Chiefs Coaches and Scouts Busy at Senior Bowl

The Senior Bowl offers up two separate challenges for NFL teams. First and foremost is to start scouting potential draft picks that could be drafted in April but the second is too play a shell game with other NFL teams. But even further this could be the last draft for both Dick Vermeil and Carl Peterson as members of the Kansas City Chiefs organization.

The Chiefs who have excelled in picking up quality players in the later rounds will have nine picks on the second day of the draft. That means a plethora of talent could bolster a roster that needs some turnover; especially on the defensive front.

If Chiefs fans hadn't noticed, the Senior Bowl officially kicks off the NFL Draft. Though we have just less than three months to analyze which player Kansas City will take in round one. For the record I think they'll grab defensive end Marcus Spears from LSU if cornerback Antrel Rolle is not on the board. Of course if USC Wide Receiver Mike Williams is staring the Chiefs in the face at #15, don't be shocked if he becomes property of Kansas City.

But those discussions or predictions are moot at this point. For now focus is on the defense where Kansas City is likely to add at least two new cornerbacks, two linebackers, two defensive ends, another safety and at least one guard or tackle, a quarterback, a tackle, a big play wide receiver and a third string running back.

The jury is out on the Chiefs desire to be aggressive in free agency. If you listen to the local media they've jumped on the Ty Law bandwagon or you prefer to view the Chiefs website; they'll claim that free agency doesn't work in the NFL.

Generally free agency is a poor risk but the Chiefs don't need to look any further than what the Philadelphia Eagles did this past off-season in grabbing Terrell Owens and Jevon Kearse. That helped get the NFC Champs over the hump but they also draft really well.

The Chiefs face a lot of uncertainties this off-season especially when you consider the entire coaching staff is working on a one year contract. This draft will shape their legacy for the future of the organization.

But take head Chiefs fans because Kansas City is making all the right moves at the Senior Bowl. They aren't being bashful about their involvement with some of the second tier players who likely could make an impact on the 2005 or 2006 rosters.

Everyone in the NFL knows this team needs defense so why hide it. There is no sense in playing the Shell game with the other NFL teams because anyone with a pulse who can play defense will get an eye and ear from the Chiefs scouts and coaches assembled in Mobile Alabama.

Though it should be noted that at the East West Shrine Game, a majority of the coaches were looking at tight ends and running backs. That has changed this week as the Chiefs have spent a significant of their offensive pursuit in grading the wide receivers.

The Chiefs need someone who can eventually become a #1 receiver and this draft is deep at the position. Kansas City has focused on Reggie Brown (Georgia), Craig Bragg (UCLA) and Vincent Jackson (Northern Colorado). If the Chiefs aren't confident that one of these guys steps up they could find themselves looking at the free agent market.

They've also been looking for some depth along the offensive line. Will Shields has indicated he'll be back in 2005 but 2006 might not see the Chiefs Iron Man. Willie Roaf the star studded tackle also is back for 2005. With that said, Kansas City is busy looking at Evan Mathias (Alabama), Julius Coston (NC A&T), Marcus Johnson (Mississippi) and Logan Mankins (Fresno State).

On defense the Chiefs are focusing on the defensive secondary and I would not be surprised if Kansas City drafts as many as four cornerbacks in this draft. Gunther Cunningham and his staff have huddled around Alphonso Hodge (Miami-Ohio), Trent Cole (Cincinnati) and Jonathan Clinkscale (Wisconsin).

With injuries to linebackers Shawn Barber and Mike Maslowski, the Chiefs are desperate to add some talent and depth. This could be one of the positions where Kansas City is aggressive both in free agency and the draft. Still they've spend a good portion of their time looking at Mike Montgomery (Texas A&M), Michael Boley (Southern Mississippi), Cornelius Wortham (Alabama) and Robert McCune (Louisville).

Only time will tell if the Chiefs select any of these players and if any of them can impact the Kansas City defense. They'll be no shortage of potential free agents running though arrowhead in March but for now the team is focused on finding some diamonds in the rough that can make an impact.

This could be the last draft of the Carl Peterson era and I'd like to think he'll do his best to make the right decisions this off-season. This will be a critical draft for him and this organization. If this turns out to be a great draft, you can thank the efforts of the entourage that has descended on Mobile for what could be the last for most of them as members of the Chiefs organization.


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