Warpaint Roundtable – Offseason Edition V

In our fifth edition of the Warpaint Roundtable, we discuss Jared Allen, Chiefs kickers, Jake Long, Darren McFadden, and Chiefs youth.

What do you see the Chiefs doing on defense if they part ways with Jared Allen?

Nick Athan: Turk McBride will be an option at defensive end along with a rookie, potentially. I can't see anything else on the roster that will help. Remember, Allen was a fourth-round draft pick, so All-Pro defensive ends can be found in the later rounds. But trading Allen will force Kansas City to draft wisely on defense.

This isn't big news that he might be traded. The Chiefs coaching staff has been preparing for his potential departure. The scouting department has been doing their homework finding potential solutions to shore up the defensive line and the cornerback position.

Michael Ash: I suppose it all depends on the players they end up getting in return for Allen, but at the moment I see them doing the following things: giving up lots of yards, giving up lots of points, not sacking the quarterback, and not scaring anyone.

C.E. Wendler: How about moving some players around? I've always thought Tamba Hali was a little small at left defensive end (he had issues against the run last season). He might benefit from switching to Allen's old spot, where he wouldn't be forced to butt heads with tight ends so often. Turk McBride would fit nicely at Hali's old spot, especially if the Chiefs draft a defensive tackle in the first round this year.

In a year many do not expect the team to contend for the Super Bowl, isn't it silly to bring in older veteran kickers?

Nick Athan: It makes sense because the Chiefs certainly have whiffed on drafting them. I still say John Carney is the best option. He did a great job last year and even at 43, he's better than any kicker this team has drafted recently.

Kansas City is likely going to struggle to score points in the first half of the season until they find continuity with Chan Gailey's new schemes. That means field goals are going to be important to prevent shutouts in the early stages of the 2008 season. Even so, I expect the team will draft a kicker in round six or seven.

Michael Ash: It's unfortunate, not silly. Like the woman in the Pepsi/Frito-Lay commercial said a few years ago, "The guy's got one job: make kicks." The Chiefs need someone who can make kicks. No matter how bleak their prospects may be, few teams would trot out bad kickers for on-the-job training during the season, costing themselves points and victories in the process.

The Chiefs would love to have a capable young kicker, which was why they drafted Justin Medlock last year. But barring that, they just need someone who can do the job. If it's John Carney or Mike Vanderjagt or Morten Anderson, sometimes teams have to do what they have to do.

C.E. Wendler:I'm not sure what your definition of "veteran" is. John Carney is certainly ancient. Nick Novak and Billy Cundiff, not so much. If the Chiefs can get Novak or Cundiff to kick consistently, they'll be just fine. Both are under 30.

If Jake Long were to fall to the #5 slot and Sedrick Ellis was also still on the board, do you think the Chiefs would go with Ellis since Long's drop, along with Brenden Albert's rise, would place two more offensive tackle prospects out there?

Nick Athan: Long is the most NFL-ready tackle in this draft. Is he the best tackle in this draft? That remains to be seen, but if Ellis is on the board with Long, there is no question the Chiefs take Long. Albert will be around at #17, the Vikings pick.

How badly do the Chiefs want Jake Long?
Gregory Shamus - Getty

Michael Ash: I'm not sure if this scenario will actually happen. To create that domino effect on the other linemen, Long would have to fall far enough to get to a team that was already looking to take an offensive tackle.

But since he's such a highly regarded prospect, it would quickly get to the point where a team that's not necessarily looking for a lineman would find him too good to pass up.

That could happen as soon as the Jets at pick #6 or the Patriots at #7. Then a team that's looking for a tackle would take the next-best one, just as they had always planned to, and the domino effect wouldn't happen. I can't see the Chiefs passing on Long to take Sedrick Ellis.

C.E. Wendler: Absolutely not. The Chiefs are starving for offensive linemen. Passing on a dynamite run-blocking force like Jake Long seems like something totally out of character for the current regime. It'd be akin to Dick Vermeil passing on Derrick Johnson in 2005, when Kansas City was starving for a linebacker.

Do you foresee ANY scenario whatsoever in which the Chiefs would take Darren McFadden with the #5 pick?

Nick Athan: Yes. I think the Chiefs should take McFadden, especially if they trade Jared Allen to the Vikings. To me, he's the top rated player in this draft and a home run hitter. This offense needs players who can find the end zone.

I don't care about Larry Johnson. If McFadden is on the board and the Chiefs don't trade the pick (which I believe they will), then you have to take the best player on the board. McFadden will be the player we will all talk about five years from now.

Michael Ash: Prior to the Jared Allen news coming out, I would have said that if the first four picks were Jake Long, Chris Long, Sedrick Ellis, and Glenn Dorsey, then I could have seen the faintest chance of the Chiefs possibly taking McFadden over Matt Ryan or Vernon Gholston. McFadden would be the best player in that situation, and if the Chiefs weren't sold on Ryan and couldn't move down, then perhaps they'd take him.

But with the Allen developments, it's more likely they would take Gholston in that situation. So, no, I don't currently see a scenario where they'd take McFadden.

C.E. Wendler: There's a lot of smoke floating around out there this time of year, so I'm not sure how serious the Chiefs really are about drafting McFadden, despite what you may have read on our own website and others. To me, there's only one scenario in which Kansas City would take McFadden at the fifth pick – if Jake Long, Chris Long, Sedrick Ellis, Glenn Dorsey and Matt Ryan were all off the board. Obviously that's not going to happen, short of one of those players quitting football unexpectedly.

What back up players from 2007 do you see starting for the Chiefs this year? Which ones will be good, which ones won't be?

Nick Athan: We kind of touched on that last week. I think with Allen likely departing, Turk McBride will now be moved to defensive end. I saw him the other day and he looks like he's bulked up. Ironically, he's been working with Allen, who he could replace in the starting lineup.

Can Turk move into a starting role in '08?
Jamie Squire - Getty

Another player we didn't touch on is wide receiver Jeff Webb. He and I had a conversation at the end of the season and he told me he's going to start opposite Dwayne Bowe. I think Webb will benefit from new wide receivers coach Eric Price. As far as those who won't pan out, that's hard to tell right now. Ask me again after OTAs.

Michael Ash: We already know players like Rudy Niswanger, Turk McBride, and Tank Tyler should have much bigger roles this season. So, I'll go out on a limb and say Herb Taylor will win the starting job at right tackle and Tyron Brackenridge will be one of the starting corners. Of course, after the draft, the Chiefs might have better options at both positions, but it's possible those two players would do well if given the opportunity.

C.E. Wendler: How about cornerback Dimitri Patterson? He flashed skills in preseason last year, and though he was injured for a good chunk of the regular season, he played well on special teams. Most special-teams players possess some element of speed, so if the Chiefs were forced to start a young player like Patterson, I like him more than Tyron Brackenridge, who ran a molasses-slow 4.7 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine last offseason.

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