Breaking Down Kansas City's Depth Chart After the Peak of Free Agency
As the end of March is upon us, football fans in Kansas City can't help but be excited for the upcoming season. The Chiefs may not be declared as early winners for the 2013 offseason, but the moves Chiefs general manager John Dorsey has made have Chiefs fans wanting the 2013 season to kick off sooner than September.
The Chiefs have made significant changes this offseason, making them look better than the 2-14 record they earned this past year.
In this slideshow, I will go through and break down Kansas City's current depth chart. As always, discuss your opinions or respond to any of my comments below.
Quarterbacks: Alex Smith, Chase Daniel, Ricky Stanzi, Alex Tanney
The Chiefs hit front-page news when they acquired Alex Smith from the San Francisco 49ers through a trade. Smith, an immediate upgrade over former Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel, led the 49ers to an NFC Championship game two seasons ago. Despite falling back on the depth chart after an opportunity opened up for Colin Kaepernick, Smith was the most targeted quarterback this offseason.
Dorsey obviously felt that Smith was better than all of the quarterbacks entering this year's draft, so he felt it was best to get Smith over a rookie. But the Chiefs don't have a strong supporting cast behind Smith in case he gets hurt.
Chase Daniel and Ricky Stanzi found a lot of success in college. Daniel had an incredible career at Missouri and Stanzi had the same thing it Iowa. But neither performances have carried over to the professional level.
Daniel has only attempted nine passes in his career while Stanzi has yet to take a snap in a regular-season game.
Running backs: Jamaal Charles, Shaun Draughn, Cyrus Gray and Nate Eachus
Jamaal Charles is one of the most dangerous players in the league. He led the AFC in rushing in 2012 and earned his second Pro Bowl bid.
Charles' speed can hurt a defense, but 2012 will be interesting for him.
He won't have Thomas Jones nor Peyton Hillis. Charles will also play under head coach Andy Reid, who is known to use running backs differently than most coaches in the NFL. Fans can expect to see Charles be more active in the passing game.
Shaun Draughn got a lot of touches in place of Hillis and is likely to return to the team. The Chiefs also have second-year tailbacks Cyrus Gray and Nate Eachus, who combined for 12 carries in 2012.
Fullbacks: Patrick DiMarco and Ryan D'Imperio
There aren't a lot of comments that can be made about Patrick DiMarco and Ryan D'Imperio.
As of now, it appears these two young fullbacks will battle in training camp to be the starter.
Wide receivers: Dwayne Bowe, Jon Baldwin, Dexter McCluster, Terrance Copper, Devon Wylie, Donnie Avery, Jamar Newsome, Josh Bellamy, Tyler Shoemaker, Junior Hemingway and Mardy Gilyard.
There is no question that Dwayne Bowe is Kansas City's top threat through the air, despite a quiet 2012 season. Bowe has been retained long term and has a chance to find a lot of success under Reid. Dexter McCluster's role should also be interesting as Reid likes to use fast football players on the ground and through the air.
Kansas City also looks to get better with Donnie Avery on board, giving Smith another target.
The biggest question revolves around Jon Baldwin. A 2011 first-round pick, Baldwin was 21st in receptions and 19th in yards among all second-year pass-catchers.
If Baldwin can step up with Smith as his new quarterback and Reid as his new coach, that can take the Chiefs far and have them become one of the best offensive teams in the league.
Tight ends: Tony Moeaki, Anthony Fasano and Kevin Brock
Tony Moeaki had a quiet return in 2013 and Kevin Boss had a quiet season.
Moeaki will be joined this year by Anthony Fasano, who has a lot of experience playing and has played well as an individual. If Moeaki and Fasano both make the team, fans will see Moeaki and Fasano do what the team was expected to do last year with Boss on board.
Left tackles: Branden Albert and Steven Baker
Branden Albert received the franchise tag earlier this month and the rumors of him being shopped have made many wondering what his future will be.
Albert allowed one sack in 13 games, which is misleading because he missed both games against the Denver Broncos.
If Albert ends up leaving Kansas City, there is no question the Chiefs will grab Luke Joeckel from Texas A&M or Eric Fisher from Central Michigan.
As of now, Albert has a very uncertain future and he is only okay with playing left tackle.
Left guards: Jeff Allen, Geoff Schwartz and Ryan Durand
Jeff Allen has a pleasantly surprising rookie year in 2012 for the Chiefs after unexpectedly having his number called. He allowed only three sacks and was penalized just four times in 13 starts.
But with the Chiefs signing Geoff Schwartz, there might be some competition for the left guard spot.
Schwartz started all 16 games in 2010 with Carolina, but didn't start in 2012 for Minnesota. He has a chance at a starting spot in Kansas City.
Centers: Rodney Hudson, Bryan Mattison and Luke Patterson
At this point, the center position might belong to Rodney Hudson, but the job is still wide open.
After Casey Wiegmann's one-year contract expired, Rodney Hudson filled in, but started only three games after his season ended early due to injury. Hudson enters his third year in the league after being drafted in the second-ound in 2011. He's started only four games, three at center and one at guard.
Bryan Mattison might be given a shot to start, but with some experience as a defensive lineman, he may be shifted to the defense at some point if the Chiefs feel it's the right move.
As of now, the Chiefs don't have a reliable center and might need to look for one in the upcoming draft.
Right guard: Jon Asamoah and Rich Ranglin
The right guard position seems to be the spot that is certain going into the 2013 season.
In Jon Asamoah's three years with the Chiefs, he's committed only six penalties and allowed only five sacks. The Chiefs have an underrated right guard in Asamoah, who is stepping up after the loss of Brian Waters and Ryan Lilja from the past couple of years.
Rich Ranglin, Asamoah's backup, has some experience playing arena football and is trying to bring his experience with him to Kansas City at the professional level.
Right tackles: Donald Stephenson and Dustin Waldron
As a rookie, Donald Stephenson saw action in 16 games, starting seven of them. But Stephenson had some trouble getting into a rhythm. He was penalized five times and allowed as many sacks during his rookie season.
The Blue Springs, Mo. native is currently the right guy for the job after the Chiefs released Eric Winston. But with a lot of the offseason yet to go, Stephenson may not be the starter.
With the draft yet to go, Joeckel or Fisher might push Stephenson back on the depth chart if one is asked to start.
Left defensive ends: Tyson Jackson and Marcus Dixon
Right defensive ends: Mike Devito and Allen Bailey
Nose tackles: Dontari Poe, Anthony Toribio, Jerrell Powe and Daniel Muir
The Chiefs have drafted three defensive linemen in the first round since 2007, yet all of them have been fairly quiet throughout their careers.
Dontari Poe, however, has been with the Chiefs for only a year. Poe showed some potential as a nose tackle, but was drafted under Romeo Crennel. Poe's transition from his rookie to second season in the league will come with the caveat of a new head coach, which can make the transition more challenging.
Tyson Jackson showed some promise during a four-game stretch last season where he hurried quarterbacks and batted down some passes. If he can carry that over to a 16-game season in 2013 and impress the new regime, he'll earn himself a new contract in Kansas City.
The right end spot is the one that is wide open. Allen Bailey and Mike Devito will go at it in training camp and new defensive coordinator Bob Sutton must keep a close eye on that battle.
Inside linebackers: Derrick Johnson and Cory Greenwood
Outside linebackers: Tamba Hali, Justin Houston, Andy Studebaker and Edgar Jones
Pro Bowl linebackers Tamba Hali, Justin Houston and Derrick Johnson were the bright spots of a 2-14 team in 2012 and managed to help give the Chiefs opportunities to compete in some games.
Hali and Houston make a fantastic duo and opposing quarterbacks in 2013 will need their offensive tackles to play their best against the Chiefs. The two outside linebackers combined for 19 sacks.
The Chiefs have one of the best linebacking corps in the league that will help Sutton's defense this year.
With Johnson and Cory Greenwood being the only inside linebackers, the Chiefs must search for more bodies through free agency and the draft to help Johnson with the interior defense.
The linebackers will be an important part of Kansas City's success in 2013.
Cornerbacks: Brandon Flowers, Sean Smith, Dunta Robinson, Javier Arenas, Jalil Brown, Neiko Thorpe and DeQuan Menzie.
Safeties: Eric Berry, Kendrick Lewis, Tysyn Hartman, Jose Gumbs and Husain Abdullah
Dorsey has been pretty active with adding cornerbacks this offseason for the Chiefs. Since the loss of Brandon Carr and a disappointing, short-lived run from Stanford Routt, the Chiefs added Dunta Robinson from Atlanta and Sean Smith from Miami.
This will help Kansas City as it faces a Denver team that is loaded with wide receivers. In a pass-heavy league, having a lot of cornerbacks is always a good thing.
The Chiefs are also set on safeties with Kendrick Lewis and Eric Berry. Berry wasn't in his rookie form as he took some steps back, but is still considered a good safety after receiving a Pro Bowl invitation.
If Hali and Houston continue to apply pressure on quarterbacks, Berry, Flowers and the other defensive backs can come away with a lot of interceptions to help the Chiefs in 2013.