2008 Chiefs don't look like a 4-12 team

Before the weekend's "draft bonanza," as it's been dubbed by various media outlets, I made no effort to disguise my jubilance surrounding the benefits of dealing All-Pro, All-World, defensive end Jared Allen. In the aftermath, the Chiefs in effect traded Allen for guard/tackle Branden Albert, running back Jamaal Charles, and safety DaJuan Morgan.

Am I still buzzing? Absolutely. Ultimately, however, these youngsters will need some seasoning before the lasting effect of this deal can be realized - before the true winner of that month long poker game between the Chiefs and Vikings can be declared. I can't help but imagine the havoc a Jared Allen and Glenn Dorsey might've wreaked on opposing offenses, but I digress.

It can be said with some conviction that the 2008 Chiefs shouldn't be any worse than last year's squad. It would be an understatement to say a year ago that teams prepared for the Chiefs by building an offensive game plan designed to stop Jared Allen. The statistics make that painfully obvious - 28th against run and 5th against the pass. In other words, when facing Allen, pass at your own risk, but if you want to win run the ball right at him.

Enter the "bonanza." With Dorsey in the middle of the defensive line, those Mississippi delta-like holes so prevalent in 2007 will be few. Upon recognizing this, opposing offenses will attempt to run outside the hash marks.

The Chiefs addressed that hole with their selection of Brandon Flowers in the second round. All this physical cornerback did at Virginia Tech last year was make 18 tackles behind the line of scrimmage, something a defensive lineman would boast about but is unheard of from a cornerback.

Mix in the progression of Tamba Hali and Derrick Johnson along with the leadership of Donnie Edwards (potentially at middle linebacker), and this unit becomes formidable on all fronts. The key for KC's defense will be to force teams to drop back to beat them.

Allen's absence leaves a hole, but there shouldn't be any question that the 37 sacks amassed a year ago by the Chiefs could be matched again, especially considering the defense faced the fourth-least passing attempts of any team in the NFL last season. Those 37 sacks were good enough for ninth best in the league. That will continue if Dorsey and Hali can pick up the slack.

Overall team success will hinge upon how improved Kansas City's offensive line is. Albert and sixth-round pick Barry Richardson will play a huge role in that.

The Chiefs' coaching staff displayed definitive confidence in quarterback Brodie Croyle by refusing to draft a competitor to pressure him for the job. At the other skill positions, the Chiefs are strong returning Larry Johnson, Tony Gonzalez, and Dwayne Bowe. Offensive coordinator Chan Gailey will hopefully make this offense more watchable than the epitome of ineptitude that bored fans a year ago.

The playoffs are still at least a year away, but I'll stick to my guns and say the 2008 Chiefs will be better than the 4-12 squad of last year. If I'm wrong you can ship me off to Minnesota as well.

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