2015 Chiefs Fan Guide To The Fix PART I

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Who to Draft in the First

Gil Brandt at NFL.com, has listed the top three needs of each team in the upcoming 2015 draft. Out of the 17 teams drafting ahead of the Chiefs, 3 teams list needing an offensive lineman as their #1 top priority. Of the 13 teams choosing after the Chiefs only one of those teams, the Colts, list needing an offensive lineman as a #1 top priority.

Also, out of all the teams drafting in front of the Chiefs, 10 teams list needing an OL somewhere in their top three priorities. Only four teams list needing an OL in their top three needs when looking at the team drafting after the Chiefs in the first round of the 2015 draft.

15 teams (including the Chiefs) are needing an upgrade along their offensive lines. That means it’s highly likely there will be teams attempting to move up in the draft to get the offensive lineman they’re pin pointing.

One reason teams will be willing to pay dearly to get a high quality offensive lineman is reflected in the fact that of all playoff teams drafting after the Chiefs, only one of them lists OL as their top priority. In other words… build yourself a stout offensive line… and it greatly improves your chances of ending up in the playoffs. Case and point: the 2012 8-8 Dallas Cowboys vs. the 2014 12-4 Dallas Cowboys and their vastly improved offensive line.

Now, let’s take a peek at the overall performance of the team this year and what it may mean in terms of how the Chiefs approach fixing the holes in their bucket… not to be confused with a bucket list… but perhaps not all that different.

The Defense

In 2014 the Chiefs had the 7th ranked defense overall but the run defense was 28th and that obviously needs to be up there on the list of holes needing to be plugged. The Chiefs, in defensive passing yards allowed, ranked 2nd and their pass pressure was superior ranking 5th in sacks. Both are near the top of the league but will no doubt be upgraded if the possibility arises. More at CB than at OLB. It appears that the increased QB pressure from the front 7 this year improved the CB’s ability to cover better and not the other way around. Consequently, if a top notch CB becomes available in free agency or the draft, it should not surprise anyone if the Chiefs lasso the help.

The tricky fix here will be with the Run-D. A popular perception is that the imminent returns of ILB Derrick Johnson and DE Mike DeVito will re-establish and refresh the Chiefs Run-D to respectability again. The problem with that theory of course is that the Chiefs 2013 defense ranked 22nd in rushing yards allowed. Add the increasing possibilities that both DJ and DeVito will return with less than 100% of their previous capabilities and the run defense issue skyrockets up the list of overall needs. Expect Dorsey to find and sign an ILB.

The Offense

The offense is going to be a bit more complex to overhaul. Because the Chiefs need big improvements from at least three offensive lineman’s positions, LG, RG and RT… and they need 2, or even 3, big upgrades at wide receiver, including a #1 WR… then you must say the offense needs “renovation” and not just some “caulking around the edges.” These changes are going to be nothing less than “foundational.” Especially when you consider the significance of “pass protection” and the reliance upon “skillful wideouts” in Andy Reid’s pass heavy offensive scheme.

The Chiefs ranked 29th in passing in 2014 and 10th in rushing. While an outsider might look at these statistics and say it appears that the Chiefs offensive line was doing “something right” in reference to being ranked 10th in the league in rushing, even the most casual Chief fan walking on the Plaza on a Saturday evening would tell you there’s one man who is the reason for being ranked that high in rushing and his name is Jamaal Charles.

The ongoing health of both RB Jamaal Charles and QB Alex Smith will be one of the primary motivations for the Chiefs to reshape their offensive front. In that case I would expect fixing the offensive line to be a higher priority to the Chiefs than fixing the wide receiver position although, they are interconnected, each effecting the other. Purely cause and effect… it’s also the chicken and the egg debate… and groundhog day all over again.

Yes, some Chiefs fanatics are ready to kick their quarterback, Alex Smith, to the curb along with the OL, even though they’re armed with the knowledge that the OL was tragically bad, costing Smith a lacerated spleen (when they could have gotten him killed), and a record tying WR corp that couldn’t even sniff the end zone at any time during the season equaling a 64 year old record.

And… it’s easily conceivable that only two of the Chiefs WRs could make the roster of another NFL team. Here then, is my ranking of the Chiefs greatest team needs for 2015.

Chiefs Needs Rankings

1a) Offensive Linemen

1b) Wide Receivers

2) Middle Linebacker(s)

3) Defensive End

4 Cornerback(s)

Tomorrow I’ll take a look at some specific draft prospects who would appear to be in GM John Dorsey’s scope. I’ll not only give you a few names to consider but also give you some more tips on what to expect out of Arrow-Head-Quarters over the next 6 months and how to deal with it. See you then.

In the meantime, what do you think Addict Fans? How would you go about “fixing” the Chiefs?