There is a Shift Afoot in KC

Willie Lanier & Scott Pioli

When news spread on Wednesday that the Kansas City Chiefs had signed two more draft picks, Jeff Allen and DeQuan Menzie, that left only a pair of draftees from the teams most recent class without a contract. And that tells me things are changing within the Kingdom.

When General Manager Scott Pioli arrived in Kansas City three years ago the praise from around the NFL was in unison. He was a can't miss hire by Chiefs Chairman, Clark Hunt.

As Pioli heads into his fourth year in Kansas City, he's very quietly built a roster that arguably from 1-53 is the best in the AFC West. And if there was anyone who didn't think that Pioli, who does have pressure to succeed in 2012, isn't serious about winning, they better wise up.

And that became clear in March when Pioli, considered a hard bargainer with agents in the NFL, was able to land several key free agents including Tackle Eric Winston, Tight End Kevin Bass, Cornerback Stanford Routt and others.

Add that free agent class with a solid NFL Draft and another round of additions for those unfortunate to be undrafted and suddenly, with most of his 90-man roster set as the Chiefs head into their OTA sessions, Pioli has made a leap of sorts.

In years past, even as far back as his days in New England, signing draft picks, and negotiating with potential free agents - was anything but simple for Pioli. Now with the new CBA in hand and the financial slotting that basically determines the salaries of all draft picks, it's become easier to get the entire draft class signed before the end of May.

Still some teams are struggling to do just that but the Chiefs aren't one of them. That means Pioli is adapting very quickly to the New NFL and he's beginning to hit a stride in Kansas City. Sure he still has some work to get done including signing home grown Tackle, Donald Stephenson and first round pick Dontari Poe (who we hear is close to signing), but there is little doubt both will be under contract in short order.

For the Chiefs, this sudden adaptation has the fan base believing that this football team is growing up right in front of them. There is a quiet confidence in this city that most believe as I do, this team has enough talent to win this year.

How far they go is another matter.

But at this point in the process, that's really not something we can put our finger on right now - because anything can happen. Injuries could mount; much like they did a year ago, some draft picks or free agents may not pan out this year.

Still the fact that this team has depth at virtually every position, matched with it's best coaching staff from top to bottom, 2012 could be a crowing jewel for Pioli. Not because the roster is packed with playmakers. It's because this franchise is finally growing up.

As an organization, they've made better decisions, stayed their course and never wavered in their belief that you build from the draft. Then you add players that fit your system via free agency and you don't take risks on over hyped and over priced veterans that create a buzz but don't yield results on the field.

Had the Chiefs been stuck in the mud again by passing on key targets in free agency or once again, tried to squeeze the last dollar from draft picks in the effort to save a few bucks, then the feeling in this city would be much different.

Sure it's only May and things can change quickly in regards to the potential fortunes of this football team in 2012. But thus far, there can't be too many fans upset in how this team sits and how it's been built the last three years.

At the moment, things are looking very bright within the Chiefs Kingdom.

WARPAINT ILLUSTRATED MESSAGE BOARDS:
Has Scott Pioli done enough to make the Chiefs winners in 2012?


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