One benefit Scott Pioli brings with him in joining the brain trust at The Branch is intimate insider knowledge of much of the Kansas City Chiefs roster-more specifically the pending free agents he originally drafted. And coincidently, the Chiefs just happen to have several such free agents who are highly ranked in positions for which the Falcons are in desperate need of upgrades. Some examples pulled from a popular website include the following:
Branden Albert - OT Ranking: 4 of 37 Age: 29 3-1/2 Stars
Branden Albert is more talented than this rating says he is, but he's always injured and has played all 16 games only once in his career. He's a strong blind-side protector when healthy.
Jon Asamoah - G Ranking: 8 of 28 Age: 26 2 Stars
Jon Asamoah was benched in the second half of the season, but he had actually blocked rather well when he was in the lineup. His replacement, Geoff Schwartz, was just better.
Kendrick Lewis - FS Ranking 15 of 42 Age: 26 2 Stars
Kendrick Lewis got off to a strong start in his career with two solid seasons, but has regressed since. Perhaps he'll be able to recapture what he had in 2010 and 2011.
Albert sounds eerily similar to another Left Tackle we all know and love. And recent sound bites make it sound as though hopes are still high for Holmes. All things considered, even though Albert's 3-1/2 Stars are tops on the list, he may be the least likely of the three to end up a Falcon in 2014.
But the remaining two players may be worth keeping an eye on for several reasons.
1. DeCoud and the two-headed disaster of Reynolds/Konz were among the worst in the NFL at their respective positions. Asamoah and/or Lewis would be instant upgrades-if for no other reason than they couldn't really be worse.
2. You can't plug every current hole in the draft. Too many first year players on the field at the same time results in a, oh I don't know, 4-12 season. A healthy influx of experienced talent will be required to return to a competitive state in 2014.
3. Both Asamoah and Lewis have 2 Star ratings. This should make them more affordable and less risky than the "big splash" 4-5 Star free agents.
4. Pioli's intimate familiarity with both players further reduces the potential risk and increases knowledge of their true value and potential.
So what do you think? Will the obsession with former Jaguar coaches be replaced with one for former Chiefs players as the new trend for 2014?