Things are not always what they seem. So is the case for the 2010 Kansas CIty Chiefs. Kansas City's 10-6 record masked the fact that their roster is in the middle of a reconstruction. A weak schedule and a handful of good breaks landed the Chiefs in the playoffs. But make not mistake about it, Kansas City's front office has some work to do this offseason.
Offensively the Chiefs have one of the best ground attacks in all of professional football. Due largely to the play of Jamaal Charles, the Chiefs gained a league best 164 yards per game on the ground. Charles has developed into the type of player a team can build an offense around.
Under center the situation is not as rock solid. Despite decent numbers in 2010, Matt Cassel's weak arm limits the offense in more ways than the stat sheet can show. He is not the type of quarterback that can lead a team to a Super Bowl. He is efficient, accurate, and smart but lacks the physical talent to be a difference maker. Not to mention, Cassel is the beneficiary of an elite ground game.
However, replacing Cassel certainly is not a top priority given the money tied up in him. Rather, the Chiefs would be better served to surround him with some talent, particularly at the wide receiver position. Kansas CIty has no legitimate threat at wideout across from Dwayne Bowe. Cassel could also use some protection. Brandon Albert is not fit to play left tackle in the NFL. He allowed a whopping eleven sacks in 2010 and needs to be upgraded.
The situation is much more dire on the defensive side of the ball where the Chiefs have holes all across the front seven. The moss pressing needs are for a pass rushing linebacker and a nose tackle. Tamba Hali is an elite force on the outside but a complement is necessary. As for nose tackle, Ron Edwards is scheduled to hit free agency, and will need to be replaced.
The results could be much less lucrative for the Chiefs in 2011 with a stronger schedule. However, they are slowly constructing a winning team.
1. Pass Rushing Linebacker - Outside of Tampa Hali, the Chiefs failed to get consistent pressure on the quarterback in 2010. Mike Vrabel was held without a single sack for the duration of the season. In addition, Hali is a free agent. If the Chiefs can't retain him, this need will become even more desperate. Justin Howard, Ryan Kerrigan, and Akeem Ayers could all be options for the Chiefs in the first round.
2. Nose Tackle - As previously mentioned, the Chiefs need to find a massive body to plug into the middle of their 3-4 defense. Ron Edwards is a free agent, and is not all that talented to begin with. Phil Taylor has become the favorite to be selected by Kansas City in the first round.
3. Wide Receiver - When Chris Chambers and Terrance Copper start for your team at wide receiver, you know you have an issue. Dwayne Bowe had a breakout season, but Matt Cassel needs another imposing target across from him to keep defenses honest. Leonard Hankerson, Titus Young, and Torrey Smith could all be options in round two.