When it was announced last weekend that former Houston Texans right tackle, Eric Winston, had signed with the Kansas City Chiefs on a new four-year deal, only one thing came to mind. The Chiefs now have no reason not to take Stanford guard David DeCastro with the No. 11 overall pick in the upcoming draft.
The Chiefs have made it clear during this off-season that upgrading the offensive side of the ball through free agency was a priority. They have done that by adding former Cleveland Browns running back Peyton Hills, former Oakland Raiders tight end Kevin Boss, and finally Winston at right tackle. Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli said back in January that upgrading the offensive line was going to be a priority this off-season. Well, after the Winston signing I think there is one more big move he can make to solidify that line for the next several years.
DeCastro is unarguably the best guard prospect in this year's draft. The standout from Stanford stands at 6'5" and 312 pounds, and is every bit as physical as he is athletic. He has a rare combination of speed and power, and when you combine that with almost flawless technique, there's a reason he's been getting all this attention.
Wes Bunting from the National Football Post has projected DeCastro to the Chiefs in his newest mock draft. He talks a little bit about what he likes about DeCastro specifically. Via National Football Post:
Impression: The best offensive line prospect I've evaluated since Maurkice Pouncey in 2010. He showcases the ability to get a push in-line and is a dominant move player as well. He's fluid/natural in pass protection and with a little more power in his base he's got the skill set to become one of the leagues best guards early in his NFL career.
The Kansas City Chiefs will head into the 2012 season with Matt Cassel as the starting quarterback. They have made a concerted effort with these free-agent moves to try and make things as easy on Cassel as they possibly can. They took the biggest weakness on the offense (and quite possibly the biggest weakness on the entire team), right tackle, and they've made it a strength.
Eric Winston is a solid run-blocking right tackle that also excels in pass protection, and will hold down the right side of the offensive line for Cassel and the team's running backs. The addition of Boss and Hillis provide quality depth at two very important pieces in the offense for Cassel. Boss is a superb blocker that will provide scheme versatility each week as the Chiefs gameplan against their opponents, and Hillis provides a secondary option at running back for Jamaal Charles, who needs someone to share the workload with each week.
Boss gives the Chiefs two solid tight ends as he pairs with Tony Moeaki, who's coming off a season-ending knee injury last year, although he seems to be on-schedule in his rehab. But with two useful tight ends there are several formations that the Chiefs could run with Boss and Moeaki on the field at the same time. Combine that with a guy like Dexter McCluster and you have a lot of defensive coordinators that will struggle to plan against the Chiefs each week.
While Boss, Moeaki, McCluster, along with the trio of Jon Baldwin, Steve Breaston and Dwayne Bowe, provide excellent targets for Cassel in the passing game, this team's bread and butter will still be pounding the rock. But that becomes much easier when you have a dominant offensive line, which most Chiefs fans can appreciate from the days of Willie Roaf and Will Shields. The addition of Eric Winston already provides a huge upgrade for this group moving forward, but it's still unclear how well Rodney Hudson will do as he takes over for veteran center Casey Wiegmann.
With Branden Albert, David DeCastro, Rodney Hudson, Jon Asamoah and Eric Winston, you're looking at one of the best offensive lines in the NFL heading into next year -- and by re-signing Albert, you can have this group together for the next half-decade. When people say that continuity is key in building the trenches, they should not have to look farther than the opportunity that the Chiefs have in this April's draft.
Our bread and butter is running the football, and that is predicated upon the talent you have in the beef up front. There's no reason to mess around when we have the perfect opportunity to combine best player available and need in this draft. The National Football Post has DeCastro as No. 3 on their big board of players, and he'll most likely be available when the Chiefs pick at No. 11. Let's just take him and not worry about starters on the offensive line for a while.
For more on the Chiefs and the upcoming draft, check out Arrowhead Pride.