The Kansas City Chiefs have worked quickly to eliminate their biggest needs since general manager John Dorsey and head coach Andy Reid took over.
The signing of free agent cornerbacks Sean Smith and Dunta Robinson has revamped a secondary that was the obvious weak link in a defense that otherwise boasts a great deal of talent, including incumbent starting cornerback Brandon Flowers. With the Denver Broncos clearly the fron-trunner in the AFC West, the Chiefs appear to be in as favorable a position to handle Peyton Manning's formidable three-receiver set of Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker and newly signed Wes Welker as any team in the league.
This continues the path Dorsey and Reid set forth with the signing of speedy wideout Donnie Avery, reliable red-zone target Anthony Fasano at tight end and defensive end Mike Devito, who is well experienced in the Chiefs' 3-4 scheme after having served as a five-technique in the Jets' odd-man front.
These moves are in addition to the trade for former No. 1 overall pick Alex Smith and signing of Chase Daniel, two quarterbacks who drastically improve the talent level in Kansas City at the game's most important position.
Dorsey has accomplished precisely what he'd said he'd do when speaking to the media at the combine -- he's put the Chiefs in position to trade or select the best available player No. 1 overall rather than be pushed into filling a need.
"Well, it's a very unique situation sitting here in the first spot, but I can say this, if anybody wants to come up they're more than welcome," Dorsey said when asked about his plans then for the No. 1 overall pick.
"But then again, I'm going to select the first-available player, or I'm going to trade. It all depends on the options that are presented to me. That's why I'm sitting here, because I want to explore every opportunity possible and what's best for the Kansas City Chiefs."
The general consensus among the scouting community is that Dorsey is likely to focus on one of two offensive tackles with the first pick, either Texas A&M's Luke Joeckel or Central Michigan's Eric Fisher.
At first glance, it would seem that the Chiefs would want to focus elsewhere. They did, after all, slap the franchise tag on incumbent left tackle Branden Albert.
Interestingly enough, Dorsey was noncommittal when asked at the combine if he viewed Albert as a left tackle.
"I think a lot of football guys view him as a left tackle," Dorsey replied.
In terms of technique and athletic upside, Joeckel and Fisher are upgrades over Albert.
Fisher, who signed with the Chippewas as a tight end, proved significantly more athletic in drills at the combine than Joeckel, especially in the 40-yard dash and short shuttle drills. He preceeded the workout with a stellar performance at the Senior Bowl, where he eliminated any concerns about the level of competition he'd faced in the MAC. This, combined with the fact that the 6-7, 306-pound Fisher is a more physically mature player with experience at right tackle and guard makes him a more pro-ready player in the eyes of some, especially if the Chiefs wanted their rookie to make the transition to the right side.
The baby-faced Joeckel, on the other hand, has obviously faced greater competition over his career while lining up opposite all-conference defenders Von Miller, Damontre Moore and Sean Porter in practice, as well as Big 12 and SEC competition over his three starting seasons at left tackle for the Aggies.
Joeckel, 6-6, 306, signed with the Aggies as an extremely highly regarded prep prospect. His agility quickly pushed then-head coach Mike Sherman to keep him at the critical blindside tackle position rather than equally highly touted prep prospect, Jake Matthews, the son of Hall of Famer Bruce Matthews. Joeckel started all 37 games of his career, with each game coming at left tackle.