Chiefs Pre-Draft Roster Review and Needs: Offense

Posted Apr 24, 2012

A position-by-position look at the Chiefs offense heading into the 2012 NFL Draft

Related: Pre-Draft Defensive Review

With needs on the offensive and defensive lines, predicting an “ugly” 2012 Draft for the Chiefs is a popular opinion.

And by “ugly,” I mean the first few rounds filled with the “big uglies” – offensive and defensive linemen.

Of course, that’s been the general consensus surrounding GM Scott Pioli’s three drafts with the team and it’s held partially true. Even though the Chiefs have made just one lineman a first-round selection (DE Tyson Jackson) since 2009, nearly half of the team’s first through third round picks have pegged a big body.

What does this year’s draft hold in store? Let’s take a look at the Chiefs roster and draft needs heading into this week’s NFL Draft, this time focusing on the offensive side of the football.

Position: Quarterback

Recent Additions: The Chiefs signed veteran Brady Quinn to a one-year deal, re-uniting the former first-round pick with his former head coach (Romeo Crennel) and offensive coordinator (Brian Daboll). Quinn is expected to compete for the primary backup job to starter Matt Cassel.

Key Contracts: Cassel’s contract runs through the 2014 season, but much of his guaranteed money was front-loaded into the first three years of the deal he signed prior to the 2009 season.

Draft Needs: Scott Pioli set the media abuzz last week by saying it’s the Chiefs goal to draft a quarterback each year, but the philosophy is nothing new. Pioli has said this plenty of times before.

This year, the Chiefs approach to drafting quarterbacks gained more traction due to Cassel’s season-ending hand injury, the team’s offseason pursuit of Peyton Manning and the possibility of Ryan Tannehill landing with the team in this weekend’s draft.

Cassel will be the Chiefs starting quarterback in 2012. The question is if the Chiefs see a potential franchise quarterback come available when they're on the clock or want to add more immediate competition for the backup job.

Mock Chatter: Ryan Tannehill has had his time in the spotlight, but most assume he’ll be off the board by the time Kansas City selects 11th overall. If Tannehilll is still available at No. 11, this draft could get incredibly interesting when the Chiefs go on the clock.

Position: Running Back

Recent Additions: Kansas City signed veteran Peyton Hillis to a one-year deal, re-uniting the former Browns running back with offensive coordinator Brian Daboll. Hillis enjoyed the most productive season of the four-year NFL career working with Daboll in 2010 and looks poised to get his fair share of carries in 2012.

Key Contracts: Outside of Hillis’ one-year deal, the Chiefs running backs are locked up for the future. Jamaal Charles is under contract through 2015 after signing a six-year extension in 2010 and Dexter McCluster’s rookie contract runs until 2014.

Draft Needs: There is room for addition in the Chiefs backfield, but the player will need to factor on special teams. The Chiefs went with four running backs last season and used Jackie Battle as a core-four special teamer. Battle continued to cover kicks even when his offensive role expanded because of injury.

Adding a fullback in the late rounds is also a possibility. Shane Bannon is currently the only fullback on the Chiefs roster.

Mock Chatter: Robert Turbin out of Utah State is a popular middle-to-late round name that gets thrown around. Kansas City’s current backfield situation seems to favor the possibility of adding a bigger running back.

Position: Wide Receiver

Recent Additions: Zeke Markshausen, who spent one week on the Chiefs practice squad last season and went to training camp with the team in 2011, has been the only offseason addition at wide receiver.

Key Contracts: Dwayne Bowe has yet to sign his one-year franchise tender. Of course, the bigger question surrounds Bowe and the possibility of a long-term contract. He’ll become an unrestricted free agent in 2013 if he doesn’t sign a new deal.

Draft Needs: The Chiefs have what they hope to be effective options at 1-2-3 with Bowe, Breaston and Baldwin. But who secures the No. 4 job? Who is the leading candidate to step-up and see an expanded role if one of the top-three isn’t available? Who can be groomed into a future starter?

Kansas City shuffled through reserve options last season, particularly at the slot . Adding a receiver at any point in the draft shouldn’t come as a surprise.

Mock Chatter: Most seven-round mock drafts include a receiver in the cards for the Chiefs somewhere between the fourth and seventh round, but Mike Mayock of the NFL Network recently hinted at the Chiefs targeting a wide receiver in the earlier rounds.

One of the most popular names tied to the Chiefs includes Iowa’s Marvin McNutt.

Position: Tight End

Recent Additions: Kansas City added veteran Kevin Boss to a three-year deal shortly after Oakland made the 28-year old a salary cap casualty last month. Boss gives the Chiefs insurance should Tony Moeaki suffer another injury setback. If Moeaki is healthy, the presence of Boss should expand alignment and matchup options when the Chiefs go with two tight end sets.

Key Contracts: Moeaki’s rookie deal runs through 2013.

Draft Needs: The need at tight end saw a significant decrease when the Chiefs added Boss. However, Moeaki’s injury history could entice the team to select a tight end if the value is too good to pass.

Mock Chatter: Local guys generate the most buzz – Michael Egnew out of Missouri and former metro prep standout Drake Dunsmore of Northwestern.

Position: Offensive Line

Recent Additions: The unexpected release and addition of Houston right tackle Eric Winston not only filled the Chiefs greatest free agency need, but also expanded the team’s options at the top of the draft. With a thin free agent market, the Chiefs would have likely had to address tackle in the first round prior to Winton’s arrival.

Key Contracts: Branden Albert and Ryan Lilja both enter the final year of their contracts in 2012.

Draft Needs: Even with the addition of Winston, offensive line still ranks high on the Chiefs list of needs – both on the interior and exterior. There is little experience backing up any of the five players currently projected into starting roles.

With expiring contracts on the horizon and the need for swing players at tackle and guard/center, Kansas City could select offensive linemen early and often in this year’s draft.

Mock Chatter: Stanford guard David DeCastro is a favorite of both fans and mock drafts. His addition would provide the Chiefs with plenty of pairing options along the interior offensive front. He’s currently the leading vote-getter in’s Draft Challenge.

At tackle, Iowa’s Riley Reiff draws chatter because of Kansas City’s connections to the Hawkeye program. Ohio State’s Mike Adams, Stanford’s Jonathan Martin and Florida State’s Zebrie Sanders were all common names mocked to Kansas City prior to the Senior Bowl and NFL Combine.

Position: Kicker

Recent Additions: None.

Key Contracts: Ryan Succop signed a six-year contract extension in December, locking up his status as the team’s kicker for the long haul.

Draft Needs: The Chiefs toyed with the idea of using a kickoff specialist last season and even brought one to training camp, claiming Todd Carter off waivers from St. Louis. Ultimately, the Chiefs stuck with just one kicker and Succop responded by finishing inside the NFL’s top-10 in touchback percentage (55.4%).

If the Chiefs bring in another lookie-lou, it won’t come via the draft.

Mock Chatter: None.

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