Chiefs continue to beef-up on draft's second day

Posted Apr 27, 2012

Kansas City addresses offensive line with versatile players in rounds two and three

Chiefs GM Scott Pioli believes his team has gotten bigger, faster, stronger and tougher over the first three rounds of the 2012 NFL Draft.

Emphasis on bigger.

Kansas City’s first three draft picks weigh a combined 959 pounds after the team added offensive tackles Jeff Allen (pictured) and Donald Stephenson Friday night. Previously, Kansas City had selected 346-pound nose tackle Dontari Poe 11th overall.

“It’s funny,” Pioli said following Friday’s third round. “Romeo (Crennel) and I, we were laughing upstairs because we’re two guys, I love linemen, he loves linemen and Clark [Hunt] made a joke as we were finishing up here, he made a comment and said, ‘So how many linemen are we drafting tomorrow?’

“I said, ‘Offensive or defensive?’”

Each of the 300-plus pounders filled significant team needs heading into draft weekend.

A starter at nose tackle was without question the Chiefs biggest question mark heading into the draft. Not far behind was depth and competition across the offensive line.

The Chiefs entered this year’s draft with almost no experience among the players slated to backup the projected starting five on the offensive front.

David Mims, who joined the team as an undrafted project out of Virginia Union last season, was the team’s only reserve tackle after Steve Maneri made the shift to tight end. Mims was promoted to the active roster late last year, but has yet to see his first NFL snap.

On the interior, veterans Rob Bruggeman and Darryl Harris entered draft weekend serving as the primary backups to all three positions. Both players entered the NFL in 2009, but have appeared in just two games combined.

Add in both left tackle Branden Albert and left guard Ryan Lilja heading into a contract years and its clear why the Chiefs went heavy on offensive linemen in the second and third rounds.

“I think we’ll be creating depth,” Pioli said. “We feel that we’re finally in a spot where we’re creating quality depth. We hope that it’s Branden Albert and Eric Winston (as starters at tackle). That’s what we expect, and that’s what we hope. These players that we drafted are quite aware of that as well.”

A run on offensive linemen began shortly before the Chiefs choice in the second round. Three of the four picks preceding Kansas City’s selection were used on offensive tackles.

Pioli was looking for versatility when Amini Silatolu of Midwestern State went to the Panthers, Georgia’s Cordy Glenn went to the Bills and Stanford’s Jonathan Martin was selected by the Dolphins.

“We started talking to people about possibly moving up because we knew we wanted Jeff Allen,” Pioli said. “Then tackles started going and we were saying, ‘OK, he’s going to go at some point in time,’ but we saw some of the prices that people were asking and it was like, ‘Whoa, wait a second here. Yesterday there were people moving in the first round not even looking for that.’

“So, we had some conversations about possibly moving up, then when we were on the clock, we got a couple of calls. I didn’t even pick up the phone the pick where we took Jeff.”

Allen is likely to begin his Chiefs career at guard where he’ll push Lilja and former University of Illinois teammate Jon Asamoah for playing time, but Pioli also wouldn’t rule Allen out as a possible tackle.

“They see me as a guy that can come in as a versatile guy, that can play anything on the line, a guy they can plug in,” Allen said.

Allen started 47 consecutive games at right and left tackle for Illinois, but never played guard. It’s a similar situation to Rodney Hudson, last year’s second-round pick who’s slated to start at center after earning All-America honors as a guard at Florida State.

“I think I’m comfortable enough to play (guard) at a high level,” Allen said. “The difference with guard is that you have to be less patient. I learned that at the Senior Bowl, and I just want to continue to get better at that position as well.”

The Chiefs view Stephenson as potential swing tackle who could push for time as the primary backup to Albert and Winston next season.

“Donald Stephenson is still a guy that has only started two years at Oklahoma, and he has the ability to play both left and right tackle,” Pioli said. “He is not as advanced as Jeff is and doesn’t have as much experience. That’s obviously why we took Jeff before Donald.

“We want to have depth. But to answer the question, we don’t expect them to come in and beat guys out right away, but they’ll be coming in and competing against other tackles.”

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