OTA's are in full session, training camp is right around the corner, and there is much optimism around the 2010 version of the Kansas City Chiefs. The next couple months will see many players coming and going and starting positions being locked down by deserving candidates. The following list is my projections of the KC offensive starters heading into training camp next month.
The former USC and New England Patriots backup has all but locked up the starting QB spot for the Kansas Chiefs this year, barring any sort of injury. The sixty-million dollar man has only had one year to prove that he is indeed worth that amount of money, and Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli and head coach Todd Haley are nowhere near giving up on their most prized possession, and are hoping that Cassel can perform well this year and secure the starting QB position for years to come in Kansas City.
The former standout at the University of Texas, Charles has more than made a name for himself already in the NFL with his unbelievable 1,100 yards rushing in just 10 starts for KC last year. Charles will look to continue what he started last season, as he will be the unanimous starter at running back for the Chiefs. With the off-season addition of free agent RB Thomas Jones, Charles will not get as many carries as he did in his ten games last season, but he will still be expected to start every game and get a majority of the workload for the Chiefs running game.
A solid full-back in college with Georgia Tech, Cox was an undrafted free agent that the Chiefs scooped up before the 2008 season. He has shown signs of solid fullback play in his first two seasons, but with little to no competition at this position on the current team, Cox looks to hold up his starting spot at fullback for another year.
Mr. Pope was brought in by head coach Todd Haley during the 2009 season as another weapon for QB Matt Cassel and the KC passing game. Pope provides a big frame at 6'8, 265, but he needs to continue to improve his game this season to hold down his starting spot, as former starter Brad Cottam and rookie Tony Moeaki will be breathing down his neck for his job.
Dwayne Bowe will most likely be the #1 wide receiver in the Chiefs receiving corps this year, but he needs to get back to his form from his first two seasons, which saw the LSU product average over 1,000 yards receiving and 6 touchdowns. He has his work cut out for him, but Bowe is currently the franchise receiver for Kansas City, and he hopes to show why he is that talented this season.
The former Wisconsin Badger was another in-season pickup by Scott Pioli and Co. who turned out to be a huge steal for Kansas City last year. He finished the season with 36 catches for 608 yards in just nine games a Chief. More importantly, he became a solid option for QB Matt Cassel and he will look to continue to hold down his spot as a starter receiving opposite Dwayne Bowe for the 2010 season.
The former 1st-rounder Albert has not quite lived up to his hype yet, but has for the most part, been a starter on the left side of the Chiefs O-line since his arrival to Kansas City in 2008. Albert had a strong showing at the end of last season, as he didn't allow any sacks for the last six games of the season. Albert and the rest of the Chiefs hope that he can continue this into this season, as he is without a question the Chiefs starter at left tackle, and could be for awhile.
Waters has seen about anything and everything occur in Kansas City since he was signed by the Chiefs as an undrafted free agent in 2000. He has been selected to four Pro Bowls, but he has also shown his age at times in recent year. He is the starter at left guard for now, until rookie Jon Asamoah knocks him out or someone else takes this big man's spot.
The former Chiefs center has found his way back to Kansas City via free agency. Wiegmann might not be as mobile as he once was in his younger playing days, but he can still be a very dominating lineman at times, as he was a Pro-Bowler for Denver just two seasons ago, in 2008. He will be battling with incumbent Chiefs center Rudy Niswanger, but that's not saying much considering how badly Niswanger struggled last year for KC. Without question, Wiegmann is the current starter at center for the Chiefs.
Ryan Lilja, like fellow offensive lineman teammate Casey Wiegmann, is a former Chief, and he is one that KC should of never let go in the first place. Since Kansas City let him go in 2004, Lilja played for the Colts for six years and started at right guard for Indianapolis in two Super Bowls along the way. He is the sure starter at RG, as the Chiefs have since released their starters at this position from last season.
O'Cally was a former 5th round draft pick from the New England Patriots that Scott Pioli decided to bring in prior to the '09 season. He ended up starting 12 games for Kansas City, and became one of the few brights spots on an otherwise horrible offensive line last year. He should have competition from form Chiefs draft pick Barry Richardson, but O'Callaghan only needs to stay healthy to secure his spot on the right side of the Chiefs line.