Were Albert, Charles And Morgan Worth Allen?

Carl Peterson should watch the Chiefs vs. Jaguars game closely this weekend. If he ever wants to strut around a stadium or cocktail party with his chest puffed out and nose pointed in the air around other NFL veterans, Sunday's game could go a long way in justifying it.

Forget Rich Gannon being shipped to Oakland, a move made after Marty Schottenheimer made it apparent he preferred Elvis Grbac. Forget the numerous draft busts. The biggest potential mistake of Peterson's career was trading Jared Allen to the Minnesota Vikings for three draft picks resulting in Branden Albert, Jamaal Charles and DaJuan Morgan.

If those guys sink, Peterson's already tarnished reputation is marred even further. If they succeed, an I-told-you-so is in order. With Allen flourishing in Minnesota again this year (10.5 sacks, a safety and three forced fumbles) Chiefs fans are stricken with a sudden case of Royals-like fever.

For years the Royals were seemingly nothing but a farm team, shipping off the likes of Jermaine Dye, Johnny Damon, and Carlos Beltran, all proven players with promise. It was a sinking feeling watching Beltran enjoy a spectacular NLCS as an Astro. Dye winning the Series with the White Sox was demoralizing, and seeing Damon don a Boston or New York cap was downright infuriating, and still is.

Now, one of the cornerstones of the Carlos Betran trade - Mark Teahen, is being sent elsewhere, thus making the hurt of losing Beltran that much more painful. If you trade a valued, loved, revered member of your club and city, and what you get in return proves to be a flop, then that loss was all for naught.

That's what's at stake Sunday for the Jared Allen trade. One game won't define the careers of Charles, Morgan and Albert, and it won't prove or disprove whether or not the trade has cultivated any positives for the Chiefs, but for the first time, all three players who came to Kansas City because Allen left will play a large role in the same game. They may all even start.

Albert is coming off an injury that's sidelined him since the Dallas game. Albert had a particularly good rookie campaign in 2008, but has struggled this season. It could be due to the fact he's dropped in the neighborhood of 30 pounds per the request of head coach Todd Haley. It could just be an old-fashioned sophomore slump.

Nevertheless, it's time for him to prove he is an exceptional, or at the least, acceptable, starting NFL left tackle. Haley made it clear when he came to Kansas City, and he's continued to send the message, that everyone has a clean slate and will be judged off what they have done since his hire. If you put Albert on that scale, it's not unfathomable the Chiefs may go after a high-priced tackle in the draft with what is sure to be a top five pick.

Charles is getting his first shot as the premier ball carrier this week. He's got the talent, he's had a season-and-a-half's worth of time to adjust to the speed and violence of the NFL game, and now it's his turn to produce. If he has multiple fumbles, struggles to get past the initial line of defense, and disappoints as a pass blocker, the Allen trade looks more like a gift.

Morgan, like so many of his rookie classmates who play in the defensive secondary, may be getting his first start due to injury. Jon McGraw and Jarrad Page go down, and he must step up. Morgan was a Herm Edwards pick, and possibly one of his favorites from the 2008 class. He's yet to show why.

If Charles rushes for 175 yards, Albert gives Matt Cassel a comfortable pocket, and Morgan snags two picks and lights up Maurice Jones-Drew at the line of scrimmage, it will not wholly justify sending Allen to Minnesota, but Sunday's game does provide our first look at what Kansas City received in return for the biggest steal in Chiefs draft history.

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