The Kansas City Chiefs were a surprising turnaround team in 2010 as they added 10 victories and an AFC West title to their trophy case. As a team on the rise, the Chiefs have some promising young players but holes still permeate the team. With the future of free agency unclear at the moment, the Chiefs have young players they hope to develop at multiple key positions.
Entering the 2011 NFL draft, the Chiefs needs included nose tackle, outside linebacker, offensive tackle, center, wide receiver and backup quarterback. With the exception of offensive tackle, the Chiefs addressed all of those needs in the draft.
Needs addressed in the 2011 NFL draft: First, the Chiefs drafted WR Jonathan Baldwin to pair with WR Dwayne Bowe, which eliminates the need for a receiver fright now. Second, the Chiefs drafted C Rodney Hudson who will start at center quickly if C Casey Wiegmann doesn't return. Third, the Chiefs drafted an outside linebacker in Justin Houston out of Georgia who should be ready to contribute quickly. Fourth, the Chiefs found their backup in QB in Ricky Stanzi and fifth DT Jerrell Powe was brought into compete to become the nose tackle of the future.
Remaining needs: Outside of offensive tackle, the Chiefs addressed their biggest needs through the draft. That doesn't mean this team still doesn't have holes though. While Baldwin will help the Chiefs at receiver, I'm not sure he'll make a huge impact in year one so the Chiefs could be in the market for another veteran receiver. That is, assuming WR Chris Chambers doesn't come back. He was deactivated late in the season last year so it's hard to see him returning. The Chiefs could also look to free agency (if/when that comes) for another offensive tackle. QB Matt Cassel's sack numbers were down last year but the right side could still use an upgrade. It's doubtful the Chiefs will find anything on the free agent market that's better than what they have (Barry Richardson). The Chiefs will also want to find someone to pair with RB Jamaal Charles for the long-term because RB Thomas Jones could be in his final year in KC.
Options in free agency: The Chiefs options for filling a few of these remaining needs will come through free agency but they're unlikely to be big players there. The Chiefs don't spend big money in free agency so finding starters there may not be the right plan. More than likely, the vast majority of the Chiefs team is already on the roster and there won't be a lot more movement. Look for them to be targeting an offensive tackle or two if and when free agency starts. The Chiefs will need to start with re-signing their own free agents and that list starts with NT Ron Edwards, who is scheduled to be a free agent. The Chiefs would also be wise to re-sign DE Shaun Smith, though it's unclear if they will do so. Right tackle is the most immediate need (though that's debatable) so I could see a situation where someone like OT Matt Light came in to play on the right side for a year or two until the Chiefs have a long-term solution there.
The Chiefs have several promising young players at positions of need so they're more focused now on developing those players rather than finding more to fill needs.
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