Seven of the Bengals' 22 starters on offense and defense have been selected in the last three drafts — Kevin Zeitler is a rookie starting at right guard this year. Two more are key backups.
"If you draft a guy, you can mold him because he's a lot younger and hasn't been exposed to as much," Crennel said. "Sometimes when you go get guys from other places, they have a predetermined notion about who they are and about how they should fit, and sometimes they have to adapt and adjust to your system. Some guys can make that transition smoothly; other guys struggle with the transition. You see it all the time in the NFL."
It's not quantity, though, so much as quality.
That's where the Chiefs have suffered.
Their best offensive players, running back Jamaal Charles and wide receiver Dwayne Bowe, were chosen in the draft. But they haven't been able to find a quarterback who can get them the ball, eschewing an early round selection on the most important player on the field in favor of sticking with Matt Cassel, who lost his starting job to Brady Quinn earlier this year.
The deficiencies are even more glaring on defense.
With the exception of end, where homegrown guy Glenn Dorsey recently landed on injured reserve, everyone on that side of the ball was signed out of college by the Chiefs. That means stars such as linebackers Tamba Hali and Derrick Johnson, who have both been to the Pro Bowl, and solid players such as safety Eric Berry and Kendrick Lewis.
Those are the hits.
The misses are obvious along the line, where Dorsey has been unspectacular in a system that doesn't necessarily suit him; fellow end Tyson Jackson has earned a fraction of the money that came with being the third overall pick in 2009; and where this year's first-round selection — defensive tackle Dontari Poe — is still trying to figure out things.
So while the Chiefs have certainly built their defense through the draft, just like Pioli wanted, they've apparently fallen short when it comes to drafting the right guy.
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