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Team needs: Kansas City Chiefs

Scott Pioli AP

In just their second year on the job, G.M. Scott Pioli and coach Todd Haley returned the Kansas City Chiefs to the playoffs for the first time since 2006. They used a decidedly run-first philosophy, leading the league in rushing attempts and rushing yards. Despite a late-season collapse — the Chiefs were outscored 61-17 in their last two games — this club appears to be on the right track.

OL: In last year’s draft, the Chiefs somewhat surprisingly passed on consensus top tackle Russell Okung in favor of safety Eric Berry. The pick looks O.K. an offseason later, but there’s a reason Kansas City was so heavily linked to linemen with its 2010 first-round pick. Quarterback Matt Cassel has a poor feel for the pass rush, and right tackle Barry Richardson is atrocious in protection. Left guard Brian Waters is 34, center Casey Wiegmann may retire, and left tackle Branden Albert has been inconsistent. If Pioli gets a chance to draft Gabe Carimi or Derek Sherrod at No. 21, we’d be pretty shocked if he passed.

WR: Projected No. 2 receiver Chris Chambers called it a career after the Chiefs handed him a $12 million contract last spring, ultimately losing his job to rotating no-names. By season’s end, top wideout Dwayne Bowe was drawing double coverage or a safety over the top on every snap. Bowe seems to have finally realized his potential, but is entering a contract year with only the likes of Jerheme Urban, Jeremy Horne, Verran Tucker, and Chambers’ carcass behind him.

DL: The Chiefs got more out of nose tackle Ron Edwards and left end Shaun Smith than we would’ve guessed last year; both aging vets defended the run well and created matchup problems with their size. Wallace Gilberry, a situational rush end, was quietly phenomenal replacing Smith on third downs. But Edwards, Smith, and Gilberry’s contracts have all expired, and former No. 3 overall pick Tyson Jackson hasn’t shown anything to suggest he’s a viable starter. That leaves Glenn Dorsey as the only returning lineman locked into a featured role.

LB: Tamba Hali had a breakout year in his first taste of Romeo Crennel’s scheme, and the Chiefs rewarded him with a franchise tag that will pay Hali over $10.5 million in 2011. Kansas City has other interesting youngsters behind Hali — Andy Studebaker and Cameron Sheffield — but neither of them is established, nor does either offer an explosive element that could make Hali even more dangerous on the opposite end of the field. Incumbent starter Mike Vrabel is a free agent, and produced zero sacks in 16 starts last season.

Overview: The Chiefs won’t stay atop the AFC West without continued, annual influxes of talent. They have eight picks in this year’s draft and, ideally, will come away with a field-stretching receiver, starting right tackle, and at least two impact additions in the defensive front seven.

Just don’t forget that Cassel tanked after last year’s late-season departure of offensive coordinator Charlie Weis, his completion rate dropping to 39.2 after word broke of Weis’ exit. And that’s why we ranked offensive line and receiver ahead of Kansas City’s defensive needs. In order for Cassel to continue to make strides, the Chiefs’ primary focus April 28-30 should be to upgrade his supporting cast.

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23 Responses to “Team needs: Kansas City Chiefs”
  1. professorcolumbus says: Apr 14, 2011 6:10 PM

    So… good job on doing EVERY SINGLE NFC team except the Bucs and nearly completing a full AFC division, with no sign of the Bucs in sight.

    Good thing these ‘articles’ are totally pointless, or some people might have gotten upset.

  2. riverhorsey says: Apr 14, 2011 6:26 PM

    The O line is 3rd round at best. No. 1 pick will be Phil Taylor or Akeem Ayers.

    No. 2 may be Torey Smith

  3. demolition510 says: Apr 14, 2011 6:32 PM

    Where’s the unprofessional diss?

  4. philyeagles5 says: Apr 14, 2011 6:54 PM

    KC Chiefs Team Needs:

    RB: Need to run the ball more with Jamaal Charles.

  5. prmpft says: Apr 14, 2011 6:55 PM

    …buc the bucs…

  6. forevercorr says: Apr 14, 2011 6:58 PM

    As a Denver fan, I am sure the Chiefs will continue to make great draft choices, and it scares me.
    As a fantasy football fan, I pray my favorite keeper Bowe gets help to keep from drawing double teams and the o-line improves so he can get down field more.
    And no, I see no conflict there. Bailey still handles his business against Bowe.

  7. joshspangler says: Apr 14, 2011 7:03 PM

    “Just don’t forget that Cassel tanked after last year’s late-season firing of offensive coordinator Charlie Weis”

    To be fair (unless I missed the underlying tone that you think it had more to do with Haley than it did) ……ummm, Charlie didn’t get fired.

  8. chiefswarpath87 says: Apr 14, 2011 7:04 PM

    No chance they’re taking an OL first round. Their current line is serviceable (they led the league in rushing yards in 10′). First round is the NT from Baylor. Second round will be the linebacker from Texas. Third round OL or receiver.

  9. scrotiemcb says: Apr 14, 2011 7:13 PM

    The Chefs were the worst playoff team in about 3 decades. They’ll turn back to pumpkins this year. They’re closer to the team that got crushed by Denver, crushed by Oakland and crushed by San Diego, among others, than the flukey playoff team they shouldn’t have been.

    Other than that, they suck.

  10. devoodoo says: Apr 14, 2011 7:15 PM

    #1 team need is self-confidence for Todd Haley.

  11. heypapi6975 says: Apr 14, 2011 7:15 PM

    The way they run the rock, I’d be VERY surprised if they didn’t grab Carimi or Pouncey. No point of having an explosive back field with a decent O line. As a Vikes fan….I know this!

  12. dbellina says: Apr 14, 2011 7:25 PM

    Mike Cox is a hard-nose football player.

  13. bfridley says: Apr 14, 2011 7:31 PM

    You forgot that the Chiefs number one need… is A RAVENS TEAM NEEDS ARTICLE! You’re doing this to me on purpose…

  14. haleyistheman00 says: Apr 14, 2011 8:31 PM

    Gooo chiefs!!! And the reason why
    Charles was just straight nasty was bc he was fresh so stop complaining that he isnt getting the ball enough. haley is doing it right.

  15. thefiesty1 says: Apr 14, 2011 9:29 PM

    Keep running Charles and get some help for Derek Johnson on the defense.

  16. backuppunter says: Apr 14, 2011 11:46 PM

    I hope they get a good wr

  17. richatthelake says: Apr 14, 2011 11:59 PM

    scotiemcb says “the Chiefs were the worst playoff team in 3 decades” I wonder if he watched the 2010 7-9 Seattle Seahawks? All nine of their losses were by at least 14 points. K.C. pounded them 42-24 in Seattle.

    K.C. is no juggernaut, but they’re hardly the worst playoff team in 3 decades. Get a clue.

  18. waitstop says: Apr 15, 2011 1:45 AM

    The Chefs were the worst playoff team in about 3 decades. They’ll turn back to pumpkins this year. They’re closer to the team that got crushed by Denver, crushed by Oakland and crushed by San Diego, among others, than the flukey playoff team they shouldn’t have been.

    The NFC East Champion Seattle Seahawks would like to thank you for your blind support, jersey purchases and quality spelling skills. Also, you confuse your ability to post on a blog as having any idea what you’re talking about.

    wait…stop.

  19. brownsfrown says: Apr 15, 2011 1:57 AM

    I keep waiting for the headline:

    Team Needs: Cleveland Clowns

    …but I might have missed it.

    “An entire team.” would be a pretty easy article to miss.

  20. donterrelli says: Apr 15, 2011 8:35 AM

    P.S. Matt Cassel still sucks

  21. jca6610 says: Apr 15, 2011 11:46 AM

    The Sheffield kid lost his rookie season to a neck injury. If he turns out to be a serviceable compliment to Hali on the other side, it will be like getting an extra draft pick this year. I like the NT from Baylor or the best offensive lineman available for them in Round 1. They’re definitely aging on both sides of the line. A good WR to compliment Bowe either in the draft or free agency is a must. Even though he had a great stretch of 4 or 5 games last year, the late season play of Cassel makes you think the jury is still out on him as a quarterback that can take a team deep in the playoffs. I think their biggest question mark is can Haley be an effective head coach and offensive play caller at the same time.

  22. joshspangler says: Apr 15, 2011 6:25 PM

    I chuckle watching some people tag others for their spelling and what-not, then incorrectly name a team’s division.

    Last time I checked, the Hawks were in the NFC West. But hey, who’s really keeping track?

  23. joshspangler says: Apr 15, 2011 6:28 PM

    then again, i’m a victim for internet sarcasm myself…sheesh.

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