Kansas City Chiefs team needs: Defense new priority thanks to big moves on offense

Doug Pensinger

The Chiefs were able to bring Alex Smith, Dwayne Bowe and Branden Albert into the fold early in the 2013 offseason, allowing them to focus on the defense in free agency and the NFL Draft.

The Kansas City Chiefs would like to forget 2012 ever happened. Tragedy coupled with a 2-14 record made the season tough to the front office, coaches, players and fans alike. On the field, the Chiefs were doomed by a porous offensive line and even worse quarterbacking, not to mention injuries.

The good news is that it'll be tough to get any worse. The Chiefs quickly snatched up a quality head coach in Andy Reid, and made a big splash by trading with the San Francisco 49ers for quarterback Alex Smith. Steady quarterback in tow, the Chiefs were able to convince Dwayne Bowe to stay, and they placed the franchise tag on Branden Albert to shore up Smith's blindside.

Things are so far looking up for the Chiefs in 2013, but that doesn't mean they couldn't use another helping hand or two.

Biggest need: Defensive line

Quarterback, left tackle and wide receiver were the Chiefs' biggest worries after the 2012 season, but they have placed a stopper in those leaks for now. The team's next biggest potential free agent loss is 3-4 defensive end Glenn Dorsey, who, despite having a reputation as something of an NFL Draft bust, is one of the few serviceable run-stuffers on a team that gave up 4.5 yards per carry last year. Tyson Jackson agreed to restructure his contract, taking a pay cut.

Other needs: Guard, quarterback

The Chiefs had a big need at cornerback, needing someone to start opposite Brandon Flowers, so Javier Arenas could resume his role as the nickel corner. But it was reported on Friday that the Chiefs had agreed on a deal with Dunta Robinson to bring him in as their No. 2 corner, just an hour before the NFL's "legal tampering period" began.

Beyond that, the Chiefs still need help along the offensive line. Ryan Lilja helped pave the way for a solid running game in 2012, and is set to hit free agency. While the No. 1 overall pick would be a bit of a reach for a road-grader, there should be quality options at No. 33 overall.

Finally, Smith is seen as a stop-gap solution at quarterback. Several mock drafts still have the Chiefs targeting Geno Smith at No. 1 overall. To get a better of their needs overall, Arrowhead Pride took a more recent look at their pending free agents and what's likely to happen.

NFL Draft outlook: Chiefs have pick of the litter

As noted above, the Chiefs could go a lot of different ways with the No. 1 overall pick. They could be tempted to select a defensive tackle with a Top 11 pick for the fourth time since 2008. Don't cringe. Another lineman may actually be the smart pick. The 2013 crop of defensive tackles performed exceptionally well at the NFL Combine this year. Sheldon Richardson, Sharrif Floyd and Star Lotulelei have all seen their names atop various mocks, and any of the three could make instant impacts as rookies.

Jason Brewer of the Philadelphia Eagles blog Bleeding Green Nation had an interesting take on a mock draft that had Floyd going first overall:

Lande's big surprise is at the top where he's got the Chiefs grabbing DT Sharrif Floyd. In nearly every mock draft we've seen, KC is taking either a QB or Luke Joeckel. However, with Alex Smith now in Arrowhead and LT Branden Albert potentially re-signing, the door could be open for Andy Reid to address defense with the top pick. And us Eagles fans know how he loves taking DTs high, he took one with his top pick 5 times with the Eagles.

The latest mock draft from SB Nation has Luke Joeckel going to the Chiefs with that first pick.

Don't rule out the possibility of the Chiefs trading down, either. This pick has the potential to be a lot of fun for fans.


More in the NFL:

NFL Mock Draft: New names rising in first round

Uffsides: Von Miller talks with SB Nation

Ranking the NFL's top offensive free agents

Joe Flacco and the history of $100 million contracts

The NFL's disappearing middle class

NFL news roundup: Roger Goodell terrified, Shawne Merriman retires and the latest on free agency

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