Will the Kansas City Chiefs consider an offensive tackle in the first round of the 2011 NFL draft?
Unfortunately we don't have a window into what GM Scott Pioli is thinking right now but there are reasons to think offensive tackle is high on the priority list. From 2009 to 2010, Matt Cassel's sacks went down and his overall performance went up so logically you would think the offensive tackle situation -- Brandon Albert on the left side and Barry Richardson on the right side -- wouldn't be a problem.
The numbers, though, suggest a different story. Pro Football Focus looked at the Chiefs needs heading into the draft and this part caught my eye:
You only need to look at Cassel when faced with pressure (his completion percentage drops by 20.9%, yards per attempt drops by 1.8 yards and his TD to interception ratio falls from 20:5 to 7:5.) So having Brandon Albert continually struggle at left tackle (-9.9 pass blocking rating) and Barry Richardson not impressing at right tackle (-13.8 pass blocking rating) isn't part of a formula that will see Cassel succeed.
The most important player on the field for almost every NFL team is the quarterback. In my mind, you do whatever it takes to make your quarterback successful and then worry about the rest of your team.
The stats provided by Pro Football Focus suggest the Chiefs still have a little bit of work to do in giving Cassel everything he needs to be successful.
I don't think the Chiefs need to get rid of either Albert or Richardson. Both players have value. What I would think about doing is drafting a right tackle -- Wisconsin OT Gabe Carimi comes to mind -- and replacing Richardson. However, I think Richardson still has a spot on the team because he's a solid swing tackle.
The Chiefs can go in a number of different directions next Thursday night but in the interest of continuing Matt Cassel's progression, perhaps they should take a long, hard look at offensive tackle.