Kansas City ChiefsDownload App

Offseason Power Rankings for Every Player on Kansas City Chiefs' Roster

Brett GeringCorrespondent IDecember 14, 2016

Offseason Power Rankings for Every Player on Kansas City Chiefs' Roster

1 of 27

    Since Andy Reid's hiring, the head coach's shakeups to the Kansas City Chiefs roster have regularly ambushed sports tickers. With free agency waning and the NFL draft in the rear-view, 'tis the season for power ranking. 

    But who are the top 53 players on the Chiefs roster?

    With the regime change, the organization's coaching staff has been completely overhauled, and fresh faces outline Kansas City's OTAs.

    However, the face of the franchise remains a longtime fan favorite. 

Nos. 45–53

2 of 27

    53. Thomas Gafford, LS

    In the grand scheme of things, Thomas Gafford's role on the team seems trivial (and it essentially is). But an accident-prone long snapper is often a catalyst for special teams disasters. 

    Gafford is the definition of reliability.  

     

    52. Jalil Brown, CB

    Scouts have a tendency to become enamored with a player—or vice versa—purely due to his size. Thus far, that appears to be the case with 6'1" Jalil Brown. 

    While he may have been blessed with an ideal frame, he usually gets smoked quicker than Snoop Dogg's dressing room. 

     

    51. Braden Wilson, FB

    The Kansas State standout will face off with Anthony Sherman for reps.

    In terms of lead blocking, Wilson can certainly hold his own. But Sherman's capabilities as a receiver could demote Wilson to the practice squad. 

     

    50. Jerrell Powe, DT

    Powe is a 335-pound roadblock. 

    But in Romeo Crennel's defense, the nose tackle lagged in reading and reacting. Bob Sutton's attack-first-ask-questions-later approach could boost Powe's productivity. 

     

    49. Quintin Demps, SS

    Demps entered the 2008 draft as a relatively promising safety. He hasn't fulfilled expectations, though. 

    Andy Reid, who drafted Demps, recently added him to the roster due to Kansas City's anemic strong safety depth. The bulk of the sixth-year veteran's playing time will be rooted in special teams. 

     

    48. Mike Catapano, OLB

    A minor hamstring injury hindered his progress at OTAs, but Kansas City's final selection of the 2013 draft will battle for second-string snaps. 

    As a senior, Catapano was the recipient of the Ivy League's Defensive Player of the Year award. He embodies a merciless motor and an array of pass-rushing moves, but his growth will ultimately depend upon his adaptation to the leap in competition. 

     

    47. Junior Hemingway, WR

    Dexter McCluster recently tweaked his hamstring during OTAs, and the spotlight shining on Junior Hemingway subsequently increased its wattage. 

    At 225 pounds, it's impossible to miss the wideout while he's dashing down the field. Hemingway won't drop any jaws with his straight-line speed, but he adjusts to the ball well and normally snatches every pass within his wingspan. 

     

    46. Zac Diles, ILB

    Diles represents a serviceable backup.

    However, his production has drastically deteriorated. Diles only managed to record seven solo tackles in 2012—51 fewer than his total just two seasons ago. 

     

    45. Frank Zombo, OLB

    In 2010, Frank Zombo started eight contests and posted four sacks and a pair of forced fumbles. However, nagging injuries have detoured his road to success.

    Fortunately, Tamba Hali and Justin Houston have successfully eluded the injury bug in recent seasons.

     

    Statistics provided by Pro Football Focus (subscription required).

Nos. 40–44

3 of 27

    44. Eric Kush, C

    In his collegiate career, Kush played every position on the offensive line. 

    He's relatively athletic and shows nimble feet. But if he hopes to contribute, the sixth-rounder will need to buff the edges on his fundamentals. 

    C Eric Kush, a 6th rd pick, continues to have problems making snaps. He severely misfired a shotgun snap to Chase Daniel

    — Adam Teicher (@adamteicher) May 22, 2013

     

    43. Terrance Copper, WR

    No aspect of Copper's game is particularly excellent, but he's a decent receiver and valuable special teams player. 

    Year in and year out, Copper finds a way to crack the 53-man roster. 

     

    42. Tyler Bray, QB

    Tyler Bray throws more heat than the Human Torch. 

    He possesses elite arm strength and occasionally flaunts subtle nuances of his craft, such as looking off safeties and pump-faking. 

    But a lackadaisical approach and multiple off-field incidents damaged his reputation, as well as his draft stock. 

    If Bray matures and gives the game his undivided attention, he has shot at becoming an effective starting quarterback. 


    41. Jeff Allen, G

    At Illinois, Allen routinely dominated the opposition, but he soon discovered that college and the NFL are two different animals.

    Bulking up should headline Allen's list of priorities. In 2012, he was periodically bull-rushed and driven back at the point of attack.

     

    40. Anthony Sherman, FB

    When Kansas City traded Javier Arenas for Sherman, the transaction raised a number of eyebrows. But with the arrivals of Dunta Robinson and Sean Smith, Arenas' on-field opportunities would have been significantly reduced. 

    Sherman's solid blocking and distinct receiving skills make him a noteworthy upgrade over Patrick DiMarco. 

Nos. 35-39

4 of 27

    39. Allen Bailey, DE

    Bailey received 127 fewer snaps in 2012 than in his previous season. 

    He's a situational pass rusher, which restricts his time on the field.

    But when the Chiefs called upon him in 2011, the defensive end accounted for three sacks and nine quarterback hurries. 

     

    38. Shaun Draughn, RB

    Last offseason, the battle for the No. 2 running back slot projected to be a toss-up. Eventually, Shaun Draughn earned the job, as Cyrus Gray was continually hampered by injuries. 

    Draughn performed respectably, scoring two touchdowns and averaging 6.4 yards on 24 receptions. 

     

    37. Cyrus Gray, RB

    Gray's role largely teeters on his health. 

    He's a well-rounded halfback and arguably offers more in every facet of the game when compared to Shaun Draughn. 

    If Gray fends off injuries, he could develop into an above-average third-down option. 

     

    36. Sanders Commings, FS

    As he transitions to free safety, Commings is bound to surpass Kendrick Lewis and Husain Abdullah on the depth chart. The veterans' experience extends their lease, though.

    Commings was an athletic, bone-jarring corner in college. And his 4.41 40 time speaks volumes about his closing speed. 

    The rookie might not leapfrog the elder duo this season, but the changeover is inevitable. 

     

    35. Anthony Toribio, DT

    The positional clash between Dontari Poe and Toribio fluctuated throughout last offseason. Poe eventually won by default, as Toribio missed the first four games due to injury.

    Sutton's scheme is tailor-made for Poe's strengths; the opposite holds true for the veteran. 

    However, Toribio still contributes as a serviceable run-stopper.  

     

    Statistics provided by Pro Football Focus (subscription required).

Nos. 30–34

5 of 27

    34. Husain Abdullah, FS

    While Sanders Commings learns the intricacies of the position, Husain Abdullah will pose the most immediate threat to Kendrick Lewis' standing as the starter. 

    Abdullah forfeited the 2012 season to set out on a religious pilgrimage.

    As he shakes off the rust, the free safety should gain ground in promoting himself above Lewis. Throughout 2010 and 2011, the 27-year-old started every contest that he participated in with the Minnesota Vikings

    He accumulated 48 tackles, one interception and one sack over the span of nine games in 2011.

     

    33. Knile Davis, RB

    As a sophomore, Davis exuded game-breaking talent at Arkansas. He averaged 6.5 yards per rush and tacked on 14 total touchdowns. 

    But multiple ankle injuries halted his momentum and rendered him a sideline spectator in 2011. 

    Davis struggled on his road to recovery, averaging a measly 3.4 yards per carry in 2012. He chewed up 157 yards on 11 receptions, but he looked like a shell of his 2010 self during handoffs. 

    The rusher's 4.37 40-yard time and 31 bench press reps at the combine salvaged scraps of his reputation. If Davis returns to peak performance, he provides another home-run threat in Kansas City's backfield.

     

    32. Chase Daniel, QB

    Due to his 6'0" stature, Chase Daniel has endured an uphill climb at the quarterback position. But in his case, who better to learn from than Drew Brees

    The All-Pro mentored Daniel for three years in New Orleans—it's safe to say that the Chiefs' backup understands the game. 

    Daniel is a mobile passer who totes an impressive arm. If Alex Smith were forced to the sidelines, any potential effect on Andy Reid's play-calling would be minimal. 

     

    31. Donald Stephenson, T

    Stephenson performed better than Jeff Allen in 2012, but he wasn't exact a model of consistency, either. 

    He's a quality run-blocker but quicker edge-rushers periodically bested Stephenson on passing downs. However, Andy Reid recently fed him reps at guard, which should slow the game down for Stephenson. 

     

    30. Akeem Jordan, ILB

    If Jordan capitalizes on his opportunity, he will start at strong-side linebacker on opening day. While he owns the all-important edge in pro experience, that's countered by two factors: He weighs 22 pounds less than Nico Johnson, and Johnson played in a 3-4 scheme at Alabama; 2014 will mark Jordan's first time in the defense. 

    But the former Philadelphia Eagles linebacker won't go down without a fight. He has started seven games in each of the past two seasons. While his stats aren't eye-popping, Jordan did force two fumbles in 2012.

    His highest total of starts (10) traces back to 2009, when the thumper logged one sack, two interceptions and defended six passes. 

     

    Statistics provided by Pro Football Focus (subscription required).

Nos. 25–29

6 of 27

    29. Devon Wylie, WR

    Devon Wylie flashes the potential to be a game-changing returner. His 4.39 40 time and joystick agility is a truly rare combination. 

    Like a number of Chiefs, Wylie's downfall comes in the form of injuries, which limited him to six games in his rookie season. 

    If Wylie plays at least three-fourths of the 2013 schedule, he will evolve into a household name in Kansas City. 

     

    28. Nico Johnson, ILB

    Nico Johnson does one thing: stuff the run. But he does that one thing extremely well.

    For Johnson, the invaluable experience serving in Nick Saban's 3-4 defense smooths the transition to Kansas City's scheme. 

    He sheds blocks—from fullbacks and linemen alike—with relative ease, and he's a ruthless tackler when squared with his target. 

    Ultimately, Johnson's chances of starting will correspond to how much of a liability he is in coverage. 

     

    27. Jon Baldwin, WR

    Assigning rank to Jon Baldwin is somewhat difficult: His numbers are deplorable, but a portion of the blame falls on the shoulders—or in this case, arms—of Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn

    Every other time that a pass spiraled Baldwin's way, it seemed to be on a go route—a decision which may be explained by his lackluster route-running. For receivers that played at least 25 percent of their team's offensive snaps, Baldwin ranked last in the percentage (43.5) of targets that he reeled in. Again, though, that number is a byproduct of countless go routes and inaccurate downfield passing. 

    With Alex Smith in the mix, Baldwin's excuses will fall by the wayside in 2013. 

     

    26. Geoff Schwartz, G

    For unknown reasons, Schwartz only participated in 160 snaps for the Minnesoata Vikings in 2012. However, Pro Football Focus' overall ratings ranked the guard No. 27 at his position.

    He's a capable pass blocker and excels in the run game.

    The only open vacancy on Kansas City's line falls at left guard, for which Schwartz will be competing with Jeff Allen (and perhaps Donald Stephenson).  

     

    25. Kendrick Lewis, FS

    As a fifth-round selection, Kendrick Lewis was incredibly productive throughout his first pair of seasons in the league. He created three forced fumbles, defended 16 passes and snatched six interceptions (including one pick-six). 

    A variety of injuries slowed his roll, though. 

    Last season, Lewis played in only nine games and failed to revive his ball-hawk reputation—he didn't account for a single turnover. 

    If the free safety returns to signature form and avoids injury, he will renew his lease at starter. 

     

    Statistics provided by Pro Football Focus (subscription required).

Nos. 21–24

7 of 27

    24. Dontari Poe, DT

    In the 2012 NFL Combine, Dontari Poe floored scouts with his workout. His raw physical talent is undeniable, but it was negated by the reactionary approach of Romeo Crennel's defense. 

    Despite that, Poe still registered 34 solo tackles, tying him for fifth amongst 3-4 defensive tackles. 

    Poe may potentially benefit the most from Andy Reid's defensive overhaul and Bob Sutton's incoming scheme. 

    If OTAs serve as any indication, all signs are pointing in a positive direction. In a recent session, Poe snagged a tipped interception and rumbled into the end zone. 

     

    23. Donnie Avery, WR

    Avery is dynamic on paper and on the field. He can line up outside or in the slot, and the wideout's a human highlight in open space.

    But he doesn't come packaged without his share of flaws, namely his tendency to drop passes.

    Avery mishandled 12 passes last season. Only three receivers—Calvin Johnson, Wes Welker and Brandon Marshall—dropped more attempts, all of whom were targeted significantly more times throughout the year.

    Still, Avery managed to haul in 60 passes in 2012.

     

    22. Tony Moeaki, TE

    When healthy, Tony Moeaki ranks as a top-25 player on the Chiefs roster. Unfortunately, from top to bottom, tight end may be the most competitive position on Kansas City's depth chart—even undrafted rookie Demetrius Johnson is generating buzz at OTAs. 

    Andy Reid praises the way former basketball player Demetrius Harris has worked at OTAs wp.me/p14QSB-96wj

    — ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) May 31, 2013

    Moeaki underwent surgery to have his knee scoped in the offseason and remains the only Chiefs player to not participate in the 2013 OTAs. And because he was continually rag-dolled when in-line blocking last season, rookie Travis Kelce—who excels in blocking—could surpass Moeaki and demote the tight end to third on the depth chart.

    But when Moeaki is at full strength, he contributes as a highly skilled receiving option. 

     

    21. Dustin Colquitt, P

    Colquitt was one of the six Chiefs elected to the Pro Bowl.

    But he's a punter. 

    The position is regularly overlooked, considering a quality punt is often the difference between a field goal and a punt return.

    But Colquitt only takes the field a handful of times throughout games, and he doesn't directly affect the scoreboard.

    Colquitt is borderline elite at what he's tasked with, but his overall value pales in comparison to that of his teammates.

     

    Statistics provided by Pro Football Focus (subscription required).

20. Tyson Jackson, DE

8 of 27

    The vast majority of Tyson Jackson's stats reveal tell-tale signs of a surefire bust. 

    However, toward the tail end of the year, he stringed together three sacks—more than his previous three seasons combined—within a four-game stretch.

    By all accounts, Jackson has been shining in Bob Sutton's system throughout OTAs. 

    Big day today for Tyson Jackson. Knocked down a pair of passes at line and got to Alex Smith for what would have been a sack

    — Adam Teicher (@adamteicher) May 23, 2013

    Jackson lined up in a 4-3 at LSU. While Kansas City still utilizes a 3-4, the defensive linemen in Sutton's scheme share a similarly aggressive mindset to that of a 4-3, which plays to Jackson's strengths.  

    No. 94 clearly needs to continue his offseason trend if he hopes to ink a lucrative contract next year.  

     

    Notable Number (2012):

    Tyson Jackson's three batted passes tied for sixth among 3-4 defensive ends.

     

    Statistics provided by Pro Football Focus (subscription required).

19. Travis Kelce, TE

9 of 27

    Overall, Travis Kelce is the most dynamic member of the tight end trio. He's a far better blocker than Tony Moeaki and considerably more skillful at receiving when compared to Anthony Fasano. 

    However, Fasano's edge in experience will protect his starting status in 2013.

    If Kelce keeps his somewhat volatile personality in check, he should be listed behind Fasano when the Chiefs debut their 2013 depth chart. 

     

    Notable Number (2012):

    Kelce's eight touchdown receptions tied for the second most among FBS tight ends. 

     

    Statistics provided by CFBStats.com.

18. Mike DeVito, DE

10 of 27

    Mike DeVito's game is predicated on sturdy fundamentals and stringent discipline—he's far from flashy.

    DeVito's an antonym for "pass rush"; his M.O. basically boils down to a one-man army of run support. The 3-4 bookend adds a serving a consistency to the defensive line, as he will steadily corral rushers and rarely harm the defense's collective efforts. 

    Kansas City has enlisted hordes of highly touted defensive linemen through the years, but Arrowhead has moonlighted as a graveyard for the unit.

    The coaching staff—particularly Bob Sutton—knows what they're getting with Mike DeVito. 

     

    Notable Number (2012):

    DeVito participated in 635 snaps yet didn't commit a single penalty and only logged one missed tackle.

     

    Statistics provided by Pro Football Focus (subscription required).

17. Anthony Fasano, TE

11 of 27

    Due to Tony Moeaki's alarming injury history and subpar in-line blocking, Andy Reid signed Anthony Fasano.

    From a receiving standpoint, the tight end isn't the most athletically gifted talent, but he's threatening enough to warrant the defense's respect. 

    Blocking is Fasano's bread and butter, though. He consistently holds the line and seals edges, which tags him as an ideal red-zone candidate to chip block and release in the end zone.

     

    Notable Number (2012):

    Fasano was the only tight end to participate in at least half of his offense's snaps and register zero dropped passes. 

     

    Statistics provided by Pro Football Focus (subscription required).

16. Rodney Hudson, C

12 of 27

    Although his 2012 season was derailed by a broken leg in Week 3, Rodney Hudson has made the most of his opportunities. 

    The center has progressed into a well-rounded blocker and especially thrives in the running game. 

    He returned to OTAs at full strength and stated that he matured mentally throughout his torturous absence.

    If Hudson and his big-bodied cohorts evade injury, the Chiefs project to start four dominant bodyguards on the offensive line.

     

    Notable Number (2012):

    Over the course of his 108 passing snaps, Hudson sacrificed no sacks and only one quarterback hurry.  

     

    Statistics provided by Pro Football Focus (subscription required).

15. Ryan Succop, K

13 of 27

    Kansas City's No. 32 scoring offense tallied an atrocious total of 211 points in 2012. Ryan Succop accounted for 101 of those 211 points.

    In other words, the Chiefs' kicker accounted for 47.9 percent of the team's points. 

    Kansas City clawed just to move the ball past midfield last season. But when the offense did, Succop usually rewarded the effort. 

     

    Notable Number (2012):

    Succop split the uprights in 12 of his 14 attempts beyond 40 yards. 

     

    Statistics provided by Pro Football Focus (subscription required).

14. Dunta Robinson, CB

14 of 27

    Since 2004, Dunta Robinson has developed the reputation of a hard-nosed battering ram who cleans more clocks than Big Ben's maintenance crew.

    Obviously, that mentality makes for a double-edged sword.

    When evaluating Robinson's skill set, the closest local comparison comes in the 2012 form of Eric Berry. But Berry's shortcomings were largely due to his rehabilitating ACL creating mental hurdles; Robinson's emanate from age and accrued injuries. 

    If juxtaposed, a number of discernible differences lie between the two. But throughout the first eight weeks of 2012, Berry stormed out of the tunnel as a defensive wild card. When rumbling downhill against the run, he flourished; when planting and changing direction against the pass, he struggled. 

    The same generally holds true for Robinson: He authors both heart-pumping highlights and frustrating lowlights. 

    Run or pass, Robinson is masterful when hovering around the line of scrimmage post-snap, but he typically excels in zone schemes as opposed to man coverage. When assigned a designated zone, the hard-hitting corner is afforded the luxury of reading the quarterback, and his uncommon instincts normally capitalize and disrupt the play call. 

    In man coverage, Robinson occasionally over-commits on routes, which tends to leave him victimized by average agility.  

    Regardless, Robinson presents an infinitely stronger cornerback option than Stanford Routt or Javier Arenas. 

     

    Notable Number (2012):

    Pro Football Focus defines defensive stops as the act of preventing the offense from "gaining 40% of required yardage on first down, 60% on second down, and the entire required yardage on third or fourth."

    Robinson recorded 32 such stops, ranking him second amongst cornerbacks.

     

    Statistics provided by Pro Football Focus (subscription required).

13. Sean Smith, CB

15 of 27

    Adding Sean Smith to the roster evokes flashbacks of the former cornerback tandem of Brandon Flowers and Brandon Carr. However, while their skill set was carved from the same cloth, Smith is roughly three inches taller and eight pounds heavier than Carr. 

    During his four-year stint with the Miami Dolphins, he reinforced his standing as an impactful and opportunistic No. 2 cornerback. But with Dunta Robinson in the fold, Smith's playing time could be limited to sub packages.

    Normally, a player of his stature is confined to roaming the field's outskirts: Tall cornerbacks greatly reduce a quarterback's margin of error on sideline lobs, and shorter defenders are typically more agile, which brands them as better candidates to cover the middle of the field. Andy Reid seemingly still abides by that rule of thumb, considering the team has experimented with sliding Flowers to cover the slot within sub formations. 

    But coordinator Bob Sutton could have wide-ranging plans for Smith.

    Sutton's affinity for blitzing has been the worst-kept secret at Chiefs OTAs. Eric Berry doubles as a playmaking missile disguised as a safety, and Smith qualifies as a prime nominee to cover tight ends when Berry blitzes. 

     

    Notable Number (2012):

    Passers arced passes in Smith's direction 113 times—the most targets of any cornerback in the league. However, Smith effectively stonewalled 45.1 percent of the attempts. 

     

    Statistics provided by Pro Football Focus (subscription required).

12. Dexter McCluster, WR

16 of 27

    Dexter McCluster has proven to be a positional enigma, but his ability to play multiple positions makes offensive coordinators drool like newborns. 

    In his rookie debut against the San Diego Chargers, McCluster ensured there were more bolts in the stands than on the field as he electrified Arrowhead with a 94-yard punt-return touchdown

    Throughout 2011, No. 22 verified his lethality as a runner by averaging 4.5 yards per carry on 114 handoffs. 

    Fast-forward to the following year, and McCluster cemented his worth as a slot receiver after snatching 52 receptions. 

    He's a walking mismatch. Kansas City's 2010 coaching staff realized that; 2012's didn't.

    Fortunately, Andy Reid's progressive mindset should unscrew the clamps placed on McCluster last season. Fox Sports' Jeffrey Flanagan agrees, citing Reid's evaluation of the speedster which stated, "He was really put in one position as a slot receiver. I think his value—and it’s a tribute to him—is that you can move him into different spots where you can utilize his talents the best."

    Under Reid's guidance, McCluster's workload will seemingly teeter-totter between the slot and backfield, while also including a healthy dose of returning duties. 

     

    Notable Number (2010):

    As a rookie, McCluster averaged 15.5 yards per punt return, ranking him fourth amongst players who fielded a minimum of 10 punts.  

     

    Statistics provided by Pro Football Focus (subscription required).

11. Eric Fisher, T

17 of 27

    Eric Fisher's fundamentally sound and athletically gifted with a hint of a nastiness. 

    The No. 1 overall pick of the 2013 NFL draft shows all the signs of becoming an elite 306-pound security blanket over the next decade. 

    Fisher's incredible sense of balance can be attributed to his technique and athleticism. And even on the rare occasion that he loses leverage, Kansas City's right tackle consistently re-anchors and redeems himself. 

    Fisher also excels in open space, which will bode well for him while moving forward in Andy Reid's offense. 

    Coming out of college, the first-year fortifier is a more skillful prospect than was Branden Albert in 2008. But Albert has solidified his status as a respected NFL tackle—Fisher is still studying for the final exam.  

     

    Notable Number (2012):

    As a senior at Central Michigan, Fisher captained a unit that allowed just 15 sacks.

     

    Statistics provided by CMUChippewas.com.

10. Branden Albert, T

18 of 27

    One month ago, Branden Albert was destined to take his talents to South Beach. The Chiefs drafted an offensive tackle No. 1 overall, the Miami Dolphins were starving to fill a void at left tackle and ultimately passed on the need in the first round—the stars were aligned. 

    Then sports happened.

    The inevitable trade proved to be anything but, and Albert subsequently rejoined the Chiefs.

    The reunion sprouts two selling points: It will answer health concerns regarding Albert's back, and it lends an additional coat of insurance to a team that underwent the most extreme overhaul of the 2013 offseason. 

    Additionally, retaining Albert buys time for Eric Fisher to acclimate to the NFL without being thrust into the spotlight. 

    Albert represents a seasoned, trustworthy veteran who knows every trick of the pass-rushing trade

     

    Notable Number (2012):

    In 12 games last season, Albert allowed only one sack and 12 quarterback hurries.

     

    Statistics provided by Pro Football Focus (subscription required).

9. Eric Berry, SS

19 of 27

    When Eric Berry runs downhill, his pupils morph into wrecking balls and somebody's list of regrets adds another entry.

    He hits like his shoulder pads are manufactured by bricklayers. 

    However, while rebounding from 2011's ACL tear, the first half of Berry's 2012 season proved to be an uphill struggle in uncharted territory. It was clear that he didn't trust his knee and was fearful of history repeating itself. 

    During a recent interview on The Drive with Danny Parkins, the Chiefs' scintillating safety confessed, "I was a step behind, just as far as coming out of my breaks and stuff, just because I was not sure [about planting]."

    But Berry began to right the ship throughout the latter half of last season.  

    In his first eight games, the playmaker was targeted 29 times and allowed 23 receptions (79.3 completion percentage) for 204 yards. Throughout the final eight weeks, quarterbacks tested Berry 34 times, but he only conceded 17 catches for 165 yards. 

    If that trend bleeds into 2013, fans will witness Berry's evolution from a flawed difference-maker to a bona fide game-changer. 

     

    Notable Number (2012): 

    From opening day to the end of Week 9, Berry only managed to defend one pass; he defended eight by season's end.  

     

    Statistics provided by Pro Football Focus (subscription required).

8. Jon Asamoah, G

20 of 27

    Sitting behind a revered veteran and soaking in knowledge is a luxury for incoming rookies. Such was the case for Jon Asamoah, who was tutored by former Pro Bowler Brian Waters. 

    Judging by Asamoah's first impressions, he's well on his way to following Waters' gargantuan footsteps. 

    The mountainous right guard has made significant strides in each of his first three seasons. While his pass blocking never served as an area of concern, the same couldn't be said for his run blocking—that drastically changed in 2012.

    Last season, Jamaal Charles averaged 5.2 yards per carry when rushing through the A- and B-gaps on the right side of the offensive line—the two gaps that Asamoah claims responsibility for. 

    With Eric Fisher and Branden Albert in the mix, the fourth-year guard won't garner a scrapbook of headlines next season. However, Asamoah could evolve into a perennial Pro Bowler in the near future. 

     

    Notable Number (2012):

    Asamoah lined up and blocked during all but one of the Chiefs' offensive snaps. 

     

    Statistics provided by Pro Football Focus (subscription required).

7. Tamba Hali, OLB

21 of 27

    One word comes to mind when somebody mentions Tamba Hali: "sacks."

    Being that Hali's sack totals have steadily diminished throughout the past three years, critics will generally assume that the drop correlates to his effectiveness. But other factors come into play.

    In 2011, Hali rushed passers on 459 snaps and dropped into coverage 69 times. Despite playing one fewer game, the blindsiding sack artist was forced into coverage on 12 more occasions (81 overall) and was granted 54 fewer pass-rushing opportunities (405) in 2012. 

     

    Notable Number (2012):

    While Justin Houston registered one more sack (10) than Hali, the edge-rushing elder returned the favor by recording one more quarterback hurry (28).

     

    Statistics provided by Pro Football Focus (subscription required).

6. Dwayne Bowe, WR

22 of 27

    Dwayne Bowe doesn't possess Jon Baldwin's superior athleticism, Dexter McCluster's bolting acceleration nor Donnie Avery's sixth-gear speed. 

    However, his attention to detail and taxing physicality have molded him into a household name.

    Bowe has participated in all 16 contests in four of his six NFL seasons. And throughout those four years, the wideout has averaged 1,085 yards receiving per season. 

    The longtime fan favorite takes the field as a precise route-runner who periodically reels in the awe-inspiring catch. He's also a willing and capable run-blocker. 

    Unfortunately, Bowe has been forced to endure abysmal quarterback play throughout his first six seasons. And to compound his misfortune, Kansas City's star has never lined up opposite a legitimate No. 2 receiver. 

    Despite that, he still managed to headline the league with 15 touchdown receptions in 2010.

     

    Notable Number (2012):

    Bowe is nothing if not fearless: He was most targeted (20 passes) 10 to 19 yards downfield and between the hash marks. 

     

    Statistics provided by Pro Football Focus (subscription required).

5. Alex Smith, QB

23 of 27

    Kansas City's most explosive offensive threat comes in the form of Jamaal Charles, which naturally beefs up the bait for play-action passes.

    Need proof? In 2012, Brady Quinn completed a meager 53.8 percent of his attempts during regular dropbacks, but that number ballooned to 70.3 percent when play-action was executed. The 16.5-percent difference represented the largest swing in the league. 

    Kansas City recruited a play-action specialist in trading for Alex Smith. Last season, the systematic slinger led the league in completing 70.2 percent of his passes. But furthermore, he also doubled as the NFL's most efficient play-action passer. When faking handoffs, Smith's 77.6 completion percentage and 11.8 yards per attempt bested all of his passing peers.  

    The newest face of the franchise compensates for average arm strength with a methodical ability to read coverages and pinpoint delivery. 

    Kansas City hasn't debuted a credible quarterback under center since Trent Green arrived from St. Louis—that changes in 2013. 

     

    Notable Number (2012):

    When opposing defenses blitzed, Smith connected on 70.3 percent of his attempts and posted eight touchdowns to only one interception. 

     

    Statistics provided by Pro Football Focus (subscription required).

4. Brandon Flowers, CB

24 of 27

    Brandon Flowers has proven to be one of the stingiest cornerbacks in the NFL, yet remains severely underrated. Scouts could spot Waldo at Arrowhead before finding a deficiency in No. 24's game. 

    He symbolizes the total package: savvy awareness, dime-stopping agility and opportunistic ball skills.

    His deceiving physicality also gives Flowers a leg up in press coverage.

    Flinging it in the vicinity of the sixth-year corner is tempting fate, which most quarterbacks wisely avoid. However, with the additions of Dunta Robinson and Sean Smith, the Chiefs now tote a seemingly superb trio of corners.

    As a result, Flowers may see more spirals in his direction throughout next season, possibly leading to a career year and a long-overdue Pro Bowl nod.  

     

    Notable Number (2012):

    Flowers limited his targets to two receptions or fewer in eight of his 14 games. No receiver recorded a 100-yard effort on his watch. 

     

    Statistics provided by Pro Football Focus (subscription required).

3. Justin Houston, OLB

25 of 27

    In 2011, Kansas City used the sixth pick of the third round to draft Justin Houston. One season later, that third-round selection sprouted a Pro Bowl outside linebacker. 

    While Scott Pioli's tour to termination revealed more valleys than peaks, Houston represents a proud feather in his draft cap—a broken clock is right twice a day.

    Last season, the electrifying edge-rusher outperformed his perennial All-Pro teammate, Tamba Hali. Houston embodies the same level of pass-rushing prowess as No. 91 but outshines him in open-field scenarios.

    Hali packs no sour grapes, though. As video by Chief Concerns shows, he marveled at Houston's freakish DNA following a recent practice, offering, "He'll put four [weight] plates on each side and rep it six times. I can't do that."

     

    Notable Number (2012):

    Houston's 50 solo tackles ranked second amongst 3-4 outside linebackers.

     

    Statistics provided by Pro Football Focus (subscription required).

2. Derrick Johnson, ILB

26 of 27

    Thank you, Todd Haley.

    Sincerely yours, Kansas City. 

    In 2009, Haley's notorious no-nonsense attitude tagged along as he boarded a plane en route to KCI. That attitude ultimately head-butted Derrick Johnson's, resulting in the weak-side linebacker's ego shriveling on the bench. 

    Two years later, Johnson's wardrobe added a hint of Honolulu—before being donated to Andy Reid's draft-day ensemble—as he packed his bags as a Pro Bowler. 

    Kansas City's interior watchdog has evolved into a downhill disruptor in the past three seasons. While his number has been sparingly called for pass-rushing purposes, his constant backfield presence denotes his impact as a blitzer.

    Adding the aforementioned quality to Bob Sutton's incoming scheme pens a recipe for success. 

     

    Notable Number (2012):

    Johnson's 60 run stoppages served as the league's highest total amongst inside linebackers.  

     

    Statistics provided by Pro Football Focus (subscription required).

1. Jamaal Charles, RB

27 of 27

    Jamaal Charles currently lines up as the NFL's all-time leader in yards per carry amongst running backs (minimum of 500 attempts). More impressively, he claimed the title while endlessly combating stacked boxes.

    No. 25 stepped onto the NFL scene in 2008 and only received 67 carries throughout his rookie campaign. Due to his cringing ACL injury, Kansas City's rousing rusher only handled 11 attempts in 2011.

    The bulk of his handoffs took place in the 2009, 2010 and 2012 seasons. In those respective years, the Chiefs outputted the 25th-, 30th- and 32nd-ranked passing offenses. But the fleet-footed rusher defied the odds, averaging more than 5.3 yards per attempt in all five of his individual seasons (5.8 yards per rush throughout his career). 

    Charles has been the heartbeat of the Chiefs offense; the sole source of fuel within an offensive machine that otherwise chokes on fumes. 

     

    Notable Number (2012):

    638 of Charles' 1,509 rushing yards (42.3 percent) stemmed from carries of 15 yards or more. Only the 2012 NFL MVP, Adrian Peterson, saw a higher percentage (56.5) of his total rushing yardage derive from handoffs of 15-plus yards. 

     

    Statistics provided by Pro Football Focus (subscription required).

     

    Brett's Twitter: 

    Brett's Email: gering.brett@gmail.com

Where can I comment?

Stay on your game

Latest news, insights, and forecasts on your teams across leagues.

Choose Teams
Get it on the App StoreGet it on Google Play

Real-time news for your teams right on your mobile device.

Download
Copyright © 2017 Bleacher Report, Inc. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. All Rights Reserved. BleacherReport.com is part of Bleacher Report – Turner Sports Network, part of the Turner Sports and Entertainment Network. Certain photos copyright © 2017 Getty Images. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of Getty Images is strictly prohibited. AdChoices