Time for Peterson to Shine

With 13 picks and counting and a handful of teams looking to trade into the 5th and 17th spots of the first round today, there might not be a better man at the helm of KC's draft than President Carl Peterson. After all, he just put his reputation on the line by trading star defensive end Jared Allen.

Peterson traded Allen because it was the right move. Because of that, this weekend he can reshape his legacy with a wild, old-fashioned trade frenzy that might yield Kansas City a bright future.

Peterson needs a positive draft, because since the 2007 season ended, nobody within the Chiefs' organization has been under more heat. Radio stations, TV stations, internet sites, fans and people on the street are all talking about the man who made Kansas City a football town again.

But fans and wannabe GMs don't really care about that anymore. Arrowhead Stadium will struggle to be filled this year, blackouts are a real possibility and when you consider the team just traded away it's best defensive player, the Chiefs are probably in for a rocky season.

But that can all change this weekend. In fact, I think the situation has taken a turn for the better already. Peterson is at the center of it all.

The draft begins with Kansas City at the forefront. ESPN and the NFL Network will be talking about the Chiefs more than any other team in this draft. In the last 24 hours, there have been trade rumors involving the Chiefs with the New Orleans Saints, New England Patriots, Buffalo Bills, Dallas Cowboys, New York Jets and Baltimore Ravens.

Regardless of the trades, with 13 picks at the moment, I'd bet that the Chiefs will indeed shore up most of their talent-needy areas. There is talent to be found in every round, enough to bring Kansas City new offensive linemen, cornerbacks, wide receivers and defensive linemen.

But here's what's really nice - the Chiefs can afford to be greedy this weekend.

With the fifth pick, Peterson knows he's sitting on the most pivotal pick of the entire draft. Four teams are vying to move into that slot. Peterson will play them all against each other.

Where that leads is anyone's guess, but Peterson has admitted recently - more so than at anytime in his tenure - that he's made some mistakes with personnel. He took responsibility for the failures of the Chiefs last year and admitted that keeping veterans around – especially those on the offensive line – probably wasn't wise.

In a recent interview with the local rag, Peterson admitted the drafting of Ryan Sims back in 2002 was a mistake.

None of that really matters anymore. What Peterson can do today and Sunday is go out and take chances. He can go wild and draft quarterback Matt Ryan or running back Darren McFadden with the first pick. He could deal that pick and pick up an extra second and third round pick this year, or perhaps a number one pick in the 2009 draft.

The Chiefs – and Peterson - have been brilliant in disguising their true feelings about the top players in this draft. You can make a case for any direction, from Chris Long to Sedrick Ellis to Branden Albert or maybe even Ryan Clady.

We know the Chiefs covet LSU defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey, but they might look at Ohio State defensive end Vernon Gholston. Or, they may trade down a few slots and do it again 20 minutes later. They could find themselves drafting 10th, 11th or 14th and then again at 17th, all the while adding more prime picks in rounds two and three.

The Chiefs can truly strike gold this weekend. In order to do that, Peterson has to be willing to think outside the box. He has to have the same determination and guts as he did when he traded Allen to the Vikings.

He is, for the first time in his tenure in Kansas City, at the forefront of the NFL draft. He can change the perception of the Chiefs in the local and national media by being aggressive and striking while the iron is hot. More importantly, he can infuse his team with some outstanding young talent.

For decades, former Major League Manager and General Manger Jack McKeon was known as trader Jack for his blockbuster trades that sent shockwaves through the Hot Stove League.

This weekend, Peterson should take a page from McKeon and change his nickname from King Carl to Trader Carl. If he can successfully play poker better than the other NFL executives, he'll forever change his legacy in the eyes of many fans.

If he pulls that off, all he has left to do with the plethora of young draft picks on the roster is wine'em, dine'em and sign'em.

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