While they appeared more serviceable than Routt, it’s still a serious downgrade from what fans were accustomed to with Brandon Carr, who is now experience much more high-profile success in Dallas. And with both Philip Rivers and Peyton Manning in the division, in a passer’s league, the cornerback position is at more of a premium than it has ever been.
Also, what about defensive end? Both Glenn Dorsey and Ropati Pitoitua are free agents, and would leave Allen Bailey as the starting defensive end opposite Tyson Jackson, who is no guarantee to actually be with the Chiefs for the season since he is scheduled to make a base salary of $14.72 million and an additional $250K roster bonus. With the lack of certainty and the surplus of question marks at the position, how will the defensive end stack up on the Chiefs list of priorities?
Last but not least: middle linebacker. Although the Chiefs sent 3 of the 4 starting linebackers to the Pro Bowl, they still have a hole at the other middle linebacker position next to Derrick Johnson. After Jovan Belcher’s death and Brandon Siler’s impeding free agency, the Chiefs are now short at the position and could use help inside. What Belcher brought was the ability to take on blockers and allow Johnson to make the tackle, which might be a task that doesn’t bring a lot of glory but is still very important to how the defense is run.
So what do you think Chiefs fans? What is the top non-quarterback need for the Chiefs in 2013?