Warpaint Roundtable – Week 12

This week our crew discusses James Laurinaitis, the next head coach, Bernard Pollard and the draft.

What's your take on moving Pollard from safety to outside linebacker? He does like to hit. Pollard is about the same size as Donnie Edwards so why not make a move on it?

Nick Athan: Pollard can't play outside linebacker. Based on his poor tackling techniques, there's no reason to think he'd be any better at linebacker than safety. He's a backup and shouldn't be a starter next year for this team, if he's even on the roster. If you're going to play at linebacker, you need to have above average instincts to know what's in front of you as the man with the ball is coming your direction. Pollard doesn't have that.

Michael Ash: Pollard did play linebacker on at least a few plays against Buffalo. It seemed to be a part of some unique package with Derrick Johnson lined up in the middle and Pollard to his right. So maybe it's something they're considering.

C.E. Wendler: Let's take a player who can't tackle, takes poor angles, and is undersized (like Edwards) and make him a linebacker. Could you have thought of a worse idea? By the way, Pollard may "like to hit," but that doesn't make him a hitter. Considering that's what he was drafted to be, there isn't a defensive position on the field he belongs at. However, moving him to linebacker will easily hide his lack of speed, so there's a plus.

Scout.com has James Laurinaitis ranked #1 - is he worth it and will we take him? We need a leader on defense!

Nick Athan: The Chiefs should take him because he's the middle linebacker this team can build a defense around. This team can't run any defense without solid play at linebacker. If they don't sign a high-priced free agent linebacker, it becomes a top priority in the draft. The Chiefs actually need to see if they can find a pair that can bring the best out of Derrick Johnson. Right now he's been an average player and the current defensive scheme does not fit his game.

The good thing is that this year's draft class is loaded at linebacker. From all accounts and people I've spoke with who have seen Laurinaitis play, he's the real deal. He'll come in right away and command respect.

Michael Ash: Draft rankings in November don't usually mean much. By the time April rolls around, not only won't Laurinaitis be rated that high, there's a good chance he won't even be the highest rated linebacker in the draft. USC's Rey Maualuga could vault past him, and if Herm Edwards is still coaching the Chiefs next year, he'd probably love Maualuga, who looks like a prototypical Tampa 2 middle linebacker with his speed and range.

Do the Chiefs need James Laurinaitis?
Jonathan Daniel - Getty

At the moment, though, the Chiefs are sitting at the #2 pick in the draft. Assuming that's where they stay, it's rare for linebackers to be drafted that high. Unless the Chiefs win a few more games, it's likely the only scenario that sees the team end up with either Maualuga or Laurinaitis would involve a trade down.

C.E. Wendler: Like Michael said, usually linebackers don't go so high in the draft, but even so, if you're the Chiefs, you have to consider it. You just drafted the best defensive tackle in the country, and Tank Tyler appears to be an ascending player at the other tackle spot. Adding a middle linebacker to that mix could potentially fix the run defense for years.

On the other hand, what's worse – Kansas City's pass rush, or the run defense? If the Lions take a quarterback at the top overall spot (barring the shocking occurrence of Detroit actually winning a game), the Chiefs will probably have a chance to get the draft's top pass rusher. It's not hard to figure out which position is more valued in this league.

Another downside to drafting Laurinaitis is that spelling his name for 10+ years could be a real headache. You fans may not consider factors like that, but we in the media have to suffer when a player with such a terrible name is drafted by the Chiefs.

In your opinion, with our first four picks, what positions will we take and in what order?

Nick: Middle linebacker is number one for this football team. Second is the best offensive lineman available, then the best quarterback available in the third round. Lastly, another cornerback. However, you ask this question without any knowledge of the free agents the Chiefs might go after, so that could alter the plan.

Michael Ash: The biggest team needs are defensive end, linebacker, and offensive line, but there's no telling what order they'll be taken in, or even if they'll be taken at all. This time last year we kept hearing about how the Chiefs would target the offensive line in the draft. With 12 picks, they drafted two linemen. It all depends on who's available when they go on the clock. We could get through the first four picks with all of those positions being addressed, or maybe just one of them.

C.E. Wendler: Well, hopefully we've moved past the stage of this franchise that saw too much drafting for need instead of taking the best player available. However, at the same time, it worked out quite well for the Chiefs that the first three players they took – Glenn Dorsey, Branden Albert, Brandon Flowers – all happened to fit major positions of need.

Knowing that, and assuming Herm Edwards is still the head coach, it's not hard to see the Chiefs going defensive end, linebacker, offensive line and maybe cornerback. But really, good luck trying to guess what position a team will take in the fourth round, let alone the third. No one predicted the Chiefs would take a safety, a running back or a tight end in the third round last year.

Assuming at the end of the year Herm, Carl and all parties are let go, what type of coach would you like to see come in here? Assistants such as Spagnuolo and McDaniels or retreads like Cowher, Fassel or even Marty??

Nick Athan: There is only one coach that fits the bill for me to take over the Chiefs. We have a group of young players and the front office may be stubborn in regards to adding the right experienced talent. If that's the case, a young, dynamic head coach is needed – Oklahoma's Bob Stoops.

Stoops is a chameleon who has never been afraid to blow it up when it's not working. There are only two NFL jobs he'll consider – Dallas and Kansas City. He was the runner up to Herm Edwards three years ago and according to some folks I've spoke with he's warm to the idea of jumping to the NFL after this college football season.

Do the Chiefs want Bill Cowher?
Jamie Squire - Getty

As far as Bill Cowher, my understanding from ESPN's Merrill Hodge is that Cowher is under contract with the Steelers through the 2009 season and it'll take a draft pick and plenty of money to lure him back to the NFL before then. I also hear that where Cowher goes, Marty goes, so it would have to be a package deal. Bringing both of them back would be an expensive proposition, to say the least, for Clark Hunt.

Michael Ash: I have no interest in seeing a retread get hired to any position of importance in the Chiefs organization. Kansas City needs fresh blood in the General Manger's office and on the sideline. If the Chiefs hired a young, up-and-coming Dayton Moore type as the new general manager and he decided to bring in a coach like Bill Cowher, I could live with that. But overall, retreads strike me as being more of the same, and the Chiefs are in dire need of a fresh start.

C.E. Wendler: The idea of going after an ascending coaching talent who has never been a head coach before strikes me as the best possible move. It was the right move for the Raiders with Jon Gruden years ago, and if you look at what Jim Zorn, John Harbaugh and Mike Smith have done this year with the Redskins, Ravens and Falcons, it just seems to be exactly what the Chiefs need at this point in time. Everyone is tired of all the links to the past.

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