There are several great prospects coming up in Free Agency that can make an immediate impact on the Chiefs future. While jumping to the draft is great for conversation, filling their needs must be done in order. That order is based on my article last week in restructuring contracts and cutting players. Filling some needs in free agency is next, followed by the draft.
Kansas City’s offense in the first year under Andy Reid was good, so much better than the anemic offense we had in previous years. Reid brought in the west coast offense along with his quarterback Alex Smith. Chiefs averaged 27 points a game with an average of 337 YPG, 208 through the air, and 128 on the ground. By NFL standards that is about average across the board. Running back Jamaal Charles, led the team in receptions and yardage. That my friends is a problem. While he will continue to produce similar numbers being in Reids offense, a running back leading the team in receiving needs to be addressed. Dwayne Bowe had a down year. I think Bowe is a good receiver, but I just do not see him as a #1 wideout. Bowe is a weapon, but lacks the speed and separation the Chiefs so desperately need. A true #1 receiver does it all. Priority one of the offense is to add a play making wide receiver. We cannot settle with 208 passing yards per game in this era. We have to get faster on the outside. The top 5 free agents in my opinion are: Jeremy Maclin, Riley Cooper, Anquan Boldin, James Jones, and Eric Decker. I believe the choice should be Maclin. Otherwise wait until the draft. He has the skills and is a perfect fit for the Chiefs. If healthy, he is the only #1 receiver available in free agency. If it is not him I continue to believe the Chiefs will be drafting a wide receiver in the first round. They could use another tight end, but I do not see them landing Jimmy Graham. Signing someone like the injury prone, Jermichael Finley is a stretch. If they get him cheap and he is healthy, it is worth the risk. Finley has the right skill set, but this position will probably be addressed in the draft. In order of need it would be wide receiver, and an athletic tight end.
Kansas City’s defense was the tale of two halves. I believe the defense that we saw in the first half was fraudulent. Our second half defense, including the monumental playoff collapse is a more honest picture of the squad we have. Needless to say, there are several good players on the defensive side including six Pro-Bowlers. Our true defense was first exposed vs. San Diego at Arrowhead, a 41-38 loss. Hit with the loss of Tamba Hali and Justin Houston, our defense applied no pressure and the secondary looked bad. Good secondary play starts with good pressure. The second half of the season, consistent pressure on the quarterback became almost non existent. Free agents that can get after the quarterback are limited. The few big names available will demand big money. If they sign a free agent it will be for depth. They have Houston to sign shortly and Hali is signed for years to come. Cornerback and Safety are also needs, look for the Chiefs to add both of them. There are guys like Aqib Talib, Sam Shields, Charles Tillman, and Vonte Davis at corner. Any one of these players could come in to make a veteran impact on this team. Talib being the biggest stretch because of the money. Keep in mind the draft is very deep at corner, which may be an area they are looking to address there. In free agency there are several safeties available but only one that stands out, Jairus Byrd. Byrd is a free safety that you can immediately put in to fill an empty spot. He can play free safety allowing Eric Berry to stay at strong safety. Kendrick Lewis, was almost non existent last year so I personally see anything John Dorsey does with that position as an upgrade. I believe this spot to be the number one defensive need. Byrd is the best fit in free agency, if not him they will look to the draft. In order of need here I would say safety, cornerback, pass rush depth.
Of course you are always trying to add depth to your team and play makers across the board. Offensively and defensively these areas are the most important needs for the Chiefs. It is vital to add these positions of wide receiver, tight end, safety, cornerback, and pass rush. With the talent the Chiefs currently have this is not insurmountable to do in one offseason. After watching what the Seahawks did to the Broncos in Super Bowl 48 it is clear to me the defense needs to be heavily addressed by the Chiefs this offseason. It is more important now than ever that the Chiefs put this puzzle together before their 10 Pro Bowlers are no longer in their prime. Free agency is the next step in the process, then it’s off to the draft.
Get at me on Twitter @KC_Hindo