Two years ago, the Chiefs transitioned from a 4-3 defense to a 3-4. Now, they might be looking to finally put the cherry on top of that switch in the first round of this year’s draft. To discuss to the nose tackle position and the rest of Kansas City’s needs, we turn to Patrick Allen from one of my favourite team blogs, Arrowhead Addict.
1. Is this the time to land a big nose tackle to hog up the middle of that 3-4?
I think so. To tell you the truth, I am shocked that Scott Pioli has let the position go for two years. The Chiefs started Ron Edwards at nose tackle in 2009 and 2010 with mixed results. Edwards had never played the nose before 2009 and it showed. He got pushed around a lot and the Chiefs were gouged on the ground all season long. That is why it was a big shock when the Chiefs went with Edwards again in 2010. Surprisingly, by upgrading the players around Edwards, the Chiefs played the run much better last year.
That being said, a lot of their success was due to the scheming of new defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel. Edwards also improved in his second year in the position. Still, he’s on the wrong side of 30 and the Chiefs can only put a Band-Aid on the situation for so long. To truly take their defense to the next level they need to add a true run-stuffing nose tackle who can also generate a little pressure. By doing this, Crennel will be able to take advantage of the athleticism of middle linebacker Derrick Johnson.
Before the lockout, the Chiefs made a play for Shaun Rodgers before he eventually signed with New Orleans. This tells me they know the time to replace Edwards is now. I fully expect them to either draft a NT or find one in free agency. If free agency ever happens.
2. Besides that, what are the Chiefs’ top need positions? They could definitely use some help on the offensive line, right?
The offensive line is certainly a need but it isn’t as urgent as some other positions. The Chiefs have a solid starter in left tackle Branden Albert and a potential Pro Bowl player in guard Ryan Lilja. Brian Waters is on the decline but the Chiefs drafted Jon Asamoah last year and he looks to be the eventual replacement to Waters.
The Chiefs really need to replace Casey Weigmann at center and could use an upgrade over Barry Richardson at right tackle. I wouldn’t be shocked if the Chiefs keep Waters around another year and move him to center. Waters can play the position and the move would enable them to insert Asamoah into the lineup while potentially improving Waters’ career. Richardson could probably handle right tackle for another season but I wouldn’t be surprised if KC drafted a tackle.
KC’s biggest needs are at wide receiver. After Dwayne Bowe there is absolutely no other threat. The Chiefs have to get Bowe some help, particularly at quarterback.
I’d rank KC’s needs as follows:
1. Wide receiver
2. Nose tackle
4. Outside linebacker
If they can address the above through free agency and the draft they can begin to focus on depth, which is also a huge need.
3. Is drafting a quarterback a possibility?
Absolutely. After Matt Cassel the pantry is bare. Brodie Croyle was terrible in relief last year and third quarterback Tyler Palko is a backup developmental project at best. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Chiefs take a QB in the third or fourth round. They have been scouting the quarterback prospects pretty hard.
4. Who specifically do you want them to take with that 21st pick?
I think the Chiefs have got to take Phil Taylor if he’s on the board. This defense has the potential to be dominant for years to come. Eric Berry, Brandon Flowers, Tamba Hali and Derrick Johnson all play at a Pro Bowl level. Glenn Dorsey at defensive end, Kendrick Lewis at free safety, Jovan Belcher in the middle and Andy Studebaker at outside linebacker are all solid players. Rookie Javier Arenas did a decent job as the nickel cornerback last year and Brandon Carr, opposite Brandon Flowers, was one of the more underrated corners in the league last season. Adding a pass-rushing OLB will help but it all starts up front with the nose tackle.
If Taylor is gone, I think they should take the best receiver available without reaching.