Chiefs search for gold


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Jan 22, 2006
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Chiefs search for gold
Team to take close look at potential draft picks
The Kansas City Star

Cornerback, pass rusher or wide receiver?

The Chiefs could go any of those directions with their first-round pick judging by some of the draft prospects who are scheduled to visit Kansas City next week.

Visitors who are likely first-round picks include cornerbacks Johnathan Joseph of South Carolina and Richard Marshall of Fresno State, defensive ends Mathias Kiwanuka of Boston College and Manny Lawson of North Carolina State and wide receiver Santonio Holmes of Ohio State.

Other visiting draft prospects include Penn State defensive end Tamba Hali, Arizona State wide receiver Derek Hagan and defensive backs Danieal Manning of Abilene Christian and Justin Hamilton of Virginia Tech.

All teams are allowed 30 predraft visits under NFL rules.

There’s no guarantee the Chiefs will select any of next week’s visitors in the April 29-30 draft. But the list can and often does provide a glimpse into their thinking.

Among their recent top picks, Ryan Sims (2002), Junior Siavii (2004) and Derrick Johnson (2005) met with the Chiefs in Kansas City shortly before the draft.

It’s no secret the Chiefs are looking for help at cornerback, defensive end and wide receiver. After the release of veterans Eric Warfield and Dexter McCleon, the Chiefs have no obvious candidate to start at cornerback alongside Patrick Surtain.

Lenny Walls, Julian Battle, Benny Sapp and Alphonso Hodge are among the other cornerbacks on the roster, so it’s not a stretch to think Joseph, Marshall or another rookie corner could start in the Sept. 10 season-opener against Cincinnati at Arrowhead Stadium.

The Chiefs also want to improve their pass rush. Only Jared Allen has given them a consistent rush over the last two seasons.

They re-signed Carlos Hall and hope he can help. They are counting on their linebackers, Kendrell Bell in particular, for pass-rushing punch.

But they wouldn’t mind having another talented rusher to throw into the mix.

“We want to have a front that is athletic and can get to the quarterback,” Chiefs coach Herm Edwards said. “You’ve got to be able to hit the quarterback. You can’t let the guy stand back there and be comfortable throwing passes.”

Kiwanuka, Lawson and Hali all had big sack numbers in college. Kiwanuka had 37 1/2 sacks in four seasons at Boston College. Lawson had 10 1/2 sacks as a senior, and Hali, a native of Liberia, had 11 last season.

After losing backups Chris Horn and Marc Boerigter to free agency, the Chiefs are thin at wide receiver. Dante Hall, Craphonso Thorpe and Jeris McIntyre are the main candidates to back up starters Eddie Kennison and Samie Parker.

Thorpe and McIntyre have never played in a regular-season NFL game.

Among the more prominent draft-eligible cornerbacks not scheduled to meet with the Chiefs are Clemson’s Tye Hill, Miami’s Kelly Jennings and Ohio State’s Ashton Youboty. Top pass rushers who weren’t scheduled to visit Kansas City include Florida State’s Kamerion Wimbley and Purdue’s Ray Edwards.

Florida wide receiver Chad Jackson is a probable first-round pick but had no meeting set up with the Chiefs.
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