May 6, 2011
2011 NFL Draft: Kansas City Chiefs’ Draft Makes Them a Strong Title Contender
There are many people who consider the Kansas City Chiefs to be a fluke, a one year wonder, and a team that will not repeat as AFC West champs this season.
I’m here to tell you, they’re wrong.
The Chiefs were a good team last year, worthy of playing in the playoffs, and capable of making a run once again this season.
Kansas City had far fewer needs going into this year’s draft then they did before last season’s draft, but they had a few positions that needed to be upgraded.
Finding a receiver to play opposite of Pro Bowler Dwayne Bowe was a must this offseason, and the Chiefs accomplished just that with their first round selection of Pitt pass catcher Jon Baldwin. At 6’4″ and 228 lbs., Baldwin showed amazing athletic ability running a 4.49 40 at the combine and he nearly jumped out of Lucas Oil Stadium with his 42 inch vertical.
Baldwin has the ability to stretch the field and he has excellent ball skills, but he also has attitude concerns that caused many analysts to question his first round selection.
Baldwin supposedly questioned his coaches and quarterback while at Pitt, but I don’t see this becoming a problem for the Chiefs. Kansas City has made it clear in the past what happens to players who don’t want to be a part of “the right 53,” they are no longer Chiefs.
Chiefs coach Todd Haley has dealt with his fair share of divas at receiver in the past; players such as Keyshawn Johnson, Terry Glenn, and Terrell Owens. Most recently Haley has had issues with Anquan Boldin and Dwayne Bowe.
The positive change in attitude was quite noticeable for Bowe last season and I would expect Haley to have the same kind of impact on Baldwin.
With Baldwin on board the Chiefs should have a potent passing attack to compliment the league’s best running back, Jamaal Charles.
Yes, that’s right.
I said it, the league’s best back.
In the second round the Chiefs made their safest pick of the draft and a player who could ultimately prove to be their best from this class, Florida State center Rodney Hudson. Hudson appears to have what it takes to be a future Pro Bowler and he could start as soon as this season.
Georgia outside linebacker Justin Houston is going to prove to be a steal in the third round, and although there are some concerns surrounding him as well, I think defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel will get the most out of his newest weapon.
Houston is a major asset when it comes to getting to the quarterback and based on the burst that he shows coming off of the edge, I would expect him to continue terrorizing opposing signal-callers in the NFL.
The Chiefs already have one of the league’s best pass rushers in Pro Bowler Tamba Hali at the opposite linebacker position, and now that they have Houston and Andy Studebaker, the team should be set at the position.
Miami defensive end Allen Bailey is a very strong player and he also has the ability to get the quarterback. For now, Bailey should provide good depth on the defensive line and should give Tyson Jackson some major competition.
The Chiefs also picked up some potential special teams contributors and guys who could develop into solid players down the line in Colorado corner Jalil Brown and Oregon State outside linebacker Gabe Miller.
Iowa quarterback Ricky Stanzi was a great addition in the fifth round and should push Matt Cassel for years to come as the team’s backup. Mississippi nose tackle Jerrell Powe could be a steal in the sixth round, and he has the ability to figure into the team’s defensive line rotation this season.
Yale fullback Shane Bannon was an intriguing pick in the seventh round and he has a good shot to help on special teams and be a versatile player for the Chiefs offense in the future.
All-in-all the Chiefs had a very strong draft by upgrading some key positions with players who have a LOT of potential.
This Chiefs team should be fun to watch this season when you consider the pieces the team has in place on offense, and the young defense should only get better with the additions of Houston, Bailey, Brown and Powe.
There is little doubt that the Chiefs would be able to move the ball on the ground this season, but they now have the potential to be a very good passing team as well.
Opposing AFC West defenses will have a tough time deciding which Chiefs play maker to gameplan for this season.
I expect Kansas City to upgrade at right tackle through free agency and potentially add another receiver, but this team looks to be pretty set after the draft.
The road will be tougher for the Chiefs this season, and they will have a target on their back, but I expect Kansas City to be up to the task.
Look for the Chiefs to head back to the playoffs this season and win their first postseason game since 1994.
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