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New Faces as Promised, but Not Necessarily Younger Ones

More by Ed Fulda
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The feeding frenzy for the free agents is basically over. The draft has been conducted. A few undrafted free agents have been signed. Some of our own free agents left for other climes. Other players were traded or released. Head Coach Herm Edwards has promised that the Chiefs’ roster is far from set and that the team will get younger. So far, we’ve seen a lot of new faces as promised, but how much younger will the team actually be?

The line-up that started in Week 1 of the 2006 season averaged 28.27 years of age and 6.68 years of experience, making it the oldest group of starters in the NFL. Of that group, Jordan Black, Will Shields, Ronnie Cruz, Kawika Mitchell, and Sammie Knight are now gone. Trent Green and Greg Wesley are as good as gone. Kendrell Bell, James Reed, and Samie Parker will not be starters in 2007. Think about that for a minute; 10 out of 22 starters (45.6%) in 2006 definitely won’t be in the starting lineup when the 2007 season kicks off and the odds are good that Ron Edwards will also lose his starter’s job.

Of the 2007 draftees, only two – Dwayne Bowe and Tank Tyler - have a reasonably good chance of starting. Turk McBride will be a good one, but his future is probably at DE and he’ll have to compete with Allen and Hali for a starting job. Bernard Pollard and Jarrad Page will take over at Safety for Knight and Wesley. Where the “younger” part gets fuzzy is at the remaining open positions.

Damien McIntosh will inherit Jordan Black’s spot at Left Tackle and John Welbourn should be Will Shield’s replacement. McIntosh is 30 and Welbourn is 31. Damon Huard (34) takes over for the 37-year-old Trent Green. Donnie Edwards (34) takes over for Bell (29). Napoleon Harris (28) is the same age as Kawika Mitchell. Ronnie Cruz (26) will probably be replaced by Boomer Grigsby (25). Assuming that Ron Edwards (28) and Reed 30) both get replaced, the new starters will probably be Alphonso Boone (31) and Tyler (22).

That starting line-up will average 28.05 years of age and 6.55 years of experience, which means the 2007 starters will average exactly 0.22 years younger and 0.13 years less experience. Eleven of the starters will be at least 30 years old. Yeah, buddy; Herm Edwards has turned on the tap to the Fountain of Youth full blast.

In reality, what it means is that Herm Edwards, Carl Peterson, and staff will be rebuilding the Chiefs for the next 2-3 seasons – if we’re lucky. The old-timers among us will never forget that horrible stretch from 1972-1985, where the Chiefs seemed trapped in a never-ending rebuilding project. Despite his long tenure in KC, Peterson has never had to completely overhaul the Chiefs and it’s going to be interesting to see if he’s up to the task.

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