Current Roster Evaluation
I've seen a lot of posts stating vast overreactions to the state of the current roster. I've seen posts that state we need 3 new O-linemen, that we need 3 new WRs, and that we need 2 new safeties to go along with 2 or 3 new LBs, 2 new DTs and a new CB, a new RB and a new QB.
SO, basically, we don't have a SINGLE good player on this team. I think otherwise. So, I'm going to run down the roster and try to identify who stays, who goes and who currently on the roster can either keep their starting roles or step into a starting role. After this exercise and ensuing discussion, we should have a BETTER idea as to what positions ACTUALLY have to be filled thru free agency and the draft.
Let's start with the offense.
WR- Dwayne Bowe, Mark Bradley, Will Franklin, and Kevin Robinson
Dwayne Bowe is a legitimate #1 WR in the making and shouldn't be looked at as someone who needs to be replaced. He could very well turn into a #2 WR if the Chiefs get Boldin or Crabtree or Houshmandzadeh, but the Chiefs don't HAVE to go out and find that #1 WR. They would probably better served by finding a less expensive #2 WR. Mark Bradley was the #2 last season and he impressed a lot of people but he fell off dramatically during the second half of the season and could serve as a good #3 in the future. Will Franklin and Kevin Robinson still need time to develop as most late round WRs do and it's probably too soon to tell what they're going to become.
RB- Larry Johnson, Jamaal Charles, Kolby Smith, Jackie Battle
Who knows what the hell is going on with LJ. He's still talented enough to be a great back for a couple more seasons and would probably be more valuable to the team if the Chiefs kept him instead of trying to trade him. All the reasons we want to get rid of him are all the reasons why teams won't give us fair value in a trade. He serves the team better staying as the featured back. Jamaal Charles probably solidified his position as the 3rd down back and #2 back. Kolby Smith will serve this team well as the #3 back if one of the first two were to get hurt. Jackie Battle is probably going to find himself stuck on special teams or the practice squad.
TE- Tony Gonzalez, Brad Cottam, Michael Merritt, Jed Collins
Tony is staying. Again, his value to the team is more as a player than a trade chip. Chances are, he at the very least puts up an average Tony Gonzalez year. Brad Cottam gets another year to learn from TG before becoming the future at that position. The Chiefs are set at TE for the foreseeable future. Michael Merritt probably cost himself a roster spot "over a little weed." So look for the Chiefs to grab another TE at somepoint during the off season. I know NOTHING about Jed Collins. Perhaps he can step into Merritt's role on the team.
LT- Branden Albert, Herb Taylor, Andrew Carnahan
Branden Albert played beyond expectations for a rookie who missed the entire preseason. He has the talent to be the franchise's LT for the next decade or so. However, his versatility and college background gives the Chiefs to option to move him inside or to the other OT position and draft the best available LT at #3. Herb Taylor did enough during his time on the line this season to warrant a look at a starting spot somewhere on the line. I know nothing about Carnahan.
LG- Brian Waters, Wade Smith
Brian Waters is a Pro Bowl OG and will be back for at least another season and possibly two. The Chiefs should find a LG for the future at some point this off season or next. Wade Smith is a good backup guard and should have a roster spot locked down.
C- Rudy Niswanger, Wade Smith
Rudy Niswanger is too big for the C position. This position IS one of the positions on the line that should be upgraded this season. I'd expect the Chiefs to draft or sign a new Center. Wade Smith would probably lose his job as backup to Niswanger.
RG- Adrian Jones, Wade Smith, Tavares Washington
Another position that will change next season. Although, the replacement might be found on the current roster. I'd actually expect Niswanger to take a step to his right and fill this position. His size, build, and talent could be perfect for the guard spot. Wade Smith is a good backup and Washington is probably a non-factor.
RT- Damion McIntosh, Herb Taylor, Barry Richardson
This could actually be one of the deeper positions on the line. McIntosh really came on toward the end of the season and COULD keep his spot. Herb Talyor is knocking on the door and could push for a starting position. Barry Richardson was drafted last season with the thought in mind that HE could be the future at that position. Then, depending on what they want to do with Albert, HE could be at this spot to start the season. I'm not sure the Chiefs will be looking to bring in another player to compete here.
QB- Tyler Thigpen, Quinn Gray, Brodie Croyle, Damon Huard
Your guess is as good as mine here. If Pioli is as good of a talent evaluator as everyone says he is, he'll see that the value we'd have to give up for Cassel isn't nearly worth the difference between he and Thigpen. I doubt the Chiefs trade a pair of firsts for Cassel. Gray was a good back up and should be retained. Croyle would be a cheap, young and talented 3rd QB if no other QB were brought in to compete. Damon Huard probably doesn't have a spot next season.
LE- Tamba Hali, Wallace Gilberry, Turk McBride
Tamba Hali plays good at LE. I doubt they'll look to replace him. I can't see Turk McBride staying on the team. He just hasn't done enough. I know nothing about Gilberry.
LT- Tank Tyler, Alfonso Boone
Tank is developing nicely and I think the Chiefs got a steal in the 3rd, drafting this guy. Alfonso Boone is a good rotational player and he'll have a roster spot.
RT- Glenn Dorsey Ron Edwards, Derek Lokey
Everyone is freaking out about Dorsey and worrying that he could be Ryan Sims part Deux. That's not the case. Dorsey is going to be a great DT. The problem with him and Tyler going forward is that the Chiefs may not keep the 4-3 and that might spell doom for both players. Edwards is a good rotational player and should have a roster spot next season. I don't know much about Lokey other than he was above average at Texas.
RE- Jason Babin, Andy Studebaker, Brian Johnston
Jason Babin really surprised some people last season and may have won a roster spot going into next season. Although, I seriously doubt he'll be looked at as THE starting LDE. I don't know enough about Studebaker and Johnston to be able to give an informed opinion.
LOLB- Demarrio Williams, Curtis Gatewood
Williams needs to be a backup and the Chiefs need to fill their linebacking positions through free agency.
MLB- Pat Thomas Weston Dacus
ROLB- Derrick Johnson
Johnson is the only good LB the Chiefs have on their team. Since being drafted 15th overall, he has underachieved. This season is going to be a huge year for him as it pertains to his future as a Chief.
LCB- Brandon Carr, Pat Surtain, Maurice Leggett
Brandon Carr and Maurice Leggett did enough last season to be considered for a starting position next season. Look for Pat Surtain to be released.
RCB- Brandon Flowers
Starter.... for a WHILE
SS- Bernard Pollard, DaJuan Morgan
Personally, I like Pollard. His mistakes seem to be basic. If he can figure out how to wrap up, I think we've got a SS for a long time.
FS- Jarrad Page, DaJuan Morgan, Jon McGraw
I wouldn't be surprised to see Page come back. But, I also wouldn't be surprised to see Morgan become the new FS.
The way I see it, the Chiefs NEED only a few players from free agency and the draft, while any other players they bring in would be considered upgrades and would render the players they replace as depth... WHICH IS A GOOD THING!!
This is how I see the roster:
FA/D= Free Agent/Draft
WR- Bowe, FA/D, Bradley
LT-Albert or D
LDE-Tamba Hali/Jason Babin
So, as far as in players the Chiefs NEED to bring in, they really just NEED five players to complete the starting squad (excluding depth). We need a RDE, ROLB, MLB, #2 WR and a Center. The rest of the team CAN be filled through players already on the team.