The NFL is no longer a league that encourages players to remain on the same team for the length of their respective careers. It is now simply a case of supply and demand. Teams that need linebackers, for example, can look to the open market and choose whom to offer big money to sign the dotted line. And more often than not, the largest contract offer—and up front money, ie signing bonus—wins.
A solid mix of veteran leaders and young talent are essential to success in the NFL with the existence of the salary cap. Fortunately, teams have the Draft to find those young gems that can step in and fill roles on a team thirsty for victories.
Kansas City is likely to sign several veteran free agents this offseason. Defensively the Chiefs need a proven winner with solid leadership. During the 2004 season, the defense found themselves on their heels far too often and a grounded veteran can help push this team to dig through troubles.
Among the younger roster members, Jared Allen and Junior Siavii show the most promise to break out next season and become impact players. And Siavii's best traits are his strength and size. It still has yet to be seen if he can apply those traits effectively to impact this defense. However, for the most part this defensive roster is depleted of future starters that can strike fear into offensive coordinators across the league.
It's obvious this unit lacks a strong leader on the field--a player who can inspire others to do great things. Kansas City needs a defender who makes plays that changes momentum. Is he out there as a free agent? Will he be available draft day? Few have answers to such questions, but the Chiefs front office is searching.
The end of the Vermeil era is rapidly approaching and the Chiefs organization must think of the future this offseason. This year's draft will provide Kansas City with eleven selections and the Chiefs must secure at least 6 future starters from this draft. The need for linebackers, cornerbacks, a quarterback, offensive linemen, wide receiver and perhaps a solid punter in the late rounds are all feasible gets for an organization facing uncertainty after the 2005 season.
With the fifteenth selection in the 2005 Draft the Kansas City Chiefs select….
Tough to say, but a defensive back or top wide out is probable. Leading the list of potential picks is Miami cornerback Antrel Rolle. Rolle is quite the physical specimen at 6 foot 200 pounds. A great open field tackler, Rolle comes from a proven college and conference with plenty of perennial NFL all stars. The other cornerbacks getting plenty of attention include West Virginia's Adam "Pac Man" Jones, 5'9" 190, who can also return kicks and punts. Clemson cornerback Justin Miller, 5'11" 200, is another athletic back who could work his way into the top ten with solid combine numbers. A potential second round steal, Auburn cornerback Carlos Rogers, 6' 195, is a stealthy player with deceptive speed. But his talent could shine at the combine and ultimately Rogers could end up drafted in the first round.
At wide receiver, the Chiefs would need to find Braylon Edwards of Michigan or Mike Williams of USC available to pass on a defensive back. Both Edwards and Williams are future stars in the NFL and each possesses immeasurable potential as the best available wideouts in the Draft.
It's tough to see Kansas City selecting a linebacker at number fifteen. The list available through free agency is very deep and filled with experienced veterans with excellent years remaining. Traditionally, wide receivers and cornerbacks have trouble acclimating to the NFL game, but the last few years prove colleges are moving towards NFL style offenses and defenses as well as similar practice schemes making the adjustment easier on all NFL newcomers.
This Draft could determine President Carl Peterson's future with this organization. His coach is retiring and the organization is likely to be handed over to Lamar Hunt's son. Should Peterson falter during the Draft and miss on this year's picks, it's likely he won't have to worry about the 2006 Draft, at least as far as the Chiefs are concerned.