Kansas City Chiefs: 6 Defenders Who Will Scare the AFC West in 2012

Bill Robbins@bill_kc28Correspondent IJune 6, 2012

Kansas City Chiefs: 6 Defenders Who Will Scare the AFC West in 2012

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    Going into this season, the Kansas City Chiefs have one of the most talented defensive units in the league.

    With Pro Bowlers Eric Berry, Tamba Hali and Derrick Johnson leading the way, they have enough playmakers all over the field to scare any opposing offense they will face this season.

    Here are six defenders who will scare the rest of the division in 2012.

DT Dontari Poe

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    Since Chiefs rookie Dontari Poe hasn't played a down yet in the NFL, it's hard to really tell how much of an impact he will have throughout his first year in the league.

    However, there is no denying that Poe is still a very intimidating figure on the gridiron.

    Standing at 6'3" and weighing 348 pounds, he will easily be the largest defensive lineman in the division, and he is the strongest and fastest as well.

    Before this season is over, Poe will strike fear into his AFC West opponents with some flashes of brilliance at times from his nose tackle position.

DE Allen Bailey

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    Last year in his rookie season, Allen Bailey showed some flashes of greatness for the Kansas City defense.

    However, Bailey was slowed down by not having a full offseason to work with in his first year in the league.

    Obviously, that won't be the case this year.

    The 6'3", 285-pound Bailey is a physical freak and has the size and athletic ability to play either defensive end or outside linebacker, which he should use to wreak havoc on opposing QBs within the division in 2012.

ILB Derrick Johnson

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    There is no player on this Chiefs defense who has stepped his game up more in the past two seasons than Derrick Johnson.

    Last year, DJ amassed a career-high 131 tackles while deflecting nine passes and recording two sacks.

    He was not only awarded with his first Pro Bowl appearance for his efforts, but he was also voted team MVP by his teammates as well.

    For this season, Johnson will be looking to repeat what he did last year when he utterly dominated in his team's divisional slate of games.

OLB Tamba Hali

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    Tamba Hali has already established himself as one of the best pass rushers in the AFC West over the past few seasons.

    Since the end of the 2009 season, Hali has racked up 26.5 sacks for this Kansas City defense.

    He's also made one Pro Bowl appearance during that time and led the conference in QB takedowns with 14.5 back in 2010.

    At 28 years old, he is now in the prime of his career and should be feared by any quarterback who sees him coming off the edge when they drop back in the pocket this season and beyond.

OLB Justin Houston

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    Last year, Justin Houston struggled early before coming on strong near the end of the season.

    However, don't expect that to happen again in 2012.

    Like fellow defensive teammate Allen Bailey, Houston didn't have the benefit of a full offseason in his first year in the league, which obviously contributed to his slow start out of the gate.

    I fully expect the former third-round pick to have a breakout sophomore year and make a living in the backfield of opposing offenses throughout the regular season.

S Eric Berry

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    I was a little apprehensive to include Eric Berry on this list, mainly because he is coming off of a major knee surgery.

    However, he already proved in his rookie season he can be a scary player to go against going forward.

    The talented safety is solid in coverage, but he can also play up near the line, as he thrives in run defense.

    He's the type of defender who you have to account for at all times. Even though he might not be 100 percent healthy for all of this coming season, he still has the ability to give many NFL offenses a fit because of the versatility he provides.