The latest mock draft is out from the National Football Post's Russ Lande, and the Kansas City Chiefs might be taking a familiar position in the first round if Lande is prophetic in any way. Star Lotulelei is the player he has heading to the Chiefs as the No. 1 overall selection in the 2013 NFL Draft, and it would be yet another d-lineman taken by a team that's filled with former first rounders already.
The Chiefs already selected Glenn Dorsey, Tyson Jackson and Dontari Poe in recent years in the NFL Draft, but Lotulelei is a clear talent who warrants such a top selection. The entire draft approach will, of course, depend upon who is in power at the time. Will Scott Pioli still be making the draft calls? Will another person take charge like the rumors of Bill Polian that have swirled in the last week? It will make all the difference in a draft like this.
The reason is that the Chiefs currently run a 3-4 base scheme. If the team was to transition out of that back into a 4-3, for example, then adding another beefy defensive lineman who is versatile could make a huge difference. Lotulelei brings some pass rush ability as well and could make the Chiefs' defensive front that much more formidable.
Lande notes this when he writes, "The Chiefs have many needs, but with no quarterback clearly worth the first overall pick they grab Lotulelei. He will start at defensive end if they continue to play a 34 defense in 2013 or defensive tackle next to Dontari Poe if they switch back to a 43 scheme."
The Chiefs have decisions to make with Tyson Jackson's monster salary amount of $14.7 million coming due in 2013 as well as Glenn Dorsey's impending free agency. Even after an injury-filled season, will the Chiefs let Dorsey walk for nothing like they did Brandon Carr last season? Dontari Poe is coming into his second season of development, so creating chemistry and building depth along a young line will be key for the Chiefs' ability to mvoe forward.
In addition, the loss of Jovan Belcher creates a hole in the middle linebacker slot. If the Chiefs were to change schemes to a 4-3, the Chiefs would automatically have their starting three with Tamba Hali, Derrick Johnson and Justin Houston in the middle while having another dynamic addition along the front line in Lotulelei. As great as the quarterback problems are, addressing the defensive line with another playmaker is not so far-fetched.
Still it's unlikely this really happens. After all, the Chiefs have been miserable all season at quarterback and that's the second straight year. Ownership simply cannot allow the team to continue to play with middling results at the most important position on the field. But if they can get their man a bit later in the draft, then Lotulelei is a great value pick at the top for a team that needs instant results on both sides of the ball.