The Chiefs: 81 thru 1/Part #3 … Sunday Cup O’Chiefs

Hopefully you are enjoying the Fourth of July weekend. Once the smoke and noise clears from the fireworks the ticking clock of NFL training camps will be even louder.

The evaluation of the 81 players that the Chiefs continues today as we get to the top-half of the roster with the middle 20 players and what they have and can provide the team.

As we’ve noted throughout this series, each player with NFL experience has been given an arrow up and an arrow down. Those going up are ascending players or guys that have potential to make great improvement. Those with arrows headed down are descending players.

Here we go.


DE Alex Magee

Evaluation – His rookie season for the 3rd-round draft choice in ’09 was a disappointment. Magee played in 15 games and contributed eight total tackles and two sacks. At one point near mid-season it seemed like everything was falling together for him, as he had sacks in back-to-back November games. From that point on, he had no sacks and three tackles in five games. Late in the season he picked up a hamstring injury and how long he dealt with that is something outsiders do not know. Magee worked hard in the off-season and he’ll need to show that progress in camp and the pre-season. If he can be stout enough to anchor one end of the defense against the run, he’ll shoot up the charts and rankings. None of that was very visible last year in his part-time play.



C Casey Wiegmann

Evaluation – Never rule out a wily veteran of the lineage of Wiegmann, but how much is left in his tank is a question only training camp and the pre-season will answer. In his 15th season, Wiegmann is two years older, with two more years of playing on his bones since he was last snapping for the Chiefs. He’s not any bigger or stronger and will likely give up 30 to 40 pounds to any nose tackle he faces. What Wiegmann has going for him is that experience and all the tricks of the trade that he’s learned over the years. But it’s hard to see how Wiegmann would be an upgrade over the man who replaced him two years ago, Rudy Niswanger.


OT Ryan O’Callaghan (left)

Evaluation – The waiver-claim from the Patriots is huge, but he does not move very well. Through the ’09 season, once he jumped into the starting lineup in game No. 4, he did improve in what was the longest stretch of game action he’d seen in his short career. O’Callaghan allowed four sacks last year and frequently lost the outside edge to the faster pass rushers. If he’s going to have a career at Arrowhead Stadium, this coming season will have to be huge for him. He needs to show major improvement. The problem is that right now, there’s no one visibly pressuring him to keep his job. Average at best, he needs competition if he’s going to get to that level.


TE Brad Cottam

Evaluation – Cottam was one of those players who struggled with the transition to the attitudes and approach of Haley last year. There were times in his first season with the Chiefs when there wasn’t the sense of urgency in Cottam’s approach that Haley demands every minute. That forced some adjustments for the tight end like a lot of other guys he was on the game-day active roller coaster: he played, sat, played, sat, dressed by did not play, sat for three weeks and then finally in the middle of November he got a chance to play every week, right up until he suffered a broken neck against Cleveland in the middle of December. That was a setback for Cottam, as he was not allowed to practice in the off-season program. He was able to work out and he may be in the best shape of his life. But right now it’s a real question mark how he bounces back.


NT Ron Edwards

Evaluation – The 10-year veteran has made a career for himself by being big and playing average football on the inside of the defense. Edwards has the size and personality to be one of those nose tackles who ties up two gaps and doesn’t complain. The problem is there hasn’t been much production from him. The Chiefs have not been very good stopping the run, Edwards doesn’t rack up a lot of tackles (29 last season), he doesn’t force fumbles and he’s a marginal pass rusher, failing to record a sack last season. Edwards has been durable and hasn’t missed a game in the last four seasons. But he’ll turn 31 in about a week and ended up getting pushed out of the No. 1 defensive line in the spring.


S Kendrick Lewis

Evaluation – There are a lot of things that Lewis has going for him when it comes to making the transition from Ole Miss and the SEC to the Chiefs and the NFL. He’s intelligent, football smart, dedicated to getting better, a student of the game and a guy who doesn’t mind colliding with a guy in the other colored jersey. But he was drafted in the 5th-round because he’s not very big – a notch under his listed 6-feet – and he’s not very fast. Lewis is going to get a chance to play and/or start in the ’10 season. For it to happen, he has to make sure he doesn’t fumble the chance.


FB Tim Castille

Evaluation – Castille joined the Chiefs off the street in November, after he was a pre-season casualty of the Cardinals. Because of Haley’s familiarity with him, he got a chance to play immediately. It was with mixed production. Castille is big (238 pounds) and powerful and if he can get his hands on a defender, he can block. One thing the Alabama product has going for him is the fact he could also play halfback if he was needed. There isn’t a lot of upside with Castille.


RB Kestahn Moore

Evaluation – During his college career at Florida, the Gators coaches, players and fans kept waiting for the big, breakthrough season from Moore. It never came. He spent time last year as an undrafted rookie with the Broncos and Chargers and it didn’t come there either. The Chiefs picked him up at the end of the ’09 season and in this off-season he’s made a push for a roster spot. Built in a similar manner as veteran Thomas Jones, Moore runs with power and he has a wiggle as he breaks through the hole. He can also catch the ball. If needs to perform in camp and the pre-season to save his career.


C/G Jon Asamoah

Evaluation – The third-round pick will be fun to watch once the pads go on in St. Joe. In the off-season work it was obvious what the Chiefs saw in him athletically. He’s got good feet, seems to be fundamentally sound and has got the size the team is looking for inside. But one of the traits that drew the Chiefs to Asamoah was his nastiness on the field. He’s a go to the whistle and then some guy and he’s said there’s nothing he enjoys more than making a defensive player a pancake with one of his blocks. Mobility and nastiness – that’s what Haley’s looking for on his offensive line.


QB Brodie Croyle

Evaluation – What to say about Croyle, who is now in his fifth NFL season and still hasn’t been able to direct a winning effort as a pro starter. Nobody gave him any chance to stay with the team when Pioli and Haley took over. He doesn’t fit the GM’s size standard for a quarterback and his inability to stay healthy was not something Haley was happy about. But Croyle has grown on the new guys because he continues to work hard and when he had to play in the ’09 opener, he did a good job. Whether he’s good enough to lead a successful NFL team remains to be seen, but he’s now 27 and time is running out on his opportunity.


C Rudy Niswanger

Evaluation – When Niswanger suffered a knee injury in the game before the bye week last season, he was expected to miss three or four weeks. By the time the Chiefs returned from their bye week respite, he had the knee in a brace and did not miss a beat. This is one tough hombre and he’s smart too. What he doesn’t have is top-level athletic skills and he has constant battles to get leverage with his 6-5 frame against smaller, but powerful defensive tackles. As an undrafted free agent coming into the league, Niswanger’s roster spot will always be in doubt. Whether Wiegmann, or even rookie Asamoah can challenge him for the starting spot is doubtful.


WR Jerheme Urban

Evaluation – A six-year veteran who came over from the Cardinals, Urban doesn’t bring any one special thing to the Chiefs offense. He’s got good size (6-3, 207), nice speed and quickness and inconsistent hands. Urban comes across as an intelligent guy who knows what to do on the field, whether it’s on offense or special teams. Compared to say Bobby Wade who was in last year’s receiver mix, he’s an upgrade. Whether it’s enough of an improvement in the team’s talent level remains to be seen. It tells us something that Arizona lost WR Anquan Boldin, but weren’t worried about losing a replacement in Urban.


TE Leonard Pope

Evaluation – At 6-8, Pope is a huge target but when it comes to catching the ball, that’s not his strength. In 13 games last year with the Chiefs, Pope caught 20 passes, at an average of 8.7 yards a catch. It’s tough for him to get deep down the seam, as he runs very mechanically. But Pope can block and he provided a lot of help for Jamaal Charles in the second half of the season.


DE Tyson Jackson

Evaluation – It’s hard to imagine a defensive end can play in 16 games, start 14 of those and not have a sack or turnover to show on his stat sheet. Jackson averaged less than two tackles per game and was not involved in any big plays last year. It’s not like his presence made other players better, as the Chiefs struggled on defense, especially against the run when they finished No. 31 in the league. That Jackson made it through the season without going down speaks to his personality. There wasn’t anything lackadaisical in his approach or manner; he just didn’t get anything done. That’s not good and Jackson needs to bounce back in ’10 with a big year. Potential is there, but based on what the eyes saw last year; it’s hard to give him an arrow up at this time.


S Jon McGraw (right)

Evaluation – Last year McGraw did enough things well that he was given Jarrad Page’s starting job near mid-season and stayed there for the rest of the schedule. The 31-year old Kansas native still has some top-notch athletic skills; they allow him to make big contributions in the kicking game like last season when he blocked a Baltimore punt and then recovered in the end zone for a TD in the season opener. However, defensively he doesn’t end up in the vicinity of big plays very often. Last year he had one interception and one sack. It’s likely we’ve seen the best of Jon McGraw.


TE Tony Moeaki

Evaluation – When he got on the field in the off-season practices, Moeaki showed quickly and often that he’s got talents that can be an immediate difference in the Chiefs offense. He has the ability to get down the seam and open up the deep secondary. He can run at full speed and catch the ball from difficult angles, a true sign of an athletic TE. Plus, what little we were able to see in the practices, he can block. He seems to know what he’s doing and how to get it done. If he can stay on the field and healthy, this ranking may be too low. If he falls into the pattern he had at Iowa and gets hurt then this ranking may be too high. For Moeaki, the great ability he can have for the ’10 Chiefs will be his availability.


CB Javier Arenas

Evaluation – The 2nd-round pick out of Alabama can be a factor in two of the team’s three phases, and not just a factor, but a game-changing force. Arenas ability to return punts and kicks and his quick grasp of the nickel position on defense, are going to give him opportunities with the ball in his hands. When those moments occur, Arenas has shown he will make a difference.


OLB Andy Studebaker

Evaluation – After last season it’s hard to know how serious to take Studebaker and his potential. When finally given a chance to contribute, he burst on the scene against Pittsburgh and intercepted two passes, almost taking one back for a touchdown. The Division III product got his TD later in the year when he recovered a fumbled punt snap in the end zone for six points. Studebaker is physically a stud and is solid a 6-3, 248 pounds as you’ll find in the NFL. He’s strong, quick, aggressive and intent on causing mayhem, otherwise everything a team is looking for from an outside backer. His lack of big-time competition hindered his growth, but that’s in the past now. If there’s something there behind those muscles, it’s time for him to show it and time for him to get the opportunity to play.


CB Maurice Leggett

Evaluation – It will be interesting to see if there remains an upside to Leggett’s NFL career in his third season. His ’09 was cut short by a shoulder injury that required surgery, but he was full-go in the off-season program. An undrafted free agent from the Division II level, Leggett was able to make plays in his rookie season. Can he get back to that spot, whether it’s at cornerback or safety, where he’s taking some snaps as well? When he made the team three seasons ago, there was a dearth of secondary talent. That’s no longer the case.


ILB Jovan Belcher

Evaluation – A real find last year as an undrafted rookie out of Maine, Belcher grew and grew into the role and by the end of the season was a regular on the nickel defense and was getting some time with the base No. 1 group. While he’s not very big (6-2, 228), Belcher can deliver a blow and he’s got the quickness to make it explosive. His athletic ability could be seen on special teams, where he was the Chiefs leading tackler. Whether Belcher’s time is now, it will come in the next few seasons. If he can improve like he did as a rookie, he’ll be on the field with the defense.

(Evaluations of Chiefs players No. 1-19 coming on Sunday)

18 Responses to “The Chiefs: 81 thru 1/Part #3 … Sunday Cup O’Chiefs”

  • July 4, 2010  - Tenand6 says:

    This is a fantastic series. Please consider doing something like this again when the Chiefs pick their final 53. For example, would McGraw still get a down arrow if he was a back up safety and special teamer, or would that make him an essential element of a winning team?

    Looking forward to the final evaluations.

    Have a Happy Independence Day.

  • July 4, 2010  - RW in the ATL says:

    I agree with Tenand6 in that this is a unique and outstanding series of player evaluations. Very much appreciated.

  • July 4, 2010  - Dean in Columbia says:

    Looks like there are a few rising talents. Maybe a couple decent backup players.

    Jon Asamoah’s nastiness sounds promising.

  • July 4, 2010  - bobmac617 says:

    Way to many arrows pointing in the wrong direction. Still looks like a talent poor group overall.

  • July 4, 2010  - Chuck P says:

    Bob; WOW. If we were keeping score it would be a record of 3-12. In other words there were 3 arrows up and 12 arrows down. Looks like the potential for another frustrating rebuilding year to me. My biggest frustration is that the Chiefs did “VIRTUALITY NOTHING” to improve the “run defense” this offseason. Unless you think Shaun Smith and Cameron Sheffield are going to “save the day”!!!!! Pretty much the “same” D-Line and LB Corp as last year. RUN BABY RUN.

  • July 4, 2010  - aPauled says:

    Tyson Jackson at #26…the #3 overall pick from 2009…probably accurate. Not sure that I agree that he wasn’t lackadaisical though. TJ didn’t play with a lot of effort last year. I watched him warming up for the last game in Denver…and my impression was exactly that…lackadaisical. No fire, no emotion, just going through the motions.

  • July 4, 2010  - mark in Ga. says:

    Maybe Crennel sees something in Lokey that he realy likes. Or perhaps another member of the undrafted/free agent players. Only training camp with contact will tell????

  • July 4, 2010  - Adam says:

    What did KC do to improve there run defense? Some guy named Eric Berry. He’ll play Strong Safety and he’s known for stopping the run. He will also help the pass defense as well.

    I don’t think Pioli had a good draft last year. Although Jackson didn’t do well to start the year, he really turned it on at the end of the year. 34 Dends’ are supposed to make people a lot better. Is it a concidence that from last year, we may have gotten out two stud OLB’s(Studebaker and Tamba?), and we may have also found a replacement for Mays or Williams in Jovan belcher? You could attribute that(partly) to improved play on the D-line. I think McGee will be awesome as a rotational guy from Dorsey and jackson.
    Bottom line, I’m not sure if I agree with bob on all of his guys, but it’s nice to see a review of every player.
    I may sound like a homer, but I don’t thinkk it’s out of the question to get 8 wins this year.

  • July 4, 2010  - Topeka-T says:


    Thanks for the great series! I can’t wait for tomorrow’s final rankings. Up arrows are critical in the next ranking. Your analysis is dead on and please do this again after the final 53.


  • July 4, 2010  - The Freedom Fix | Arrowhead Addict | A Kansas City Chiefs blog says:

    [...] The Chiefs: 81 thru 1/Part #3 … Sunday Cup O’ [...]

  • July 4, 2010  - Harry says:

    McGraw’s versatility ought to give him a better shot at making the team. Will he start? It’ll be tough. Will he be effective as a starter? Hmmm. More speed at the other S spot, plus more likelihood of good jams (not last year’s pitty-pat stuff) in nickel could make him more effective.

    As the season wore on, if McGraw had the wheels to get there in time, he was much improved at attacking the ball in the air. He was a lot smarter in his role on the regular D, and not the lost sheep that I remember from prior to ’09.

  • July 4, 2010  - Michael says:

    This arrow system of Bob’s is a bit tricky. I don’t think the direction of the arrows is meant as an idicator of the players current overall talent. Bob said the arrows were to idicate if a player is getting better or not, and if their career trajectory is up or down.

    Well, if Weigmann can maintain the same level of play he’s had over the last 2-4 years, I’ll take that even if his arrow is pointing down because of his age and the fact that he’s at the end of his career.

    Cottam has an arrow pointing down because of questions over his recovery from injury, not because he doesn’t have talent or the ability to get better.

    Leggett has an arrow pointing down because the team has more talent in the secondary this year; so, coming back from his own injury, he will have to fight harder to keep a job. Maybe he will; maybe he won’t, but he might and he might even get better.

    Croyle has an arrow pointing down because he is one year older and stuck behind Cassel, not because he isn’t improving. I like him as a backup, and I think he could win some games for KC if he needed this year. Based on what the coaches say, Croyle has some talent and is actually getting better.

    Some of these guys will have arrows pointing up if they show they are back from injury. If you base the evaluation on how much value the guy might have to the Chiefs, i.e. Wiegmann, his arrow could just as easily be pointing up.

  • July 4, 2010  - RatsoReily says:

    Jackson was lazy pure and simple his rookie year. I watched him closely and he’d just sit there and play patty-cake with the defensive player on the edge. I was really excited about his signing but boy has he been a bust. No fire or desire .. nothing like his collegiate career. I thought he’d fire Dorsey up and we’d see both guys pick-up their games. Dorsey did play with more fire in 09′ but TJ just played possum most of the time.

  • July 4, 2010  - Michael says:

    I guess with some of these other evaluations, I don’t so much disagree with Bob as look at the players differently.

    I agree with Harry about McGraw, although it will be tough for him with young guys like Berry, Lewis, Washington and Morgan around. I wish they could keep 5 safties. Still, a smart veteran guy who is a core special teamer might be very valuable to the team, especially this year with all the youth back there.

    To me, O’Callaghan is about what you expect in a right tackle, a mauler in the run game and ok at pass proctection. He’s consistant, a hard worker, young and the coaches seem to like him. I hope Barry Richardson can push O’Callaghan for the job, if not take it, but I think the Chiefs can win with O’Cal there if need be.

    Niswanger is another young, smart, tough OL, who I think the team can win with as a starter. Haley said at the end of last year Niswanger was one of the most improved players on the team. But, if Wiegmann takes his spot, Rudy will make a nice swing man at center and guard. I used to view Niswanger as a huge liability, but he’s gotten better and grown on me.

    I wouldn’t put a down arrow next to Tyson Jackson; he’s only starting year 2 at DE and that’s typcially when young DL tend to begin to “get it.” I expect much better from him this year.

    Castille, Urban and Pope are role players who I like much more than Bob. Castille is a good run blocker, pass proctector, receiver out of the backfield and can play some RB. I like Cox’s luchpale, tough-guy classic FB type, but I think Castille offers more to the team if it comes down to keeping just one of them. I have no clue what Tavaris Johnson, the rookie out of Miami, can do at FB.

    Urban is smart and tough, and has size and speed. I think he’ll be a perfect fit after Bowe and Chambers, and a nice alternative to McCluster.

    Pope reminds me of Jason Dunn. He can be a huge help to the run game, and I think he’s a better receiver than Dunn.

    Good teams need solid role players; not all players are going to be flashy or pro bowlers. In the sense that none of these guys (with the possible exception of TJ-time will tell) will probably ever make the Pro Bowl, their career arrow should be ponted down. But, if we’re talking about if they have enough talent to be part of a very good, winning team, I’d point their arrows up.

    It won’t worry me a bit if guys like these are part of the final 53.

  • July 4, 2010  - Michael says:

    I watched Tyson Jackson just as closely as anyone. No, he didn’t look good most of the time. He looked very unsure of himself, and like he was thinking too much. That does interfere with a player’s aggressiveness. Just saying, that is not atypical for young playes, especially young defensive linemen.

  • July 4, 2010  - SG says:

    I find it entertaining that a couple of rookies – Moeaki and Arenas (and Leggett) – find themselves ahead of T-Jack and Pope – I think they have potential – but have shown “JACK” to earn those high of estimates from BobGretz to this point or anyone else. Until they actually contribute in something greater than an Offseason Training Activity, all we can call them are ROOKIE HOPEFUL’s. T-Jack underperformed, but Pope actually did contribute something. So far, these guys don’t even have signed contracts…so we can’t even rate their agents ahead of Pope and T-Jack (and we know how I feel about T-Jack and Magee being drafted so high when we had such a LOUSY O-Line).

  • July 4, 2010  - ED says:

    People need cut Jackson a break it was his rookie season for crying out loud. The kid will be fine and we’ll see alot more production out of him this season. It takes time for defensive tackle and 3-4 def. ends which are basically def. tackle if it were a 4-3 defense. My point is he’ll be fine. He has the size,talent, and love for the game to be a really good player. I’m not going to bash the guy in his rookie yr. Guys like Sapp and Seymour didn’t make an impact their rookie year and both of those guys turned out fine. Too early in the kid career to have an error pointing anywhere right now. That goes for any of these guys who only been in the league a yr.

    I would’ve preferred if Bob would have went with guys going into yr 3 before judging how their career is going and that maybe even too early to tell. Most Gm or head coaches would say by yr 3 or 4 you kind start to know where a guy career is headed. Either way I think Jackson will be an anchor for this defense for the next decade.

  • July 5, 2010  - Anonymous says:

    damn…that’s a lot of down arrows

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