Let's be honest from the outset: any talk about NFL free agency at this point isn't a given. And even when it happens, if at all, it will most likely look a bit different than what we're used to. However, that doesn't stop the diehard fans and sportswriters from discussing such things, and Mel Kiper has apparently gotten bored of looking only at prospects, as his latest "audit" series of columns focuses on what's coming up next for each team as they enter free agency.
For the Chiefs, Kiper again praises the Kansas City Chiefs draft class for the most part. He can understand the Jonathan Baldwin pick and he particularly liked the Rodney Hudson, Allen Bailey and Justin Houston selections. But Kiper also believes the Chiefs will go after experienced help in the exact same areas that they selected in the draft -- wide receiver, pass rushing linebacker and nose tackle.
Those are probably solid opinions given the lack of an official off-season to get these rookies up to speed. No matter how often Baldwin is hanging out with Matt Cassel, nothing beats the conditioning and coaching that happens at OTAs. A full training camp would certainly help bring projects like Bailey and Houston into the fold and teach them the ways of Todd Haley and company. And even Haley himself could use a full camp to see what pieces he's working with as he calls plays with influence from Jim Zorn.
Thus it's likely that the team cannot count on any players like Baldwin or Jerrell Powe early and even once they're into the rhythm, the longer season might have them winded. I disagree with Kiper about a pass rushing linebacker -- even Houston's critics agree that he'll have immediate success in the NFL with his speed rush off the edge. With Wallace Gilberry and Andy Studebaker already in place, I just don't see the need for a veteran pass rusher at this point -- especially with Mike Vrabel still possibly around in some fashion. Too many roster spots are already spoken for.
In response to Kiper's piece, I would say that he's right to expect the Chiefs to look for veteran receiver help -- possibly at two positions. They could use a slot receiver, especially since Haley said Dexter McCluster is going to run more. They could also use a veteran to stretch the field until Baldwin is ready. Then again, that moves Baldwin to special teams and I'm not certain he's such a player. But the Chiefs need to stretch the field from Week 1, so the best case scenario is that Baldwin works hard and is used wisely from the outset.