With all of the lock out speculation, I haven’t been paying much attention to what is going on with the NFL. I’ve been ignoring it until they get things figured out. But then I remembered the draft is coming up, and the Chiefs are looking to improve on their best season in years. They have a much tougher schedule coming up this year and in order to stay around the .500 mark or better, they will have to improve.
First pick (21 overall)- A lot of people are speculating taking an offensive lineman here. I would be ok with that, helping to protect Cassel who was progressing well last year until the last couple of games. It also will help keep their running game, one of the best in the league, doing what it is capable of doing. Some think Wisconsin’s Gabe Carimi could slip down to the Chiefs pick. If he is still there at 21, the Chiefs should jump all over him. A 6’7″ 315 pound tackle would be great to have on your team. On the defensive side, if Adrian Clayborn from Iowa or Nick Fairly from Auburn are around at the Chiefs spot, they would be solid picks to help out on the D-Line/D-End spot.
Second round would be wise to go with another Linebacker that could help Tamba Hali out with the pass rush. Casey Matthews (Clay Matthews brother) out of Oregon could be a good choice, but he may slip to the third round, which is where the Chiefs may decide to go with a LB.
I think the Chiefs could get a steal in a QB in the mid-rounds in this draft. There are some decent quarterbacks that aren’t quite ready for the starting spot that could sit behind Cassel for a few years before taking over. If Christian Ponder, Andy Dalton, or Ryan Mallet are available between the 3rd-5th round, I would jump on one of those guys. We have seen over the years that Brodie Croyle is not the answer, even as a back up. His 0-11 record as a starter is a testament to that. When he came in for one start after Cassel went down with an appendectomy, the Chiefs lost 35-0 to the Chargers. The back up quarterback position is key for the Chiefs in this draft, and they could also snag a possible quarterback of the future if they can work someone into it slowly (IE Aaron Rodgers style).
Other than that, I think the Chiefs could use some depth in the secondary. It showed last year that when our starting corners/safeties go down, the team is in trouble. Tyler Sash from Iowa could be a good middle round pick at the safety spot.
It will be interesting to see which direction the Chiefs go in this draft. Last year, they took some risks with McCluster and Arenas. Both helped out a bit in the return game, but not as much as people would have liked. Arenas got a little action in the secondary as well as doing returns. McCluster showed some explosiveness on offense, but was hurt for about a month during the season, something many people were skeptical of due to his size. If he can stay healthy, he will remain a threat on offense. Eric Berry had some rookie bumps early on, but progressed nicely as the season went along. The Chiefs got some decent use out of their later draft picks as well and made the 2010 draft class a decent success in their first year. If those guys can continue to progress and if the 2011 draft class can be just as productive out of the gate, the Chiefs could be looking to hang onto another AFC championship. If they get around to playing.