Chiefs upgrade line with Albert pick

The satisfied look on the face of Chiefs' president Carl Peterson told the story. Kansas City had just selected Virginia offensive tackle/guard Branden Albert with their second first-round pick on Saturday, and everyone involved with the draft couldn't have been happier.

"We wanted to move up with that second pick," said Peterson. "My good friend Matt Millen and I were able to work it out and, ironically, with the pick that we waited and took a while to get with the Miami Dolphins for Trent Green."

The Chiefs selected the 6-foot-5 Albert with the draft choice they received from the Minnesota Vikings in return for defensive end Jared Allen. Kansas City then turned that 17th overall pick into the 15th via the fifth-round pick they received in return for Green last year. That's a convoluted way of saying that KC's second first-round pick allowed the Chiefs to grab both players they wanted early in the 2008 draft.

"I never thought in my wildest dreams that we would be able to get both those guys," said Bill Kuharich, V.P. of Player Personnel.

Kuharich and the Chiefs had to get aggressive and slide up those last couple of spots to ensure the selection of Albert. The Philadelphia Eagles were pushing hard to move in front of the Chiefs, forcing Kansas City to get proactive and make a deal with the Detroit Lions for the 15th pick.

"We knew behind us was Philly and Houston, and they wanted to get up over us and to get an opportunity to get a tackle," said Kuharich. "So with a little nudging from Herm and I, we got Carl and Carl did a great job of making a deal because Philadelphia was countering above us about trying to get to Denver or Arizona's pick."

After allowing an NFL-high 55 sacks last season, offensive line help was desperately needed in Kansas City. The Chiefs got a player who is capable of starting at two or three positions today. For the present, it looks like Edwards will try Albert out at left tackle, which would push current starter Damion McIntosh to the right side.

"He can play tackle, he can play guard, he's smart, he's very athletic and he's got great strength," said Kuharich.

Albert, an All-American third-team selection, started 13 games last year for the Cavaliers - 11 at left guard, two at lefttackle. Over his last 25 games, Albert allowed only 6.5 sacks and no pressures on 773 pass plays.

Despite his talent and numbers, Albert's got an uphill climb. As a first round pick on a team that desperately needs improved offensive line play, the pressure will be on the rookie to be ready to play once the season starts. That means getting to work immediately, reporting to camp on time and learning. This will be a long, hard summer for Albert.

But for now, he's just happy to be a Chief.

"I'm ecstatic right now," said Albert. "I'm happy to be playing for coach Edwards and coach Bicknell, the offensive line coach. I got drafted with probably the best player in the draft, Glenn Dorsey. I'm happy about that."

"I'm happy about going to Kansas City and blocking for Larry Johnson. I'm happy to be playing in the great tradition of offensive linemen you have. I'm just very happy right now."

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