|04-27-2007, 02:04 PM|
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AP: Chiefs looking for wide receivers, linemen
Chiefs looking for wide receivers, linemen
By DOUG TUCKER
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- As the NFL draft approaches, Ryan Sims must know how the unloved stepchild at a family reunion feels.
Even though the 310-pound defensive tackle is still on their roster, the Kansas City Chiefs have begun speaking openly about the huge mistake it was to draft him. It's also a good bet they're going to make one more attempt this weekend to atone for taking the overweight and oft-injured North Carolina product as the sixth overall selection in 2002.
"I think I know exactly where it went wrong, but I'm not going to share it here," Chiefs president Carl Peterson said this week. "It's very disappointing."
Using a high first-round pick on Sims is a blunder the Chiefs have paid dearly for on the field, and only compounded in unsuccessful efforts to draft other starters at the position.
Eddie Freeman, a second-rounder in 2002 taken right behind Sims, is out of the NFL.
And then there was Junior Siavii. The Chiefs' first pick in the 2004 draft -- in the second round -- was an even bigger bust and is out of football altogether.
If they hadn't so much invested in him, Sims would probably not have stuck around this long. He's barely been on the field the past five years and he'll probably have trouble keeping a job when the Chiefs make their go-young roster purge this spring, a movement that'll start with this weekend's draft.
"Disappointing? Absolutely," Peterson said. "You can't make mistakes in the top 10 picks."
At defensive end, the Chiefs could also have a problem if Jared Allen gets suspended for part of the 2007 season for DUI convictions. At the other end is Tamba Hali, a high-energy first-round pick from what's looking like an excellent draft in 2006.
But as a consequence of Sims' failure, the Chiefs have had almost no push up the middle of the defensive line, something absolutely needed if the cover-2 defense they installed last year is going to work.
This year, barring a trade, the Chiefs do not pick until 23rd. By then, the best defensive tackles may be gone, and Kansas City will turn to other areas of pressing need, such as cornerback and wide receiver.
But a big and quick defensive tackle on the order of a Tank Tyler, Amobi Okoye or Marcus Thomas would look mighty tempting if one is available when the Chiefs' turn comes.
First-day depth at defensive tackle is "pretty good," said Bill Kuharich, the vice president of player personnel.
"Once you get into the second day, depending how it falls there are a sprinkling of a few, too," he said. "Those guys are going to go quick. Big people go quickly. The big people on both sides go quickly."
There'll be a good player late in the first round, but not necessarily at tackle, Kuharich said.
"But when we get down to that pick and looking at our board that we have players evaluated across all positions I'm confident that there will be player who can come in and help us."
Fortunately for the Chiefs, this seems to be a good year for wide receivers. Eddie Kennison, their go-to deep threat, is getting old but has been the only consistently productive pass-catcher, next to tight end Tony Gonzalez.
Ted Ginn Jr., of Ohio State, if he's available, would fit nicely. He's not only fast and explosive, he's also a top return prospect who could replace the once-great Dante Hall, whose production slipped badly last year and who was traded at midweek to St. Louis for the Rams' fifth-round pick.
The deal gave the Chiefs the full complement of seven choices in the two-day draft, something they craved.
The Chiefs and Rams also swapped positions in the third round, the Chiefs moving up to 82nd overall, the Rams down to 84th.
The dealing may not be done for Peterson, who continued to dicker with Miami on a swap of aging quarterback Trent Green for one of the Dolphins' draft picks. But Peterson said he was not confident of getting any additional choices.
"I'm not confident of anything. Usually what happens is they come the night before, the day of the draft," he said. "There'll be a lot of jockeying after the first day to get into the fourth round. People will say, 'Hey, I'll give you our sixth this year and our sixth next year' just to get to the fourth round. There'll be a lot of movement again."