KCCD Staff Writer: Adam Simone
Senior Bowl week is wrapped up, and were slowly approaching draft day. The Kansas City Chiefs have the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft, and they have a good chance of adding enough playmakers to make this team competitive in 2013.
Today I’m going to look back on the 2012 season using Pro Football Focus and their premium stats and examine the Chiefs biggest weaknesses. Keep in mind it’s still early and a lot could change once free agency starts in March.
No surprise here that Quarterback was the Chiefs biggest weakness during the 2012 season. Matt Cassel finished with a rating of -4.9 and Brady Quinn had a -12.8 rating. Cassel and Quinn combined to throw only 8 touchdown passes and 20 interceptions. Cassel’s 66.7 QB Rating led the Chiefs but finished 36th in the NFL among quarterbacks that took at least 25% of their team’s snaps.
Solution: Anything and Everything. I’m fine with keeping Cassel on the team as long as it’s as a backup, but the Chiefs clearly need to hit the quarterback position hard and attack it at several different angles. Joe Flacco is the biggest name in the Free Agent market but there is no way the Ravens let Flacco walk. Matt Moore is another quarterback that I would take a look at, but I don’t think he’s much of an upgrade over Matt Cassel.
In 2011, Moore had an 87.1 QB Rating and threw 16 touchdown passes and 9 interceptions. Making a trade for Alex Smith or Matt Flynn has also been discussed.
Another option for the Chiefs is to draft a quarterback. Everyone keeps saying there isn’t a quarterback worth taking with the No. 1 overall pick, but if the Chiefs wait until the 2nd Round then it’s likely that their top choice will have already been selected. I’m going to hit the film hard next week beginning with the quarterback position, but as of now Geno Smith is my top quarterback in this year’s draft. If the Chiefs decide not to select a quarterback with their 1st Round pick, then picking a guy like Tyler Bray or Zac Dysert in the 2nd or 3rd Round could be another option.
Either way, the Chiefs can’t be afraid to attack this position in the offseason and I would not be against them using all three methods to do so.
2. 3-4 Defensive End:
It sounds like the Chiefs will stick with the 3-4 defense, which means defensive end is another position the Chiefs should look to upgrade. Glenn Dorsey is a free agent this offseason and I doubt the Chiefs re-sign him. That leaves Ropati Pitoitua who had a PFF grade of -4.8 and Tyson Jackson who had an even worse grade of -9.5. Both Pitoitua and Jackson were decent against the run, but both struggled mightily in pass rush opportunities. They combined for 13 total pressures in 498 combined snaps. They also finished ranked 30th and 31st among 3-4 Defensive Ends in PRP (Pass Rushing Productivity).
Solution: Not a lot of good options here in free agency. Baltimore’s Arthur Jones who had a 2.4 rating in 536 snaps this season is a restricted free agent and Mike DeVito of the New York Jets is another option. Jones had a PRP of 9.5 which ranked 2nd among 3-4 Defensive Ends and he had 28 total pressures in 234 pass rush snaps. DeVito finished the 2012 season with a 9.8 rating according to PFF and had 52 total tackles. The Chiefs new Defensive Coordinator, Bob Sutton, was a defensive coach for the Jets for the past 13 years so he’s very familiar with DeVito. They could also sign a 4-3 Defensive Tackle and try to move him to defensive end, but that transition doesn’t always go smoothly.
Margus Hunt (6-8, 277) is one player I would look at drafting early, but I don’t think he makes it out of the first two rounds. Hunt is a freak size wise, measuring in at just under 6-8 at the Senior Bowl and has room to gain a few pounds. Size wise he compares to Calais Campbell of the Arizona Cardinals but he’s much quicker. Some have compared him to Jason Pierre-Paul, but I’m not sure he will be as successful of a pass rusher as JPP.
3. Wide Receiver:
Dwayne Bowe helped out these numbers in 2012 finishing with a PFF grade of 8.5 but there is no guarantee that Bowe will be back for 2013. If Bowe is allowed to walk, then the Chiefs receiving core is going to be in need of a lot of help. Jonathan Baldwin has been a major bust so far, finishing 2012 with just 20 receptions and 325 yards. Baldwin was targeted 46 times, but was only able to make a reception on 43.5% of those targets. Dexter McCluster was the 2nd leading receiver for the Chiefs but he should not be anything more than a 4th or 5th option on a good team.
Solution: Wes Welker is the highest rated free agent receiver. Welker finished the 2012 season with a PFF grade of 14.1 but I have concerns how productive he will be in an offense not run by Tom Brady. Danny Amendola is also a free agent and is pretty comparable to Welker. I would assume the Rams would try to resign Amendola or franchise tag him due to Bradford’s connection with him. Mike Wallace is another big name free agent this off-season. Wallace did not grade out well according PFF but he did have 64 receptions for 838 yards and 8 touchdowns. Domenik Hixon might be another player worth taking a look at. Playing behind Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz, and the up-and-coming Rueben Randle, I would expect Hixon to try to find another team.
I think the 2013 NFL Draft is pretty deep at the wide receiver position as well. There isn’t a Calvin Johnson or Julio Jones in this year’s class so taking a receiver at No. 1 overall isn’t an option, but I do think receivers like Justin Hunter, Terrance Williams, Da’Rick Rogers and a multitude of others could be worth taking in the 2nd Round if they last that long.
I also like Markus Wheaton, Aaron Dobson, and Kansas State receiver Chris Harper if they last until the 3rd or 4th Round. If I was John Dorsey, I would definitely try to take a receiver in the 2nd or 3rd Round and try to add some depth at that position.