UA-59049186-1 2017 NFL Team Preview: Kansas City Chiefs - Good if it Goes

2017 NFL Team Preview: Kansas City Chiefs

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Last Year:

Record: 12-4

Offense: 24.3 (13th)

Defense: 19.4 (7th)

Offseason: 

Key Acquisitions: DT. Bennie Logan

Key Losses: RB. Jamaal Charles, WR. Jeremy Maclin, DT. Dontari Poe, DT. Jaye Howard

2017 Draft Picks

RD(PK) PLAYER POS SCHOOL
1(10) Patrick Mahomes QB Texas Tech
2(27) Tanoh Kpassagnon DE Villanova
3(22) Kareem Hunt RB Toledo
4(33) Jehu Chesson WR Michigan
5(40) Ukeme Eligwe ILB Georgia Southern
6(35) Leon McQuay III S USC

2017 Outlook 

Coaching Staff

  • HC: Andy Reid
  • OC: Matt Nagy
  • DC: Bob Sutton
  • ST: Dave Toub

Offense

QB. Alex Smith, Patrick Mahomes

RB. Spencer Ware, Charcandrick West

FB. Anthony Sherman

WR.  Tyreek Hill, Albert Wilson

WR. Chris Conley, Sentavius Jones

WR. De’Anthony Thomas

TE. Travis Kelce, Demetrius Harris

LT. Eric Fisher, Isaiah Battle

LG. Bryan Witzmann, Zach Fulton

C. Mitch Morse, Jordan Devey

RG. Laurent Duvernay-Tardif

RT. Mitchell Schwartz, Jah Reid

Defense

DE. Chris Jones, Rakeem Nunez-Roches

NT. Bennie Logan, Cam Thomas

DE. Allen Bailey, Tanoh Kpassagnon

OLB. Justin Houston, Frank Zombo

MLB. Derrick Johnson, Kevin Pierre-Louis

MLB. Ramik Wilson, Josh Mauga

OLB. Dee Ford, Tamba Hali

CB. Marcus Peters, Kenneth Acker

SS. Ron Parker, Eric Murray

FS. Eric Berry, Daniel Sorensen

CB. Steven Nelson, Terrance Mitchell

NB. Phillip Gaines

Specialists

K. Cairo Santos

P. Dustin Colquitt

 Breakdown

Offense:

You ever look at a woman and think to your self, “she aite, she ok, she not bad, she’ll do, etc.” Well that is how I feel about the Chiefs offense this year. The best way to describe it is they simply are not bad or that it is ok. Nobody gives off this vibe more than their quarterback Alex Smith. He is the poster boy for not bad. Last season he completed 67% of his passes, had a 91.2 passer rating and only threw eight interceptions. He also only threw for 3,502 yards and only 15 TDs. Overall I guess one could say that his performance was OK. At the running back position Jamaal Charles career with the Chiefs is officially over and Spencer Ware is now the primary ball carrier. In 14 starts last season he had 913 yards rushing and three TDs on 4.3 yards per carry. Not bad by any means. How about the offensive line? Every starter besides Mitchell Schwartz, the best of the bunch, received a grade in the 70s for their performance last season which I have to tell you it may not be great but it is better than some other teams so that will do. Back in 2013 KC picked Eric Fisher first overall to be their franchise left tackle. So far he has managed to establish himself as a really good run blocker but struggles at times in pass pro and is average at best in that phase. Yet the primary job of the left tackle in today’s NFL is to pass block. So Fisher may not be a star left tackle but at least he has not been a bust like Luke Joeckel who was picked right after him so not bad right? The right tackle Schwartz is the one stand out among the group. He was one of the better players at his position in pass pro and held his own in the run game. The interior consists of Mitch Morse at center and Laurent Duvernay-Tardif and Bryan Witzmann at the guard spots. Like Fisher they are all not bad. The one position group that had a chance to be a little better than decent or not bad was the receiving corps but then the Chiefs just cut Jeremy Maclin with no clear replacement in sight and now this group sort of feels…. well you know, not bad. Yes tight end Travis Kelce is great, he is the second best player at his position in the NFL. And yes Tyrek Hill is an explosive athlete, but can he really be a number one receiver? In 2017 Hill will no longer be a secret and with Maclin out of the picture he will have opposing defenses full and undivided attention and I am just not sure he has the skills as a pure receiver to shine in that role. Especially considering the other starting receivers around him are going to be Chris Conley and De’Anthony Thomas. Conely is a fourth option at best in this league and Thomas has no business starting at receiver period as he is a hybrid running back/receiver and return specialist. Overall I am sure many of you have come to the same conclusion about this offense that I have and that is that it is not bad and that is because it sure is not that great either.

Defense:

One thing the Chiefs defense is not is ok, their simply good. They have even been great in year’s past but those days may be behind them as some key players are now older or have moved on elsewhere. One position where the Chiefs took some big losses was up front on the defensive line. Defensive tackles Jaye Howard and Dontari Poe both were lost in free agency. KC looked to free agency to replace Poe at nose tackle by signing Bennie Logan who comes over from the Eagles. Logan had played well in previous seasons for Philly at the nose tackle position but last year they switched to a 4-3 and Logan’s effectiveness was not the same. Perhaps a return to his more natural position and scheme fit will lead to a more productive year for him. The team has decided to look within to replace Howard with three guys vying for the spot. The current projected starter is veteran Allen Bailey with Rakeem Nunez-Roches, their sixth round pick in 2015, and Tanoh Kpassagnon, their second round pick this year, on his heels competing for the job. The one guy the Chiefs most certainly should be able to count on up front is second year man Chris Jones. Jones was flat out dominant at times in his rookie season and has the potential to be a pro bowl caliber player in the NFL. The position where the team is getting old is at linebacker. Age has definitely taken its toll on Tamba Hali who is now a shell of himself which is why Dee Ford took over that outside linebacker spot. Ford had a breakout year last season racking up 10 sacks. He is not a run defender and most likely never will be given his lack of size but he can definitely rush the passer. Justin Houston is the other edge linebacker and though he is only 28 years old, he feels like an old 28. Houston just cannot seem to stay healthy. He has been hurt the past two seasons and he was hurt in 2013. The one year he was healthy in 2014 obviously was his best year where he had 22 sacks but it is hard to believe giving all of his injuries that even if he stays healthy he can ever play up to that high a level again. Derrick Johnson is still there at middle linebacker but he is 34 and will turn 35 during the year. He showed signs of decline last season and one has to figure he will further decline this season. Ramik Wilson was very good in his second season and appears ready to take over as the best middle linebacker on this team. The Chiefs secondary is strong and I think could be even better in 2017 than it was last season. At corner they have a budding star in Marcus Peters who has had one of the best two season runs to start a career at corner that I have seen in recent memory. He has been an interception waiting to happen so far in his career and I have to believe moving forward opposing QBs will try harder to avoid throwing in his direction. Steven Nelson, the team’s third round pick in 2015, will start opposite him. He showed potential in his second season in the 14 starts he made last year but will need to be more consistent in 2017. Phillip Gaines will be the man in the slot and he is entering his fourth season and the last year of his rookie deal so this is a prove it year for Gaines. He has showed flashes here and there his entire career so far but has yet to put together a full season that makes you feel like he can be a long-term answer at the corner position. Safety is where this team may be strongest of all. Eric Berry is a flat out star and has not missed a beat in both the last two seasons since he made his return to football. Ron Parker is the strong safety and he is one of the most underrated players in the league. He just continues to show up and do his job well every year and I expect him to do so again in 2017. Overall unless Justin Houston returns to elite form I cannot see the Chiefs being an elite defense but I can see them being pretty good. They have a strong secondary, play makers in the front seven, and are well coached.

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