Cliff Notes: More Draft Banter

In a new weekly series, Warpaint Illustrated Columnist Pat Clifton takes a look around the internet for inaccuracies from the National Media about the Kansas City Chiefs. This week he takes on the bloggers at Fox, The Sporting News and Pro Football Talk.

In recent blogs (in which I have lambasted Chiefs management and called for their heads on sticks outside Arrowhead Stadium) other Chiefs fans have accused me of over-reacting. One Chiefs fan commented that "13 [draft] picks this year and [next year's draft] should give [the Chiefs] a chance to compete for the AFC West title in 2010." There was also talk of "getting ready for a championship run," and one guy even said, "I don't mind being a .500 team as long as we beat the few teams we need to (you know, division rivals)."

Chiefs fans are pathetic in this manner. They are OK with rebuilding, and then two or three years later making a run at winning the division. They are OK with finishing .500 as long as they beat the stupid Raiders. Frankly, they are OK with mediocrity. Quite simply, any sports fan content with mediocrity, for any reason, is a loser. Sports isn't about competing for the division, beating your division rivals, or making a run at a championship. Sports is about winning the championship. If that doesn't happen, the season was a failure, but fans of the Chiefs often seem to overlook the biggest, most important part of sports.

-JC Scheffres, FOX sports

I will attempt to channel the sentiments of every member of Chiefs Nation through my keyboard in response to Scheffres. First of all, his rant about how the goal in sports should be winning championships is true, but isn't that what the Chiefs are trying to do? Rome wasn't built in a day, and the Patriots weren't built in one offseason. They had had a string of bad and mediocre years leading up to their first championship in 2002, while the St. Louis Rams had three straight losing seasons before winning Super Bowl XXXIV.

If Chiefs fans were content with mediocrity they wouldn't be behind this youth movement, and they'd still be happy with signing aging free agents to patch up holes instead of drafting long-term solutions. If Chiefs fans were content with mediocrity, Kansas City television stations wouldn't have to buy up seats to prevent blackouts at Arrowhead Stadium.

My favorite part of Scheffres' rant is how sports aren't about beating division rivals or making runs at a championship, but rather winning a championship. Last time I checked, you have to both beat division rivals and make a run at a championship before you can actually win one.

The Chiefs had a great draft, but a healthy Johnson would make more of an impact than any of those rookies. If Chiefs coaches are smart, they won't ask Johnson to carry the ball 416 times like they did in '06. That's too much for any back. In eight games last season, Johnson gained just 559 yards as opponents stacked the line of scrimmage with blatant disrespect for the Chiefs' passing game. If the Chiefs can get half-decent play at quarterback, Johnson could have another huge year.

-Clifton Brown, Sporting News

Brown was right when he wrote that the Chiefs had a great draft, and that a healthy Larry Johnson will have a big impact this year, but the degree of Johnson's impact will have a lot to do with the great draft. The two are not mutually exclusive. Without the drafting of Branden Albert, Barry Richardson, and Brad Cottam, the impact of Johnson's health wouldn't be so large.

You can go ahead and pencil in Albert as the opening day starter at left tackle and consider him a huge upgrade over the left tackle-by-committee shuffle the Chiefs used last year. Just with the addition of Albert next to Waters on the left side alone, Johnson will already have larger holes to run through.

Sixth-round pick Barry Richardson will be competing for the starting right tackle spot with veteran Damion McIntosh, and is considered a road-grader of a run blocker. If he doesn't win the right tackle position outright, expect him to definitely be in the rotation. Brad Cottam was drafted as the replacement for Jason Dunn, and his huge frame will help in the run game.

Brown was right again when he predicted the success of KC's offense will be reliant on quality quarterback play, but that too will be dependent upon the success of the new faces along the front line.

With the Chiefs using zero of their 12 draft picks on quarterbacks, many presumed that Brodie Croyle would continue as the starter, at least for 2008. Enter Tyler Thigpen, a seventh-round pick of the Vikings in 2007 whom coach Brad Childress thought he could slip through waivers and sign to the practice squad before the Chiefs pounced, could challenge Croyle. Not next year, but right now. Adam Schefter of NFL Network reports that the Chiefs believe that Thigpen could topple Croyle for the starting job in 2008.

-Mike Florio,

Both Florio and Schefter are wrong. Brodie Croyle will have every opportunity to be Kansas City's franchise quarterback of the future. If the offensive line can get it together, Croyle may have a breakout season. He has elite arm strength, and has shown good pocket presence by standing tall when he knows he's going to get drilled.

One thing that seems to slip a lot of people's minds is that the Chiefs have plenty of weapons on the offensive side of the ball. When Larry Johnson is healthy and has holes to run through, he is a top-three running back in the NFL. Dwayne Bowe almost racked up 1,000 receiving yards in his rookie campaign, even with a porous offensive line protecting his quarterbacks, and Tony Gonzalez is the greatest tight end of all time.

The glaring weakness on this offense is up front, and the creation of depth and competition at that spot by this year's draft will undoubtedly force improvements. Because it was so bad last year, the offensive line can't help but get better, so expect to see Croyle improve likewise. If Croyle doesn't improve, Thigpen might get a shot later on in the season, but the job is Croyle's to lose. Top Stories