The Kansas City Star had a pretty typical NFL story that shows up in June – a piece about the 2010 Chiefs’ draftees and their first exposure to the NFL world. It’s the standard fluff piece, but about what you can expect this time of the year. By “standard”, I mean you can count on the following things:
* The rookies saying things like “I just want to go out and compete” or “I want to come in and work hard and try to do my best”.
* The coaches saying “They looked good” and “(Player’s name) showed some real flashes out there”.
But what is more interesting about this story is that the Chiefs seem prepared to start two (maybe three) rookies on defense: safety Eric Berry, cornerback Javier Arenas (but he will most likely be the nickel back), and possibly safety Kendrick Lewis. Lewis will most likely get the nod to start because:
1.) He’s not Jon McGraw
2.) Jarrad Page has forgotten the Chiefs don’t play the Oakland Raiders 16 times this year, thus making him a 51% asset/49% liability on the defense.
Yikes – THREE rookies? All in the defensive backfield? Now – I think Brandon Flowers is one of the top cornerbacks in the AFC (behind Darrelle Revis and Nnamdi Asomugha), and I’m convinced Brandon Carr is better than he showed last year. But – that is still a little concerning to think that three rookies will be responsible for shutting down Peyton Manning in week four.
However, I also like the idea of throwing the kids out there right away. Let’s take the training wheels off and see what happens. Also – who would you rather see on Sundays: Berry or McGraw? Arenas or Maurice Leggett? Lewis or the corpse of Mike Brown? Me too. The growing pains will be significant, but consider this.
The 2010 Chiefs may play the worst collection of NFL quarterbacks in recent memory. Look at this list:
- Peyton Manning (ok, he’s good)
- Phillip Rivers twice (so is he, but bear with me)
- Either Colt McCoy or Jake Delhomme for Cleveland (featuring the 32nd ranked passing attack in 2009)
- David Carr or Alex Smith (San Francisco)
- Matt Schaub (Houston)
- Trent Edwards or Ryan Fitzpatrick (Buffalo
- David Garrard (Jacksonville)
Bruce Gradowski or Jason Campbell twice (Oakland)
- Kyle Orton or (please God, please let this happen) Tim Tebow twice when we play Denver
- Matt Leinhart (Arizona)
- Matt Hasselbeck and his ruptured C-4 (Seattle)
- Sam Bradford (St. Louis)
- Vince Young (who we may be able to shake with a quick trip to Bazooka’s)
Wow – that is a fantastic collection of suck right there. This may be the perfect opportunity for our defensive rookies to get their initial exposure to the NFL, but not to the point where they get their confidence shaken and shattered. I feel that defensive rookies are ahead of the offensive kids, simply because they have to read and react. Starting three rookies isn’t ideal – but for the Chiefs in 2010, it might be the best case scenario for 2011 and beyond.