KANSAS CITY CHIEFS / 2013 TEAM NEEDS
New head coach Andy Reid hopes he took care of at least three of his top offensive priorities this offseason, beginning with the trade for ex-Niners QB Alex Smith, who looks like a good fit for the West Coast scheme Reid and new coordinator Doug Pederson have in mind. Reid and new GM John Dorsey also wasted little time giving OT Branden Albert the franchise tag and re-signing top WR Dwayne Bowe. Another decent asset is 1,500-yard rusher Jamaal Charles.
TOP 3 OFFENSIVE NEEDS
OT — Albert’s franchise tag was offset by the decision to release Eric Winston, who started 16 games last season (15 at right tackle). Winston’s exit quickly increased speculation that the Chiefs would use the first overall pick in the draft on either Texas A&M OT Luke Joeckel or Central Michigan OT Eric Fisher, even though they are giving “franchise” money to another tackle. The depth is OK with Donald Stephenson being the swing option.
QB — Neither Matt Cassel nor Brady Quinn seem like good bets as backup QBs after struggling last season, which increases the likelihood Reid will draft a developmental talent to groom behind Alex Smith.
WR— While Bowe was re-signed, Jonathan Baldwin has yet to perform like a first-round pick. Reid is said to be a fan of Dexter McCluster, but he’s a slot option at best now. The Chiefs could really use an injection of deep speed — a burner like Eagles WR DeSean Jackson — to make this Reid offense hum and give Alex Smith a chance under center.
New coordinator Bob Sutton is expected to draw from the Jets’ 3-4 defense and mix in some “under” fronts that should pair well with the Chiefs’ personnel. Really, this group was not bad last season but was taxed by a passing game that so often left the team in terrible field position. The pass rush is solid, although the coverage needs to tighten.
TOP 3 DEFENSIVE NEEDS
CB — After losing Brandon Carr in free agency, the Chiefs failed to identify a quality counterpart to Brandon Flowers. It limited the types of coverages the Chiefs could play. If Sutton wants to pressure the way the Jets did, they’ll have to find tough physical man corners — both an outside guy and a nickel likely.
DL — Even if Glenn Dorsey (free agent) returns, the team probably could use a pressure player or someone to hold up the gaps better, although with so many recent No. 1 picks used at this position, the team might opt to solve the need further down.
LB — The greatest need is inside, where the death of Jovan Belcher left a void. He filled a role as a two-down run stuffer, and the team could use another one of those. Brandon Siler is fine but nothing special. There also is a little bit of a depth issue outside. If either Tamba Hali or Justin Houston went down the Chiefs would be in a bit of trouble — and you never can have enough pass rushers.
2012 DRAFT REWIND
1st round (11): NT Dontari Poe / Memphis (GP/GS: 16/16)
Skinny: Got off to slow start but started exerting his will more late.
2nd round (44): OG Jeff Allen / Illinois (GP/GS: 16/13)
Skinny: Stepped in at left guard and acquitted himself well enough.
3rd round (74): OLT Donald Stephenson / Oklahoma (GP/GS: 16/7)
Skinny: Still growing. Likely still best in swing role as third tackle.
4th round (107): WR Devon Wylie / Fresno State (GP/GS: 6/1)
Skinny: Barely saw field until final few games.
5th round (146): SS DeQuan Menzie / Alabama (GP/GS: 0/0)
Skinny: Spent 2013 on injured reserve. New staff must find where he’s best suited.
6th round (182): RB Cyrus Gray / Texas A&M (GP/GS: 10/0)
Skinny: Showed a little burst, but not clear where he fits in now.
7th round (218): DE Jerome Long / San Diego State (GP/GS: 0/0)
Skinny: Never played a game. Ended up on Jaguars’ roster.
7th round (238): WR Junior Hemingway / Michigan (GP/GS: 1/0)
Skinny: Was on practice squad until Week 17.
SUMMARY: Like many of fired GM Scott Pioli’s drafts, the class likely lacks a player who ever will become a star.
Pro Football Weekly's 2013 Draft Guide is now available at stores where magazines are sold. It can also be ordered online at the PFWStore or by calling 1-800-FOOTBALL.