Missing Pieces the Kansas City Chiefs Could Still Land
Earlier this week, I graded Kansas City's offseason activity and like what the personnel moves the Kansas City Chiefs have made this offseason. At the same time, there are still a couple of holes left on the team, which were not addressed this offseason.
As a two-win team this past season, the Chiefs have room for improvement and can use all the help they can get.
In this slideshow, I will go over areas where the Chiefs could improve and possibly land a player to help bridge the gap. As always, feel free to comment below and join in on the discussion.
Backup Running Back
There is no question that Jamaal Charles is a top-five running back in the league. But in the NFL today, an offense has to operate with two reliable running backs.
Behind Charles, the Chiefs have Knile Davis, Shaun Draughn, Cyrus Gray and Nate Eachus. None of them come off as key No. 2 running backs.
Possible solution: RB Felix Jones
Felix Jones would be a great fit for Andy Reid's offense and will be a better overall football player if he is coached by Reid. The Chiefs have a similar player in Dexter McCluster, who could have an expanded role in 2013.
Reid likes to throw the ball a lot to the running backs. If the Chiefs sign Jones, it would give the offense a lot of flexibility and speed.
No. 2 Wide Receiver
It is no secret that Jon Baldwin has underperformed since coming to the league in 2011. Baldwin was drafted in the first round by the previous regime and has not showed any signs of progress.
The Chiefs signed Donnie Avery, who had career highs in receptions and receiving yards last year with the Indianapolis Colts. But with the potential the Chiefs have, it would be nice to have a viable No. 2 receiver opposite of Dwayne Bowe or to step up in Bowe's absence, if needed.
When Bowe missed the last three games of the 2012 season, an already poor passing game declined even more as Brady Quinn struggled to move the ball through the air.
Possible solution: WR Brandon Lloyd
Brandon Lloyd, born in Kansas City and a Blue Springs high school graduate, has played for three different teams the past three years, trying to follow and stay in touch with Josh McDaniels. But since New England released him, Lloyd has to find a new home.
Giving Lloyd a chance would be a great move and it would excite fans to know that a local product is on the team. This would give Alex Smith another big target to work with this year to help the Chiefs dig themselves out of last place.
Derrick Johnson has turned his career around since 2010 and flourished under Romeo Crennel. The Chiefs have some strong pieces outside of Johnson with Tamba Hali and Justin Houston. However, with the loss of Jovan Belcher during the season and Brandon Siler no longer being on the team, the Chiefs need to consider an inside linebacker to help the defense be stronger.
Former Eagles linebacker Akeem Jordan set a career high for most fumbles forced in a season last year with four. It was the first time in his career creating a forced fumble. But the Chiefs should create competition for Jordan to see if he can carry over some of the success he had, and perhaps improve in other areas.
Possible solution: LB Keith Brooking
Although Keith Brooking will be 38 during the season, it is still worth giving him a shot. Provided that he wants to give it one more season, the Chiefs need to consider adding Brooking to a linebacking corp in need of a little bit of help.
This would give the Chiefs four solid linebackers, forcing opposing offensive coordinators to spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to work around it.
Brooking has been strong, playing all 16 games in a season in the past 12 years.
The Chiefs could use a little bit of help in the defensive backfield, specifically at free safety.
Kendrick Lewis has been inconsistent throughout his time with the Chiefs. If Reid and defensive coordinator Bob Sutton may see potential in Lewis, but bringing in another free safety would not hurt the team.
Possible solution: FS Jairus Byrd
Jairus Byrd was expected to be a free agent after the 2012 season, but the Buffalo Bills designated him as the franchise player this offseason. Byrd has been a big part of Buffalo's defense, starting all 32 games the past two years and collecting eight interceptions and forced seven fumbles in 2011 and 2012 combined.
Byrd is an impact player and is a reliable safety. If the Chiefs can acquire him and place him next to Eric Berry, the Chiefs defense will find a lot of success as long as the outside linebackers continue to add pressure.
The Chiefs drafted McCluster and Javier Arenas in 2010, hoping one or the other could come through as a return specialist. When they both debuted with the Chiefs against the San Diego Chargers on Monday Night Football, both players dominated.
McCluster led the league in punt return yards as Arenas was second after the first game. Since then, the Chiefs have not been able to receive strong production from their returners. Arenas was traded away last week while McCluster remains on the team. The Chiefs also have Devon Wylie, who has some experience returning punts and kickoffs at Fresno State. However, Wylie missed a large portion of his rookie season because of a hamstring injury, leaving the Chiefs with no top contender to be the return specialist.
Possible solution: WR Josh Cribbs
Although the team struggled, Josh Cribbs found a lot of individual success with the Cleveland Browns and earned himself All-Pro honors in 2007 and 2009. The biggest concern with Cribbs is that he failed his physical this offseason with the Arizona Cardinals and still remains a free agent.
If he tries out with the Chiefs and passes his physical, it would be a big improvement for Kansas City's special teams unit and he can be used a little bit on offense as well.