I have to admit I wasn’t always the best student. Like many of you, I excelled in the subjects I enjoyed and did what had to be done with the rest. Well the 2013 version of the Kansas City Chiefs can be viewed the exact same way.
With Quarterback, Alex Smith, and a plethora of free agent signings in the fold, the Chiefs have excelled at most areas of need as they head into the NFL Draft a month from now. The Chiefs have excelled in most areas of free agency.
But if this team wants to compete with the Denver Broncos for the division title, they still must shore up their offensive line if they want a passing grade this off-season.
As it stands now, the line has a disgruntled franchise left tackle, a second year guard, no center, a veteran right guard and nobody to play right tackle.
So what’s ahead for KC’s offensive line?
When Brandon Albert signed his franchise tag last week many felt, including yours truly, that he was a lock to be traded to the Miami Dolphins. Now that may still happen but probably not until sometime next month.
And, if the Chiefs do make that move, they would ultimately tip their hand as to what they’re going to do with their first pick of the draft. That means Kansas City is quite likely headed toward fixing their offensive line via the NFL draft.
That means, if the Chiefs trade out of the #1 spot and fall somewhere between #4 & #9 (which I predict they will), they’ll select one of three left tackle candidates; Luke Joekel (Texas A&M), Eric Fisher (Central Michigan), or Lane Johnson (Oklahoma).
In my view, I’d take any of the three to start at left or right tackle for the Chiefs next season. And should they keep the unhappy Albert and select one of the big three in the draft, they could give second year offensive lineman, Donald Stephenson, another season to develop into a starter at either tackle spot.
So for sake of clarity and assuming, Jeff Allen, starts at left guard and Jon Asamoah is slated as a back-up for he and free agent pick-up, Geoff Schwartz, all the Chiefs need to do is draft a young center to complete their line overhaul in rounds 2, 3 or 4 in April.
Yes I know Kansas City has Center, Rodney Hudson, under contract. But there have been very few updates in regards to his availability to play this season after extensive surgery to repair his knee last fall.
The Chiefs are playing out their current scenario because they could not land free agent left tackles, Jake Long (St. Louis Rams signee), or Sebastian Vollmer, who re-signed with the Patriots.
In the wake of those signings, that leaves just one potential free agent candidate for the Chiefs, Bengals Left Tackle, Andre Smith. But after his best season in the NFL, my guess is Cincy won’t let him walk out the free agency door.
Either way with Smith a Chief or a Bengal, Kansas City realizes they must fix their offensive line via the draft. And to be honest, that makes the most sense. Sure they might be able to pull off a, Willie Roaf, type of trade with some willing partner before April’s draft, but I would not count on it.
Thus, if the Chiefs are serious with upgrading their offensive line and keeping Albert for one more season, they best look at the draft for the present and the future if they intend to begin competing for AFC West titles again.
Because what they do in the next 30 days to shore up their offensive line might determine if that’s possible in 2013.
WARPAINT ILLUSTRATED MESSAGE BOARDS:
Should the Chiefs trade Albert?
For all the news, notes and quotes on the Chiefs, visit WarpaintIllustrated.com