Chiefs Needs Driving Draft

From the Truman Sports Complex

Let’s be honest here, right off the bat – the needs of an NFL team always drive its selections in the annual Draft.

For some reasons there are a lot of teams and those on their draft committees that don’t like to admit as much. They always talk about how a team can’t by pass good players by reaching for players that fit a need.

OK, that makes sense, but it’s not an approach that always matches up with reality. The real world of football screeches in the heads of GMs, personnel directors, coaches and even an owner or two – we’ve got a hole at position and damn it, we’ve got to fill it.

That’s what the Chiefs did in the first three rounds of the 2011 NFL Draft. They need a wide receiver, an interior offensive lineman, an outside linebacker and a defensive line type that could provide a pass rush.

So they drafted WR Jonathan Baldwin, C/G Rodney Hudson, OLB Justin Houston and DL Allen Bailey.

Need … need … need … need.

Now Scott Pioli and Todd Haley want to talk about how there were other possibilities at those choices, potential draft choices at other positions that were considered. But come on – what sense would it have made for the Chiefs to draft a safety, a cornerback, a tight end or a running back. I’m not sure what the Chiefs draft board looked like, but I’m going to bet there were players with scores that were equal and better.

But the Chiefs went need … need … need … need.

Even Scott Pioli wasn’t trying to sell the best athlete available line after the third round ended. In fact Pioli was willing to admit that those in the media that had outlines the needs of the Chiefs may have actually known what they were talking about.

“You want to draft based on some close combination of need and best player,” Pioli said. “The way it was falling to us most of the day it did allow areas that we felt were concerns or needs at this time. As we got to each one of those players we felt there was a group of players there and we could have gone in a couple different directions.

“We go through our list our list of must, needs and wants. We think we’ve improved those areas.”

Another factor that can’t be discounted is the lack of free agency. The decision to close down the league season has kept teams from adding veteran players and kept teams for filling the holes in their roster. The Draft was the first opportunity to do that, and nobody in the pro game knows when the other elements of acquiring talent are going to be put in place.

Pioli wasn’t quite buying that. He was more willing to make the circumstances of need … need … need … need.

“It has everything to do with where our roster is right now,” Pioli said. “When you are looking at our roster there are certain holes and we don’t know what is or is not going to happen.” So that means fill the holes with draft picks.

One of those holes identified by Pioli/Haley is at wide receiver. “We felt strongly that we needed to get better at the wide receiver position and with Jonathan (Baldwin) I think we’ve done that,” Pioli said.

The age of his starting interior offensive line had Pioli concerned, so they turn in the name of Hudson in the second round. He’s a talented and versatile blocker who worked at center, guard and tackle with the Seminoles. “We felt another area was having more stability on the inside of our offensive line,” Pioli said. “It’s not only drafting for today and the near future, but the distance future as well.”

And the pass rush was a concern. OLB Tamba Hali came within a half-sack of leading the league in taking down the passer last season, but he had no help, especially from the middle of the defense. So Houston is drafted in a real value pick overshadowed by his positive drug test at the NFL Combine. Later in the round, they select DL Allen Bailey, a talented pass rusher that works on the inside of the nickel pass scheme.

Need … need … need … need – it’s the bye word of the Chiefs 2010 Draft.

12 Responses to “Chiefs Needs Driving Draft”

  • April 30, 2011  - RW says:

    Bird in hand might be another way of describing this round of picks by the Chiefs. Given the labor circumstances, I think drafting for need was and is the correct course taken by Pioli.

    Then too, at some point in time, free agency will open up once a new CBA is in place which will allow the team to solidify the roster even more. Oh, I looked over the avails as the team went on the clock, saw the RBs, QBs, OTs and CBs sitting there, tempting picks, but had to agree with the choice to go with need in each case.

    On paper, the Chiefs seemed to get good value with their picks as well, so, not bad. Might as well stay this course, grab another OLineman, NT and WR among the picks on rounds 4-7 and call it a wrap.

  • April 30, 2011  - el cid says:

    Only one thing you forgot, is Brodie the backup QB this year? Does not that have to be addressed fairly quickly?

  • April 30, 2011  - Johnfromfairfax says:

    Good analysis. I agree with RW and think this draft should play out that way. Maybe we can find a developmental tackle or look for some additional help there through free agency once the dust settles.

  • April 30, 2011  - Johnfromfairfax says:

    El Cid makes a good point. Maybe we get a shot at Stanzi from Iowa as a backup if he doesn’t go early.

  • April 30, 2011  - Ed says:

    Don’t need to address backup Qb until 6th or 7th rd first of all he can’t contribute unless the starter is hurt and if that’s the case the season is doomed anyway. We can go get a solid vet once free agency start back. We still need to find nose tackle,another receiver, and olineman possibly inside linebacker to add depth to the positiom. As for draft I felt like Pioli has done a masterful job balancing need and best player available. I don’t feel like he reached for anyone and took best player available based on postions that we needed to fill.

  • April 30, 2011  - Tim says:

    I agree w/ both RW & El Cid too. I was pretty surprised at the Bailey pick, but understand it. It tells me they think a lot of the young guy the acquired from Green Bay (Toribio) & they’ll probably re-sign Shaun Smith – I hope. If we get a shot at a FA, we could get a NT there too, perhaps. I really thought they’d take Stanzi with that last 3rd round pick, but they may like that TJ Yates kid too.

  • April 30, 2011  - el cid says:

    Agree, have to wonder about playing time. The DE, whose place does he take? Pioli has stepped out of the box, I thought he operated from. With the remaining picks, it might be the time for developement kids.

    As for QB, still a concern but what the heck, I have wondered about the lack of WR talent for two years, guess Cassel can last a little longer.

  • April 30, 2011  - Anonymous says:

    Bailey is the one pick that I didn’t instantly celebrate. I understand they would like him to team up with Wallace Gilberry and provide even more pressure from up the middle on passing downs. I hope they are right. I understand the thinking. Hope they didn’t out think themselves with that pick.

    The Houston pick was a surprise and a thrill. The Chiefs are far better equipped to pressure the QB. He looks like Hali, but that’s on a highlight reel. What he needs now is Hali’s motor.

    I hope Hudson has enough heft to slow down a bull rush. He seems like a perfect continuation of what Weigman brought to the table.

    I’ve seen enough tape and heard enough people who followed Baldwin closely…that kid is special. I can hardly wait to see what Haley brings out in him.

    This has been a great draft. No one has played yet, but the Chiefs have demonstrated they understand team needs and the talent pool. We’ll see how it all plays out, but their choices are more than justifiable, IMHO.

  • April 30, 2011  - aPauled says:

    Bailey is a physical freak that will fill a couple of niches. You can never have enough options to rush the passer and he should be able to contribute on special teams with that type of ability.

    The Chiefs would be better off with Croyle and Palko than Ricky Stanzi. Any one else see him melt down in his Sr bowl game? A guy like Adam Froman has much more NFL potential.

    IMO the Chiefs will target a QB (not named Ricky), OT, OG, ILB with these late picks and hopefully come up with a couple of winners.

    May look to FA for another NT.

    At WR we have Jereheme Urban coming back from IR along with youngsters Verran Tucker and Jeremy Horne to add depth. If a Haley project is there…great…but we have some skills on the roster now.

  • April 30, 2011  - True Red & Gold says:

    They are drafting the best players available that fits a need for the best possible value. Or at least who they perceive as the best player available. The fact that they traded down from the 21 spot is enough evidence that they are not simply looking at “best available player” I would bet their board is set up just that way: what are our needs and how do the players rank in those areas. The fact that they were even talking to Houston tells me that they knew that there was a chance he would be available when he was and that they would be willing to take a chance on him because of #1 need, #2 value and #3 best player available at that position. That is how they do business, no matter what they say to the media!

  • April 30, 2011  - Craig says:

    Why is everyone so down on Croyle? If you compare his only start with Cassell’s last start and they both look similar. Everyone seem to forget the best game any QB had in 2009, statwise was the Buffalo game which Croyle started. Croyle has never had the opportunity to start behind a decent offensive line since college. We will probably let Croyle go. Unfortunately, he is better than some of the starters around the league. We really don’t know how good or bad he is. They spent so much time trying to improve cassel to make him worth his money that croyle got none.

    The Draft has great potential. Hopefully as good as last year.

  • April 30, 2011  - Michael says:

    Croyle had one so-so game last year, and one really, really bad one (the whole team was bad in that one, though). I still like him as a back up, and wouldn’t be mad if KC brought him back. Even though he’s always played in far less than ideal sitiuations, he’s something like 0-12 for the Chiefs, though. Almost seems cursed in KC,and maybe it would be best for both parties to move on.

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