2013 NFL Draft: Kansas City Chiefs Top Five Needs
Kansas City Chiefs Draft Needs
Anytime you have the first overall pick, it’s an important draft for your franchise. Such is the case this year with the Kansas City Chiefs. That importance is compounded this year with the arrival of a new head coach, a new general manager, and a new starting quarterback. Pile on top of that a fan base, specifically one that’s usually one of the most passionate and loyal in the sport, that’s reeling after a two-win season and desperate to get back on track quickly.
With the additions of Andy Reid as the new head coach and Alex Smith as the new starting quarterback, it appears as if the Chiefs are going for a quick turnaround, which means they will need to draft instant impact rookies in the upcoming draft to supplement what they already have, after sending six players to the pro-bowl last year.
With regard to the first overall pick, the Chiefs can’t afford to make a mistake, although there is less pressure now that we know for sure they won’t be drafting a quarterback with that pick. However, with fewer picks following the trade with Smith, the Chiefs need to make the picks they do have count. If Kansas City is really expecting to go from two wins last year to being a team in the playoff hunt in 2013, they’ll need to fill all the holes that they have on their roster. So, here’s a sneak peak at five positions where the Chiefs are currently lacking, and where they’ll be looking in the draft:
The Chiefs are no longer looking for a starter for next year, but they will need a backup for Alex Smith. They probably won’t want to keep Matt Cassell around to back up Smith, Brady Quinn won’t be resigned, and if they didn’t want to play Ricki Stanzi last year they probably don’t trust him to be a backup next year. Expect Andy Reid will scour the middle rounds for a guy that could back up right away and be a two or three year project for him to develop. It may not be their biggest priority, but it’s something they’ll have to do.
The Chiefs opened up their checkbook and brought back Dwayne Bowe, but Bowe was around last year when the receivers were nearly as much of a problem as the quarterback position for the team’s struggles in the passing game. Jon Baldwin hasn’t worked out for them, so there is some trepidation about drafting another wide receiver, but that trepidation will be trumped by need. We know that Alex Smith needs receivers to help him out, and Bowe probably won’t be enough.
Kansas City’s secondary is pretty good shape, especially after Eric Berry came back from injury in 2012 and had a pro-bowl season. With Berry back to playing like one of the top strong safeties in the game, the Chiefs could use a free safety to pair up with him and round out their secondary. Their internal options are pretty weak, so finding a rookie that can step into the starting lineup from day one is going to be one of their bigger priorities heading into the draft.
The Chiefs used the franchise tag on left tackle Branden Albert, so they’re set at that position, but there are needs on the rest of the offensive line. With Albert back, drafting Luke Joeckel first overall may not make a whole lot of sense, and it’s unorthodox to take a guard with the top pick, even though that’s a big need; so the Chiefs will have to find a middle round offensive lineman that can start right away without being a liability. This was one of the biggest weak spots for the Chiefs last year, so it’s an area they will need to address in the draft without question.
Linebacker is a strong suit for Kansas City, but if possible, the Chiefs should look for a good linebacker that can pair up with Derrick Johnson inside. With Justin Houston and Tamba Hali on the outside, Kansas City has a pair of ferocious pass rushers on the edge, but rush defense is still a big concern for them. The Chiefs are definitely in need of someone that can help them stuff the run, and a big run-stopping linebacker would be a good way to go for them.