Time to Learn More About the Future for the Kansas City Chiefs
The NFL Draft starts Thursday. I’m looking forward to see what first year General Manager Brett Veach does with this draft. At this point, the Chiefs do not have a first round pick following the move a year ago to trade up and draft Patrick Mahomes. We already know that Veach is an astute observer of the free agent market and that he is good at making trades.
To date, Veach has…
--Obtained a solid kicker by plucking Harrison Butker off the Carolina practice squad. Thanks to my earlier days as a football Cardinal fan and the cascading disaster of kickers that followed the retirement of Jim Bakken, I have a deep distrust of kickers under 30. But I like Butker. He's OK for a young kicker.
--Obtained a mid to upper first round talent in Reggie Ragland from Buffalo in exchange for a 4th round pick. I also view Ragland as the Chiefs 2018 first round pick as a result. He’s on the field and produced at a high level after getting up to speed and into the lineup late last November.
--Traded a quarterback who will be 34 on opening day next September for a top shelf cornerback in Kendall Fuller and a third round draft choice. It is also worth noting that some of the best players in Chiefs history were 3rd rounders. Jamaal Charles, Travis Kelce, Justin Houston and Hall of Fame guard Will Shields were all third rounders.
--Traded a problem waiting to happen. Again. Cornerback Marcus Peters goes to the Rams for a 4th round and a 2nd round pick. Very easy to read between the lines and see that Peters was viewed by the Chiefs as far more trouble than he’s worth, and perhaps a disaster waiting to happen. Remember the end of the Jets game?? At minimum, his next meltdown is no concern here.
Here’s what Veach has to address…
The biggest need is help in the defensive line. Chris Jones is as disruptive as they come. When Jones left the Tennessee playoff game due to injury, the game changed--and not in the Chiefs favor. A healthy Allen Bailey is a problem for opposing offenses. Free agent Xavier Williams appears to fit in as a guy to clog the middle. He replaces Bennie Logan. Beyond that, some help is needed. Former Missouri Tiger Josh Augusta is a recent addition to the roster. He might be an answer if he can improve his mobility a bit.
Next big issue is the secondary. I expect the Chiefs will use a pick or three on DB’s. Newcomer Kendall Fuller and Eric Berry are a good start. Rest of the secondary is up for grabs.
An edge rusher might not be a bad idea although Justin Houston is still in his prime and Dee Ford is evidently healthy again. There is also Tanoh Kpassagnon from last year’s draft. He showed a couple hints of what he can be late last year. And it is not unusual for pass rushers to take a year to get up to speed in the NFL. Neil Smith didn’t do much in ’88 as a rookie. He was a force of nature and an offensive tackle's worst nightmare starting in ’89. Old St. Louis football Cardinal fans will remember Curtis Greer. Didn’t do much as a rookie before becoming a major nuisance to quarterbacks in his second season. Keep an eye on #92.
On offense, it never hurts to add an offensive lineman. Or two. A tight end with receiving skills wouldn’t be a surprise. Travis Kelce is a unique case. Demetrius Harris presents some problems with his size and speed.
In my book, Veach is playing with house money here. He has what appears to be a solid--or better-- quarterback. Veach also added another first round talent in Ragland. Count him as the '18 first rounder. And he's already been on the field and has shown that he can play at a high level.
It appears that there are enough solid choices among the 300 pounders on both sides of the ball that the Chiefs can get some help there with their first pick on Friday.