Senior Bowl Sets Tone for 2014 Chiefs

WR Denard Robinson Photo:John Mercer USA Today

If you've ever been to a Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama, you'll be surprised to see so many coaches, general managers, agents and future NFL draftees all milling around the hotel lobbies and on the practice field. With the anticlimactic game set for Saturday, the Kansas City Chiefs can now set a course for the 2014 opener.

Sitting in the stands, interviewing players on the field or one-on-one visits in the private comforts of your luxury suites, allows NFL teams, like the Kansas City Chiefs, to get a sense and pulse of the type of athletes that could eventually become impact players in the 2014 NFL Draft.

For Kansas City, after their 11-5 season, they've already begun the transformation from 2013 to 2014. The past is in the rear view mirror and the future is indeed bright for football in the heartland.

Ahead though they face countless hours of scouting tapes, notes and interviews that have to be deciphered from the start of college football season this past Summer thru the grind of Bowl Season and ultimately what they saw first hand at the Senior Bowl.

Yes the NFL Combines, set for February in Indianapolis, will garner another round of interviews, discussions and ultimately reveal the tale of the tape, but by then the Chiefs will have completed the Cliff Notes version of their player evaluations.

This is a critical draft for the Chiefs. What they learned from the Senior Bowl thru the NFL Combines and the handful of visits they'll receive from future draft picks before May, will go along way towards washing away, what can now be determined as a less than modest success from their 2013 draft class.

The Chiefs a year ago fell in love with Left Tackle, Eric Fisher. As we saw throughout the course of his rookie season in Kansas City, he wasn't as advertised. Now some of that was his inability to adapt from small college football to the NFL.

The other parts of his average season had to do with injuries, his attitude at times and quite honestly inexperience at the NFL level. Does that mean he's going to be better in year two? No clue. But what is paramount for this franchise is they can't whiff on any more early round draft picks if they want to build this franchise through the draft.

In looking back on the 2013 class, the best pick the Chiefs used a year ago was the second round selection they shipped off to San Francisco for Quarterback, Alex Smith.

Injuries shut down the NFL debuts for Tight End, Travis Kelce and hard hitting corner/safety, Saunders Comings. The rest of the draft class simply couldn't crack the starting lineup and never had substantial playing time outside of the season finale at San Diego.

When General Manager, John Dorsey, came from the Green Bay Packers organization, he was someone who seemed to find gems that made it on the field of battle. Running his own ship in Kansas City for the first time that didn't transpire. But is that all his fault?

Partially, but then again, every NFL draft pick is a crapshoot. Still the Chiefs need to come out of the gates throwing sevens if they want to compete next season with a murderous schedule that includes both Super Bowl combatants.

From all accounts it would appear Dorsey is the right man for the job. His track record is stellar and I'm willing to give him a mulligan for the 2013 draft. But he's going to face some challenges this season that he has to overcome.

The upcoming draft is very weak at safety and cornerback, two big areas of needs for the Chiefs. Not helping matters for most NFL teams, once again the Quarterback class is so-so. Though wide receiver and offensive line has depth, Dorsey has to weigh the odds of landing a future starter in May or opening up the financial coffers to spend big in free agency.
BR>The Chiefs are probably four position players away from being able to repeat the feat of back-to-back 11 win seasons.

So with a year under their collective belt Dorsey and Head Coach, Andy Reid, probably have a good idea as to what they need to get done to insure the weaknesses that were exposed after their 9-0 start, become strengths in the latter stages of 2014 and into the post-season.

With most of the contingency of personnel and coaches departed from Mobile and the handshakes with agents representing, not only future NFL draft picks but upcoming free agents, it's safe to assume that whatever plan was hatched in Mobile is in full execution mode by Kansas City.

What ever happens next is still something short of unpredictable for Chiefs fans. But one thing is certain, based on nothing more than the burn that's going to drive this franchise to wash away the stench of their playoff loss to the Colts, they're going to do whatever it takes to insure that game becomes a distant memory.

How fast that happens quite likely is going to be determined on making all the right moves thru the NFL draft in May.

Will the Chiefs learn from their draft failures a year ago?

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