The Kansas City Chiefs have already addressed the weakest link on the team in impressive fashion by bringing in Eric Winston, formerly of the Houston Texans, to play right tackle. Replacing Barry RIchardson, WInston also likely replaces many mock draft choices that had the Chiefs taking Riley Reiff of Iowa or Jonathan Martin of Stanford as tackle prospects.
Now the attention seems to be switching sides but staying in the trenches, as the next hole on the roster most likely to be taken care of is the defensive line. The team has already re-signed Amon Gordon to a two-year contract to keep some depth along the line, but there’s a definite hole at defensive tackle that still remains.
The team invested a late-round pick on developmental tackle Jerrell Powe in the 2011 NFL Draft that the team hopes will pan out. Powe was kept off the field in every game except one and he logged zero total stats in 2011. Being able to learn behind Kelly Gregg was likely a helpful experience, but being placed in game-time situations will help more than anything and Powe simply cannot be counted on for major minutes just yet.
Instead, the Chiefs will likely lose Gregg as well and simply have no one else capable of filling in. Personnel will shift along the line depending on the package, so other guys will man the middle from time to time, but what the Chiefs lack is that front line presence that they can anchor like many playoff teams have, i.e. Vince Wilfork of the Pats or Casey Hampton of the Steelers.
In his latest mock, Wes Bunting of the National Football Post has the Chiefs changing their mind about offensive tackle and switching in the same way. Michael Brockers is the choice for the Chiefs at No. 11 in the first round, a big defensive tackle from LSU, the college du jour of the Chiefs defensive line since they already drafted Glenn Dorsey and Tyson Jackson from the same school.
Bunting writes, “Brockers is as talented as any defensive lineman in the draft and is capable of maturing into a real game changer up front. He’s got the ability to play all over the Chiefs defensive line early and offers them a lot of versatility in their 34 front.”
Bunting loves Brockers’ size at 6-6, 306 lbs and lists him as the best overall tackle in the draft class of 2012. Overall, he admits he’s a rawer prospect than what some might like at this level of the draft, but the possibilities are there for good things. In his scouting report, Bunting writes:
He might be a little raw and could have used some more work at the college level. However, he’s an NFL talent with “plus” upside but can also come in and play vs. the run at a high level right away. Should get looks at both the three and five-technique spots and in my mind has the ability to become one of the better defensive lineman in the NFL down the line.
In this mock, Brockers is the second defensive tackle off the board, and it’s likely to disappoint the Chiefs that the Carolina Panthers would take the first one in Dontari Poe. Poe has been connected to the Chiefs at No. 11 in several mock drafts outside of Bunting’s so it’s clear that the new thought is that the Chiefs will address the line.
Checking out the latest mock from Mocking the Draft shows that Dan Kadar is thinking the same thing, giving Poe to the Chiefs. While it’s a different prospect, Brockers and Poe usually flip-flop from draft to draft.
Kadar writes, “If there is one thing head coach Romeo Crennel loves, it’s size on the defensive line. With Kelly Gregg near retirement and coming off injury, Crennel could view Poe as the nose tackle of the future. Poe may remind the hulking Poe of Ted Washington, a player who followed him from New England to Cleveland.”
Either way, the Chiefs are now believed to be most interested in bolstering that defensive interior to allow linebackers to make plays. Given the state of the Chiefs linebacking corps, the more Tamba Hali, Derrick Johnson and Justin Houston can come in and do what they do best, the Chiefs’ defense will continue to rise.
For more on the Chiefs and the upcoming draft, check out Arrowhead Pride.