Chiefs not looking for immediate help in draft
After a busy offseason, it appears the Kansas City Chiefs aren't looking for an immediate impact player in today's NFL Draft. Despite finishing last in the league in team defense, the Chiefs feel the free agent signings of linebacker Shawn Barber, cornerback Dexter McCleon and defensive end Vonnie Holliday and the return of safety Jerome Woods and defensive tackle Ryan Sims from injury is enough to strengthen several weaknesses exposed during an wildly entertaining 8-8 season last year. So Kansas City plans to add depth in its defensive core with the 16th selection in the first round at Madison Square Garden in New York. "I can't think of a position a first-round pick could come in and start for us right now offensively or defensively," Kansas City head coach Dick Vermeil said. "I think overall we're still thinking defense. I know we have a good feel where we have our people ranked in terms of the college personnel coming out. I think we may have a hunch who might be sitting there – a group of five different guys. Only time will tell." The strength of this year's draft appears to be on the defensive line, which is where the Chiefs are still looking for more improvement. Kansas City figures Kentucky's Dewayne Robertson, Arizona State's Terrell Suggs, Penn State's Jimmy Kennedy will be gone by the middle of the first round, leaving Penn State's Michael Haynes, Oklahoma State's Kevin Williams, Miami's Jerome McDougle, Georgia's Johnathan Sullivan and Nebraska's Chris Kelsay in the mix when the Chiefs are scheduled to pick. Haynes (6-3, 281 pounds) had 15 sacks and forced seven fumbles last season. Williams (6-5, 304) started 43 of 46 games during his career. McDougle (6-2, 264) picked up seven sacks each of the last two seasons. Sullivan (6-3, 318) had 75 tackles in 2002 and Kelsay (6-4, 273) reminds scouts of fellow Cornhusker and current St. Louis Rams' defensive end Grant Wistrom. "We like to have a wave on the defensive line so a true starter will play 40 snaps and the other guy 25," Vermeil said. "Who's to say when you second is in there isn't going to have to make every bit as critical a play as your starter has to make for you to be a playoff caliber team? "It's hard for a defensive lineman to play 65 snaps and then ask him to rush the passer and win it in the last series of downs. Therefore, you have to have quality rotation players to go in and play. That's when you become a real good football team." With the depth of talent on the defensive line so deep, the Chiefs may be tempted to trade down in the first round and pick up another second round pick or a third-round selection. Kansas City is without a third-round pick due to the trade last year with New Orleans for left tackle Willie Roaf. "We're very interested in trying to get as many picks as we can and certainly as we get close to the 16th pick if the player or players that we want are not there, or we think we may be able to draft a little bit later, we will make a concerted effort to move back and try to pick up an extra draft choice," Chiefs president and general manager Carl Peterson said. "You have to have someone who wants to trade with you and that may or may not happen. I'd like to think there will be a very good player on the 16th pick that can help us." With their sixth other selections, the Chiefs are likely to focus on adding cornerbacks, linebackers and a backup running back to Priest Holmes, whose status for the upcoming season is still uncertain following surgery on his injured hip. Kansas City, which would like to decrease Holmes' workload if he is healthy, is still seeking to acquire Arizona's Thomas Jones through a trade. Jones, the seventh overall pick in the 2000 draft out of Virginia, has been a immense disappointment since joining Cardinals, rushing for only 1,264 yards in three seasons.
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