Thanks for your questions. As always they were very insightful. I hope I can provide answers to match their quality.
Tim says: Bob, thanks for the opportunity to ask a few questions! (1.) Last year it was apparent our “interior trio” on the OL was manhandled on several occasions. With the increased difficulty of the 2011 schedule, how do you see us addressing this & some possible names either draft or FAs we might pursue (assuming there is one)? It would seem not to address this would severely damage the strongest portion of our offense. (2.) Who might be draft candidates & possible FAs the Chiefs might desire as possible WR candidates opposite Bowe? (3.) Any update on Cameron Sheffield & if it might impact how we draft?
Bob says: Tim, there’s no question the Chiefs should be concerned about the interior of their offensive line, specifically center and left guard. I’m not leaving RG Ryan Lilja out, but he held it together better than Casey Wiegmann and Brian Waters. I’ve heard a lot of folks talking about Barry Richardson and Branden Albert, but I think they played far better than people are giving them credit for and better than some of what we saw with the interior trio. I’d be hoping that Mike Pouncey is still available. I’d rush that card to the stage and get a guy who can come in and play in ’11 and has a huge upside. Otherwise, there’s nobody in the first round worthy on the inside. But, if they are considering moving Albert inside and grabbing another tackle, then that’s another step they can take.
At WR I’ll keep the discussion to the draft because until they get this labor situation figured out, we aren’t going to have any idea just who can become a free agent and what sort of designations they will have. If it was me, I’d be looking for the receiver who was the fastest player available when it was my turn to draft in round two and beyond. I’m not interested in just a fast guy, but a football player/receiver who is fast. They need to keep working on improving their speed. With Dexter McCluster moving back to RB, it’s speed, speed, speed needed outside.
I talked with Cameron Sheffield on the day after the season ended and he was pretty confident that he would be able to do everything come the off-season. I think he’ll be a factor, but if your Pioli/Haley I’d approach it like he wasn’t there and wouldn’t let it influence any decisions I’m going to make about OLBs. You can never have enough could edge players.
aPauled says: I’m seeing many predictions that the Chiefs are going to take an OT, ex. Gabe Carimi, at #21. Last year we saw the same prediction about OT Russell Okung to the Chiefs. Seems to me like the Chiefs have bigger holes to fill than OT where Albert and B-Rich were pretty good in the running gameβ¦and sketchy is pass protection. I assume that you’re going to provide a prediction in your planned articles, but do you see OT as a big enough need (or maybe value with Carimi) to invest #21 at this position?
Bob says: aPauled, I think OT is a need area, but it’s not the position they have to improve most in my opinion. The interior O-Line, NT and OLB are holes that need an infusion of talent. However, I think when it comes to pick No. 21, I think they need to sort through the players available including OTs. If a guy like Carimi is the best player still available, then draft him. But I’d be looking elsewhere at the start of the draft.
RW says: Which players would the Chiefs consider trading up to go get and how many spots would they be willing to move upward given the prices getting steeper the higher they might want to climb?
Bob says: Just who might be worthy of moving up is something that does not escape the inner sanctum of Pioli-Land. But making a big jump up in the first round is not something I see Pioli doing at this time. That’s a bit of a gamble at this point in the team’s development, and Pioli doesn’t like to gamble. He’s going to go with a choice that’s with fewer chances than another player. He might be willing to move up from No. 21 to a few spots ahead like a No. 18 or 19. But the type of compensation needed to move into the top 10 is going to be too risky and expensive.
Tenand6 says: Bob, will you be making any draft predictions for the Chiefs? Any thoughts on: (a.) Who do you believe they should take in Round 1? (b.) Top three needs by position; (c.) Are there a few players you have researched that have “Pioli guy” written all over them? If so, who? Thanks.
Bob says: The whole mock draft thing is something that I’ve never been big on. I can tell you I’ve spent a dozen hours a day for the last two months on this draft, researching the players and teams and I think I can spot some trends, but I’d like to be able to make some sort of accurate predictions rather than throwing darts at the board. But I’ll step out on the ledge to answer your questions, but mix up the order a bit. (b.) Top three needs by position. I’d rank them in this order β nose tackle, wide receiver, interior offensive line (center/guard), outside linebacker and offensive tackle. (a.) Who should they take in round one? Some of the names that have a chance to be there when pick No. 21 comes up β NTs Corey Liuget, Stephen Paea and Phil Taylor; WR Torrey Smith; C/G Mike Pouncey; OLBs Akeem Ayers and Justin Houston and OTs Gabe Carimi, Nate Solder and Tyron Smith. On a best available athlete list I would rank those 10 players in this order: Liuget, Tyron Smith, Pouncey, Carimi, Taylor, Houston, Solder, Paea, Torrey Smith and Ayers. I’d take the highest rated player in those 10 that was still on the board. I think that would come down to Carimi and Taylor, with Smith, Liuget and Pouncey already taken. If not, then they would go to the head of the class. (c.) I’ve found quite a few players that have the “right 53″ as part of their resume and I’ve tried to point them out with the profiles I’ve been writing for weeks. Among the top 100 players that I’ve researched, I’d say there are 30 that have a lot of the intangibles the Chiefs seek and 10 that really fit the bill. I’ll try to post something in the next few days providing some names.
Nathan says: Bob, do you see the Chiefs picking another 5 technique DE due to Tyson Jackson’s lack of development?
Do you think we could get a NT that may end up coming in and playing a fair amount later in the draft (beyond the 2nd round)?
I don’t know why but for some reason I have the feeling we’ll be drafting a CB high. Do you see them taking the best CB available with their 2nd pick maybe as insurance against losing Brandon Carr? Last question, I promise. I neither of the top tier WR’s will be available when the Chiefs pick, which I’m glad about. Who may be available at the Chief’s picks in the 2nd or 3rd round who might be able to contribute this year?
Bob says: Nathan, a lot of good questions here. (1.) I wouldn’t say that DE is a solid position for the Chiefs because of Jackson, but I don’t think it ranks among the top three or four holes in their roster. Jackson showed improvement last year, but then he really had only one way he could have gone. I wouldn’t think it will be a priority. (2.) Finding a nose tackle may be the hardest position to fill in the league. The combination of size, power and quickness is not something that becomes available. That’s one reason you never see many good nose tackles ever reach free agency. I think if they want to plug the position, it’s going to have to be in the those early rounds. (3.) As for CB, it’s hard for me to imagine a situation where they will lose Carr. He’s without a contract for the 2011 season, but he’s also played just three seasons, so there’s no way he’s going to be able to just walk away. I know the higher ups with the Chiefs are always concerned about Brandon Flowers and whether he can withstand the punishment of playing 16 games every season. I don’t think CB will be a priority, unless there’s something in the equation that we don’t know. (4.) The WR position is not deep with top of the draft talent, so I don’t expect to see anybody there are picks No. 21 and 55 that can catch and come in and play immediately.
Michael, aka Sad & Confused says: Bob, (1.) what is the point of having a draft when there will be no 2011 season? (2.) why draft a player when as soon as they are drafted the team cannot have contact with them as per labor disputes?
Bob says: Michael/Sad, cheer up, there will be a 2011 season. It might not be 16 games, but there will be a season of some kind. As greedy as both sides are, they’ll crack when the money actually stops. So it’s better for the teams to get their dibs in on players right now, so they can be ready when the doors open and games are scheduled to be played. Fear not Sad & Confused, we will have NFL football in ’11.
el cid says: Bob, How much more money can the Chiefs invest in defensive linemen? Dorsey, Jackson, and a new rookie β¦ seems like too much money in one spot to me. If one of the top QBs is still available, does Pioli have the conjones to pick a top calibre player who will not play for several years? I feel he is all about the “safe” pick. Last year’s 10-6, mirage or will the Chiefs build on it? The Chiefs are not talking to anyone but does Haley and coaches have much input into the draft or is it Pioli and scouts and coaches coach?
Bob says: As always el cid you are sharp on the money with your thoughts on stacking too much money on one position. A first-round nose tackle is going to cost big money, unless they can get the rookie wage scale in place before he plays. Pioli is big on having his salary roster balanced out and not titled too much to one area or position. It’s a factor to think about when it comes time to use pick No. 21. There’s no doubt that Pioli is about the safe pick, and I don’t think there’s going to be a gamble when he’s pretty sold on Matt Cassel and his development. The Chiefs will likely draft a QB, but I can’t imagine that will happen before the fourth round. Last year’s 10-6 was the result of some fortunate circumstances that are going to be hard to repeat. The ’11 schedule is much tougher, and they didn’t lose a significant player to injury last year for the season or for any length of time. Again, duplicating that is not something a team can count on. Near as I can sense, the current coaches get their chance to speak about players at their positions, who they like, who they think is lacking. What I can’t sense yet is how much Pioli pays attention to their comments.
Blake says: Bob, we all know that Todd Haley likes quick offensive linemen, but what does he look for when it comes to WR? Speed? Possession receivers? Great route runner?
Bob says: All of the above. Blake, he’s looking for football players at wide receiver. He’s not looking for track guys, or divas, or reality show contestants. Right now he needs one of each when talking about his receiving corps. Speed is needed to stretch the field; right now they don’t have that. Great route runners are needed as well. Possession receiver maybe a little less so thanks to the presence of TE Tony Moeaki. A Haley receiver is going to study the game, study the opponent, run the routes correctly, block down field in the running game. He never gives up on a ball, will go up as a DB to break up a possible interception.
Brent says: Bob, how realistic is my hopeful mock draft for the Chiefs?
1. Phil Taylor, NT Baylor
2. Torrey Smith, WR Maryland
3. Stephan Wisniewski, C Penn St.
4. James Carpenter, G Alabama
Thanks in advance for your reply. Go Chiefs!
Bob says: Not a bad mock Brent. I think they’ll get the chance to draft Taylor. Because of a lack of WRs at the top of the draft, there’s always the chance somebody needing a receiver will reach for Smith before No. 55 comes around. I have him as the 43rd ranked player. Wisniewski rates on most boards as a third rounder and so is Carpenter.
Haley’s Ego says: How about a little Gretz insight into Drafts past? Pioli-era Chiefs, specifically. Which of our picks the past two years, when the name was read, where the very first thought that popped into your head was “What an idiot”? Every single one of us has done it (probably more than once)β¦so be honest.
Bob says: OK, I’m sure I probably reacted poorly to the announcement of Tyson Jackson. He just was so far off the radar screen and as we’ve seen in the last two years, there’s probably a reason for that. I know I was stunned that in the seventh round of the 2009 Draft he traded back into the middle of the round so he could draft TE Jake O’Connell. Still don’t understand that one. Last year, it would have been the second-round pick of Javier Arenas, coming right after they selected Dexter McCluster. Taking both of those guys in the second round seemed a bit of a luxury considering where the roster and franchise was at that point. So far at least, my initial reactions haven’t changed about any of those three choices.
Bubba says: 1. If Julio Jones is available at pick No. 10, would Pioli consider trading our #1 and #2 to the Redskins to take him?
2. Assuming the Chiefs move on from Wiegmann and Waters, I would take Carimi and then slide Richardson to guard, which is what he was originally projected to be. Our line would then be Albert, Richardson, Asamoah, Lilja and Carimi. This would give us 4 young starters on the OL.
Bob says: I can’t see Pioli giving up two players for Jones. Not that he isn’t a very good player, but that’s just not the Pioli way. As for the offensive line, now you are thinking the way Haley and his coaches are β they are going to try to get on the field the five best offensive linemen and they aren’t going to be so worried about positions at this time. How about this one, from left to right β Carimi, Albert, Waters, Asamoah and Richardson. Or maybe Albert, Richardson, Lilja, Asamoah and Carimi.