The thought of having too many weapons on the defensive line seems a bit hard to believe for any Chiefs fan. But the emphasis on drafting and developing defensive lineman over the past several years is finally giving the team a surplus of options.
Players such as Glenn Dorsey and Wallace Gilberry appear to have turned the corner in their development from roster bystanders to contributors. When paired with veteran defensive linemen Ron Edwards and Shaun Smith, the Chiefs defensive front in 2010 was a far distance from the one's we have seen in the past.
But mere improvement isn't good enough. Much like his philosophy on drafting quarterbacks, General Manager Scott Pioli began to stockpile defensive lineman in April's draft.
With the additions of defensive end Allen Bailey and defensive tackle Jerrell Powe, Chiefs Defensive Coordinator Romeo Crennel suddenly has some variety on his plate.
Assuming that 53 man rosters are still the magic number in 2011, Crennel will have some tough decisions to make when slimming down the roster. Some on the other hand will not require much mental strain.
One of those players is Glenn Dorsey.
Dorsey began to transcend into the player everyone predicted he would be after he joined the Chiefs in 2008. Now heading into his fourth season, Dorsey's ceiling may never be higher. He was the Chiefs most consistent down lineman last season and he could be on pace for a break out year.
However, if that's going to happen then Dorsey's outside line mate (whomever that might be), must play equally as well.
When the Chiefs opened the 2010 season at a sold out Arrowhead Stadium, all in attendance got a sneak peak as to what Scott Pioli thought about Tyson Jackson. He was lined up as a starter but in the second half he went down with knee injury that torpedoed any chance for significant returns last season.
In lieu of Jackson, the Chiefs heavily relied upon Gilberry and free agent the teams best free agent acquisition of the offseason, the aforementioned and sometimes battering ram fullback, Shaun Smith.
Although often overlooked Gilberry again finished as the Chiefs second best sack leader last season and is quietly putting up a very legitimate case for more playing time.
With increased playing time, Smith became a lightning rod for Kansas City's defensive attitude. The 2011 free agent will have to wait to see if last years play will gain him a new contract by the Chiefs.
So where does that leave Tyson Jackson or even Smith? Time will tell once the lockout ends to see how Pioli views Smith. As far as Jackson, it's easy to assume that his is his make it or break it year.
With the addition of Jerrell Powe courtesy of the sixth round, Pioli instantly bolstered the entire defense with just a single player. The nose tackle position is possibly the most important of any in a 3-4 scheme. By adding Powe, the team finally has a space-eating defensive tackle. It'll be interested to see how Crennel uses him and if he can get his stamina on course to play most of the defensive snaps in 2011.
Edwards contract situation however is similar to that of Smith's, thus leaving Powe as the Chiefs only true nose tackle option.
But the biggest impact or surprise this season could come from the Chiefs third round draft pick Allen Bailey from the University of Miami. The strong and physical specimen had been rated as a possible first round draft pick a year ago but he didn't have a great year for the Hurricane defense.
Still the Hog Hammock native could make an impact in 2011 if he can stay motivated; something that was an issue in college. At times, Bailey dominated just as easy as he became invisible on the defensive line. But with Crennel and Defensive Line Coach Anthony Pleasant dogging the kid every day, my guess is that one or both will be able to turn on the lights and keep them going all season long.
Still with free agency still on hold one has to wonder what else Pioli might be able to add when the lockout sage ends. Until then, my guess is that things will shake out in training camp. Still I expect a few surprises in St. Joseph.
In-Depth Chart: Chiefs Cornerbacks
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