Kansas City, Mo. If Kansas City's 2006 draft turns out to be a bust, general manager Carl Peterson has left little wiggle room for anyone to dodge the blame.
With four prospects on defense and three on offense safely in the fold at the end of the day Sunday, Peterson declared that everyone had been on board with every decision.
"There was no debate, no arguments as each of our picks came up," Peterson said. "It seemed to be the appropriate person based on our grades."
Five rounds into their first draft with Herman Edwards as their head coach, the Chiefs finally took a cornerback, the position many experts expected them to focus on in round one.
Marcus Maxey, 6-foot, 192 pounds, started his senior season at right cornerback for Miami after playing behind All-American Antrel Rolle. A raw talent who needs polish, he had 37 tackles, deflected four passes and intercepted two others for 32 yards in returns.
With their second choice in the sixth round, the Chiefs took a player the Edwards family knows well, San Diego State wide receiver Jeff Webb. The 6-2, 211-pound California native played with Edwards' son, Marcus and ranked eighth in the country with an average of 7.18 catches per game. He averaged 12.2 yards per catch and had eight touchdown receptions.
With their first choice in the sixth round, they took Tre Stallings, a 315-pound offensive tackle from Ole Miss.
Another safety, Jarrad Page of UCLA, was the choice in the seventh round, the 225th pick altogether.
Peterson and Edwards both said they had faithfully followed their "board," the evaluations carefully made by the scouting staff of hundreds of college players.
"We stayed patient with our board," Edwards said. "We didn't reach. When you start reaching for players and bringing them up too high, first of all, the expectations of the player becomes too high and you know you shouldn't have drafted him there anyway. Then all of a sudden, if a guy doesn't work out you feel like you let the player down because you really shouldn't have drafted him that high anyway."
The Chiefs' fourth-round pick went for running back Leon Washington of Florida State. But the Chiefs did not get him; the New York Jets did. That pick was the compensation the NFL awarded the Jets for losing Edwards to Kansas City.
"The person who was picked in Herm Edwards' place we thought was a college free agent," said Chiefs president Carl Peterson. "So we got one for another."
The only draftee who figures to be an instant starter is Tamba Hali, the 275-pound defensive end from Penn State who was taken as the 20th pick in the first round.
The Chiefs exercised their second-round choice for Bernard Pollard, a 224-pounder from Purdue who will compete at either free and strong safety. The third-round pick was Brodie Croyle of Alabama, who will try to become the first starting quarterback the Chiefs have groomed in Peterson's 17 years as general manager.
Still to be addressed is cornerback, someone to line up on the opposite side of the field from Patrick Surtain. Maxey will compete with several incumbent prospects, and another possibility is free agent Ty Law, the four-time Pro Bowler who played for Edwards last year in New York.
"We've never excluded the possibility of Ty Law," said Peterson. "We brought him in last year and looked at him. Certainly, our head coach knows a lot about him. We'll go ahead and look at all opportunities to improve our football team. And again, there is something called the (salary) cap and cash that has to make sense, too."
As a former Pro Bowl defensive back himself, Edwards will be sure to have plenty to say about the defensive secondary, a weakness for several years in Kansas City.
"I frankly have a great deal of confidence in the guy sitting next to me here specific to secondary and defense," Peterson said of Edwards. "He's coached it a long time. He understands it. He's going to help us get better also."