Stock Up, Stock Down for Key Kansas City Chiefs Heading into Camp
Keeping a job at the NFL level is no easy task, and with training camp inching closer, the competition for starting gigs is going to become fierce.
The Chiefs suffered through one of their most disappointing seasons in recent history, but they are still a dangerously talented team.
A rash of injuries derailed the hopes of a second consecutive AFC West title, and new coach Romeo Crennel is hoping that his calm demeanor will help the Chiefs rebound in 2012.
With camp starting in a few weeks, here is how some your Kansas City Chiefs are doing heading into St. Joseph.
Stock Down: Dwayne Bowe
Nothing that Dwayne Bowe is doing on the field is causing his stock to dip, but that fact that his contact issue is unresolved is disheartening.
The Chiefs and Bowe missed the deadline to ink a long-term deal last Monday (KansasCity.com). Now the two sides must wait until December to resolve the dispute, and Bowe must now either sit out the season, or sign his franchise tender.
Bowe will most likely sign his tender sometime in camp in an effort to avoid costly fines, and he should be ready to go for the opener.
As of now, Bowe is missing OTA's and valuable time with returning Matt Cassel, and that is not good for anyone.
Stock Up: Jonathan Baldwin
The status of Dwayne Bowe is uncertain, and Jonathan Baldwin will be looking to make the most of his opportunity when camp opens.
Baldwin has all of the physical tools to become a dominant receiver in this league, and he showed some flashes of brilliance despite a hand injury causing him to miss games early on.
He spent the majority of last season running many of the routes that injured tight end Tony Moeaki would have, so it still remains to be seen if Baldwin can make the transition to wideout at the NFL level.
It will be an interesting scenario to watch play out between Bowe and Baldwin.
When Bowe finally signs his franchise tender, Baldwin will be counted on to draw some attention away from the fifth year standout, while possibly trying to position himself to take Bowe's job in 2013.
Stock Up: Returning Injured Players
The hopes of the 2011 Chiefs were quickly dashed when three key players went down with season-ending ACL injuries before Week 2 was even over.
Jamaal Charles, Tony Moeaki and Eric Berry were all sorely missed, and Kansas City still managed to scrap together a respectable 7-9 record.
Simply put, Jamaal Charles is the most important player on the roster. His return will make a huge impact on a rushing attack that only averaged 3.9 yards per carry in 2011. He will be joined by Peyton Hillis in the backfield this season, and he should help create a formidable rushing duo while Charles can nurse himself back to full strength at a slow pace.
Tony Moeaki was pretty vital in his own right in 2010, and his development at the tight end position was instrumental to the career year that Matt Cassel had that season.
Moeaki was a force in the middle of the field, and his comeback should hopefully help Matt Cassel return to form.
On defense, the Chiefs will benefit with the return of safety Eric Berry, who is on his way to becoming the league's best defenders.
Berry plays the run extremely well and is quickly learning how to become a better cover man.
With almost a full calendar year of recovery time, these three stars should be participating in camp and ready for the season (Arrowhead Pride).
Stock Even: Matt Cassel
There may not be a more polarizing figure in Kansas City history than current quarterback Matt Cassel.
Cassel has only had one productive season for the Chiefs, and many fans are looking for the front office to find a long-term replacement for the USC product.
To be fair, Cassel has not had much help during his tenure at Arrowhead Stadium. Cassel has endured a lockout, a host of offensive coordinators and a rash of injuries while he has been under center. He also endured a season-ending thumb injury during Week 9 last season as well.
When all the elements were in place in 2010, Cassel had his best season as a Chief. Cassel threw for 27 touchdowns and only seven interceptions, while Kansas City won the AFC West.
Cassel is a victim of the dismal quarterback history that has plagued the franchise for the better part of the last 20 seasons. The front office has failed to address the quarterback position long term, and this has been the main reason that the Chiefs have not won a playoff game in two decades.
This has caused the ire of many fans that are desperate for a playoff victory.
Right or wrong, the only way for Cassel to get all of the fans in Kansas City firmly behind him is to make a run deep into the playoffs.
He makes this list because this is likely the last season where his stock can be considered uncertain, and 2012 is truly a boom or bust year for Cassel.
Stock Down: Defensive Line
With three first-round draft picks occupying all spots of the defensive line in Kansas City, expectations will be very high.
At defensive end, two former LSU Tigers man both spots.
Glenn Dorsey was drafted to play tackle, but got pushed outside when the Chiefs went to a 3-4 scheme a few seasons ago. Despite the fact that he is undersized and out of position, Dorsey has played admirably and is set to become a free agent in 2013.
Tyson Jackson was drafted third overall in 2009 and has had a heap of expectations placed upon him. His play improved during the late part of last season, but fans are still waiting for him to live up to his top-five billing.
The real wild card in this scenario is 2012 first-round selection Dontari Poe. Poe was drafted 11th overall in order to fill a giant hole at nose tackle, even though he didn't produce much while he was at Memphis.
Poe had an amazing performance at this year's scouting combine, which helped him shoot up NFL draft boards.
Taking him so early was a huge gamble and if he plays like he did in college, the Chiefs could end up regretting drafting Poe.
Putting the stock arrow down was easy, considering that their are way more questions than answers surrounding the Chiefs defensive line.