Most of the national narrative about the Chiefs is how great of a roster John Dorsey and Andy Reid inherited from Scott Pioli and how a good coach and a stable quarterback could lead this team to a wild card spot in the NFL playoffs. This sounds nice, and grows more convincing once the “six pro bowlers” stat is thrown out.
Well consider this nugget dropped casually by Randy Covitz today in the Kansas City Star: Of the 90 players currently on the Chiefs roster, 53 are new to the organization this season.
53 of 90.
This means only 37 players were with the Chiefs last season. If all 37 of those players make the 53-man roster, that would mean a 30-percent turnover in the roster. At that’s a bare minimum. How surprised would you be if Neiko Thorpe or Tysyn Hartman were cut? How about Edgar Jones? Terrance Copper or Jamar Newsome?
By the time the Chiefs arrive in Jacksonville for week one of the season it wouldn’t be surprising to see 40 to 50 percent of the roster completely turned over from last year. How good of a roster was it if half the roster was replaceable? And it is not like it is just the bottom of the roster. As we’ve discussed before, the Chiefs could see seven to 11 new starters next season.
Part of the reason why there were so many expendable pieces for Dorsey and Reid to let go is because of how poor many of the drafts under Scott Pioli were in his four-year tenure. Here are Pioli’s 32 draft picks as Chiefs general manager and where they are now.
Of Pioli’s 32 draft picks, a full dozen are no longer with the Kansas City Chiefs. Many of those are currently not on a NFL roster.
Notable names include Arenas who was recently traded to Arizona. What makes him so special is he was selected with the draft pick the Chiefs received from the Atlanta Falcons for Tony Gonzalez. Gonzalez is still producing at a high level for the Falcons while Arenas is on to his second club. Not the best of picks there, Scott.
Another thing to notice is six of the KC’s eight draft picks from 2009, Pioli’s first draft, are no longer with the Chiefs. The first draft in a general manager’s tenure is very critical towards whether or not said general manager will still have a job three or four years later. Well by this time next year the only player remaining from that draft in Kansas City may be Ryan Succop.
HANGING AROUND THE EXIT SIGN
2012 Draft: Junior Hemingway (7th Round)
A certain cut for this season would be Stanzi, who will likely be replaced in the roster by Tyler Bray. If this is the case that would mean 40 percent of Pioli’s draft picks will no longer be with the Chiefs. If all three are released then 15 of Pioli’s 32 picks will no longer be Chiefs, amounting to nearly half of Pioli’s draft class.
2009 Draft: Tyson Jackson (1st Round)
2012 Draft: Cyrus Gray (6th Round)
It is difficult to figure out what the future holds for these seven players.
Former third overall 2009 pick Tyson Jackson had to take a massive pay-cut in order to remain on the roster, and he may be out of football shortly if he doesn’t prove something soon. There are some who feel like they saw improvement from Jackson last season and feel like he hasn’t been used correctly in his time in Kansas City. This may be true – I hope it is true, anyway – but a $10 million pay-cut isn’t necessarily a ringing vote of confidence for what the Chiefs think of him right now.
2011 first round pick Baldwin is entering his third year in the NFL and has to show something now or else his career may be over prematurely.
McCluster and Moeaki have to find a way to stay on the field and produce if they are going to land a second contract with Kansas City. In Moeaki’s case, the Chiefs signed Anthony Fasano in free agency and then used their second pick in the draft to select Travis Kelce. This isn’t a very big vote of confidence for Moeaki, but to be fair the position has literally nothing behind Moeaki once Dorsey took over in January.
Gray is in a roster battle with Shaun Draughn for the third running back spot. Gray is said to have more talent but his injury issues may keep him off the roster given how fragile 2013 third round draft pick Knile Davis has proven to be in his career.
Allen Bailey and Jerrell Powe will each be rotational players this season in Kansas City. Both could easily be gone after the 2013 season given that defensive line is considered to be the thinnest position group on the team outside of wide receiver.
2011 Draft: Rodney Hudson (2nd Round)
Injuries and lack of playing time make these three players hard to figure out. Hudson is scheduled to be the team’s starting center this season after breaking his leg last year.
Stephenson was apparently considered highly enough to float Branden Albert around as trade bait. He played will in Albert’s absence last season. Jeff Allen was solid in his time starting last season but he may be replaced by Geoff Schwartz.
Leg injuries kept Wylie off the field in his rookie season. His striking similarities to McCluster leads one to think one of them could be expendable after this season.
2009 Draft: Ryan Succop (7th Round)
2012 Draft: Dontari Poe (1st Round)
Other than Moeaki and Jackson, these are the first group of players who have prominent starting roles with the Chiefs. Baldwin and McCluster have started but they have not been the full-time starters that each of these players have been.
Poe could easily be in the “Who Knows” list and probably should be, but I’m high enough on him to include him here. He showed continued improvement as the season went all last year and should fit in well to the more aggressive scheme being installed this season. Joel talked about him over the weekend.
Ryan Succop isn’t a great kicker but he is very solid and consistent. KC could do worse.
Jon Asamoah was very good last season on the right side and should only get better with number one overall pick Eric Fisher playing next to him.
Lewis is a solid safety would rank higher with me if he could stay healthy. Eric Berry seems to play better when Lewis is back there with him.
TOP 10 CHIEFS PLAYER
2010 Draft: Eric Berry (1st Round)
2011 Draft: Justin Houston (3rd Round)
Of the 32 draft picks made by Pioli, these are the only two players who could end up being here for a decade.
To sum up, 40 percent of Pioli’s draft picks will not be with the team once the 2013 season kickoff and it would be surprising to see that number grow significantly higher by the time 2014 roles around.
Outside of the 2010 draft, Pioli produce almost nothing in terms of starting players and major contributors.
2010 Draft: Eric Berry, Dexter McCluster, Jon Asamoah, Tony Moeaki, Kendrick Lewis.
Other Three Drafts: Tyson Jackson, Ryan Succop, Justin Houston, Rodney Hudson, Dontari Poe, Jeff Allen.
And of those, only two of those players have proven to be worthy of a second contract, though is should be noted that Succop is already on his second contract. Poe still has potential and Allen could start this year but the unknowns prevent them from ranking much higher.
If you want to understand why the Chiefs were 2-14 last year – aside from quarterback play and coaching – it was because the roster wasn’t as good as everyone would have you believe. And given that almost half the roster is about to be overturned, John Dorsey must agree.