Predicting Two-Deep Kansas City Chiefs Depth Chart, Pre-Training Camp
The Kansas City Chiefs are a team that fell horribly short of expectations in 2011.
Injuries hit the team hard and it was difficult for them to get out of a tailspin that saw them lose their first three games.
Despite the rash of season-ending injuries, the Chiefs managed to finish the year at 7-9 and remarkably almost made the playoffs.
General Manager Scott Pioli has built a pretty solid team and spent last offseason adding a lot of depth in key spots.
Time will tell if the moves pay off and if the Chiefs can return to the playoffs once again.
Matt Cassel is clearly entrenched as the starter and is in no real danger of losing his starting job this season.
Cassel has played well in spots but has lacked consistency during his time in Kansas City. He needs to play well in 2012, and fans are waiting for him to become a franchise quarterback.
Look for Brady Quinn to snag the backup role despite a charge from young Ricky Stanzi, who has impressed during OTAs.
Quinn is familiar with Brian Daboll's offense, and that should play in his favor.
Jamaal Charles, Peyton Hillis
These two will certainly be sharing the load this season, but if he comes back fully healthy, Jamaal Charles will be the feature back.
Charles has averaged over six yards per carry in his career and is one of the game's most explosive runners. He will likely be brought along slowly in training camp and during September, but Charles is looking to build upon his 2010 Pro Bowl season.
Last year was a rocky one for Peyton Hillis, and the former Razorback signed a one-year deal with Kansas City during the offseason so that he could he prove himself.
Hillis will get plenty of carries behind Charles while helping the Chiefs orchestrate one of the best running games in the league.
Shane Bannon, ???
The Chiefs signed LeRon McClain last year and were hoping he could provide the team with an answer at fullback. Injuries mounted in the backfield and McClain still did not provide much of a spark.
McClain left in free agency, and there are still many questions surrounding the position.
Shane Bannon was drafted in last year's draft out of Yale and will most likely start. The Chiefs could use Peyton Hillis occasionally in the role, too.
Tony Moeaki, Kevin Boss
Tony Moeaki is another Chief returning from major injury. Without him last season, the Chiefs passing game was in shambles.
Moeaki is a tremendous receiving threat at tight end, and his return should benefit Matt Cassel greatly.
His talent has been evident, but Moeaki has had real problems staying healthy since his days in college.
To remedy this, the Chiefs signed Kevin Boss back in March, and he will see the field plenty in 2012.
He was signed as an insurance policy, but Boss will also see some action in two tight sets as well.
Dwayne Bowe, Jonathan Baldwin
Reserves: Steve Breaston, Devon Wylie, Dexter McCluster
Dwayne Bowe is the only legitimate No. 1 receiver the Chiefs have had in ages. He is also playing on a one-year franchise tender.
Bowe has produced greatly during his time as a Chief, and look for him to play inspired football this season in order to increase his value for free agency in 2013.
There is a lot of pressure on last year's first-rounder Jonathan Baldwin to step up and become a viable threat to complement Bowe.
If Baldwin realizes his potential, it will put Steve Breaston in the slot where he excels and help the passing game bounce back.
Starters: Brandon Albert, Ryan Lilja, Rodney Hudson, Jon Asomoah, Eric Winston
Reserves: Jeff Allen, Donald Stephenson
Scott Pioli has done a fantastic job of rebuilding the offensive line during his campaign, and he continued to solidify the group during this year's draft.
In his short time as general manager, Pioli has transformed the bunch into a young and formidable unit.
Brandon Albert is in his contract year, so look for him to continue his admirable work at left tackle in 2012.
Eric Winston (pictured) is one of the premier right tackles in all of football. The former Houston Texan was a superb pickup for the Chiefs during the offseason.
The interior part of the line is looking to get younger as well, and it looks like rookie Jeff Allen might get a chance to play at guard sometime soon.
Starters: Tyson Jackson, Amon Gordon, Glenn Dorsey
Reserves: Jerrell Powe, Dontari Poe, Allen Bailey
The defensive front in Kansas City played really well at times during last season, but nose tackle remains a glaring issue.
They drafted Dontari Poe to fix the problem, and he looks to get a chance to start in 2012. But Amon Gordon came on late last year and shined in the victory over Green Bay.
Even though they have been the subject of much criticism, Tyson Jackson and Glenn Dorsey have started to improve their play at the end spots.
Dorsey was remarkable in 2010 but saw his play dip some last season, and Jackson showed some flashes during last December.
Allen Bailey is a intriguing option at end as well, so look for him to be used in sub-packages heavily.
Starters: Tamba Hali, Derrick Johnson, Jovan Belcher, Justin Houston
Reserves: Brandon Siler, Gabe Miller, Cameron Sheffield
This could be one of the best units in football in 2012, and these linebackers are led by the criminally underrated Tamba Hali.
Hali has a nonstop motor that helps him harass the best tackles in the league on a regular basis.
Derrick Johnson is quite a linebacker in his own right and had his best season as a pro last year. Johnson led the team in tackles on his way to his first Pro Bowl berth.
Standout Justin Houston is going to start opposite Tamba Hali after showing his ability during the later part of 2011.
If Houston excels, Hali should put up career numbers in Romeo Crennel's 3-4 defense.
Jovan Belcher is a decent thumper in the middle and should get the nod once again inside.
Depth might be an issue for Kansas City, and the key backups for the Chiefs this season look to be Brandon Siler, Cameron Sheffield and Gabe Miller.
Siler is returning from Achilles surgery, while Miller and Sheffield are unproven.
Starters: Brandon Flowers, Stanford Routt
Reserves: Javier Arenas, Jalil Brown, Travis Daniels
When the Chiefs lost Brandon Carr in free agency, it was a severe blow. Pioli had planned for the event and signed former Raider Stanford Routt to make up for the loss.
Routt is not the equal of Carr by any means, but along with Brandon Flowers, they form a decent starting duo of corners.
Flowers' physical presence at corner sets the tone for the Kansas City secondary, and he has become an invaluable member of the team.
Javier Arenas has done well at the nickel corner spot, and Travis Daniels and Jalil Brown combine for some nice depth to round out the unit.
Starters: Eric Berry, Kendrick Lewis
Reserves: Donald Washington, DeQuan Menzie
No team missed a player in 2011 as much as Kansas City missed Eric Berry.
Berry made the Pro Bowl in his rookie campaign and has the makings of the next great NFL safety.
The former Volunteer had some blown coverages early in his first season, but Berry was getting better with every game before he injured his knee in last year's opener.
Berry is joined by another SEC alum in Kendrick Lewis, who has solidified the other safety spot since he was drafted in the fifth round in 2010.
Depth is a little bit of an issue here, as Donald Washington and Alabama rookie Dequan Menzie round out the safety spot.
Kicker: Ryan Succop
Punter: Dustin Colquitt
Returner: Javier Arenas, Dexter McCluster, Devon Wylie
The Chiefs have done a good job of filling the specialist roles as of late, and Javier Arenas is an extremely dependable returner. Kansas City also has an explosive Dexter McCluster and rookie Devon Wylie for depth.
Ryan Succop and Dustin Colquitt are a good tandem of kickers, and they should be around for a while.