2011 Record: 7-9
Key Free Agents:
WR Dwayne Bowe, DB Brandon Carr, DT Kelly Gregg, RB Thomas Jones, FB Le’Ron McClain, QB Kyle Orton, TE Leonard Pope, OT Barry Richardson, C Casey Wiegmann.
Between questionable playcalling and butting heads with his offensive coordinators, the Chiefs finally had enough of Todd Haley and fired him after a disappointing 5-8 record during the 2011 season. Interim head coach Romeo Crennell then led the team to a 2-1 record, which included an upset win against the, then, undefeated Packers by a score of 19-14. After the season, Crennell had the "interim" tag taken off and was named the head coach for the 2012 season. How Crennel will fare in his second tenure as an NFL head coach is anyone's guess after he accumulated a 24-40 record in four years as the Browns head coach from 2005-2008. Crennel announced his intent to stay on as the team's defensive coordinator.
Below is who I think the Chiefs will take in this year's draft. Dwayne Bowe is a free agent, but he will be with Kansas City this season, whether it be through a new long-term contract or the franchise tag. Because of this, I don't expect the Chiefs to make receiver a high priority. The team already made some offseason noise after signing former Raiders cornerback Stanford Routt to a three-year, $20 million contract.
1st Round (1.11): Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State
Free agent Barry Richardson graded out as one of the worst right tackles in the league in 2011. He won't be brought back, leaving a glaring hole on the right side of the line. Senior Bowl coaches moved Adams from left to right tackle and he excelled as a run blocker. The team could also look at Iowa's Riley Reiff and Stanford's Jonathan Martin if one of them fall to the 11th pick. But because he has experience playing at both tackle spots, I like Adams a lot across from left tackle Branden Albert, who turned out to be a solid player on the blind side. Adams also has the ability to play right guard.
2nd Round (2.12): Alameda Ta'amu, DT, Washington
Kelly Gregg did a good job at nose last year in Crennel's 3-4 scheme. But with the rumors that he is leaning towards retirement, nose tackle is another big need. Ta'amu started all 13 games in 2011 and notched 28 total tackles as a defensive tackle in college.
3rd Round (3.11): Chris Polk, RB, Washington
Polk may have helped his draft stock after clocking in a 4.46 and 4.57 unofficially in the forty-yard dash at the Combine. Still, I'll have Polk fall to the Chiefs at this spot. With both Thomas Jones (a Haley favorite) and Jackie Battle free agents, the team is going to need a compliment and depth for Jamaal Charles. Named first-team All-Pac-12 in 2011, Polk finished the season with 293 carries for 1,488 yards and 12 touchdowns. Polk lacks strong short-area burst, but he excels as a North-South rusher.
4th Round (4.12): Nick Foles, QB, Arizona
The Combine is where many players can make or break their NFL careers. Unfortunately, Foles broke his....A LOT. The once promising 1st-to-2nd round prospect not only drew poor reviews at the Senior Bowl, but also showed inconsistencies in throwing drills at the Combine. His 5.14 forty time was also the slowest amongst the quarterback prospects. But still, Foles as a Chief would be nothing more than a backup or a third stringer at best, depending on if the team brings back Kyle Orton or makes the plunge and goes after Peyton Manning. If Tom Brady can go from a nobody to a Super Bowl winner, Foles still has a chance to make a name for himself. He still ranked first in the Pac 12 and fifth among all NCAA Division I players with an average of 352.58 yards of total offense per game in 2011.
5th Round (5.11): Emil Igwenagu, FB, Massachusetts
The Chiefs have a chance at re-signing Le'Ron McClain. But with Ricky Williams out as Ray Rice's backup in Baltimore, McClain could have a shot at a bigger role in the offense, which he has wanted since his big 2008 season when he was with the Ravens. Igwenagu is also versatile, having played some tight end, H-Back and running back at the college level.
6th Round (6.12): Rhett Ellison, TE, USC
The Chiefs could stand to bring in some competition at the tight end spot if Leonard Pope isn't re-signed. Provo averaged 10.5 yards per catch with seven touchdowns in 2011. He could battle Jake O'Connell for the backup spot behind Tony Moeaki.
7th Round (7.11): T.J. Graham, WR, North Carolina State
With Dwayne Bowe, Steve Breaston and Jonathan Baldwin as the top three receivers on the depth chart, there isn't a huge need for a receiver, but depth is still a good thing to have. Graham caught 46 passes for 757 yards and 7 touchdowns in 2011. He can also contribute in the return game after totaling 1181 kickoff/punt return yards and a touchdown last season.
7th Round (7.31) (From New England): Najee Good, LB, West Virginia
Playing in a 3-4 scheme, you can never have too many quality linebackers for depth. Good can play both inside and outside linebacker. The team may also look at the free agent class of linebackers as well.