The Kansas City Chiefs have long been the bottom-feeders in the AFC West. This year, the Chiefs have young, raw talent that the team has drafted over the past two-three seasons, as well as players acquired via free agency.
This list ranks the Top 10 Chiefs that will have the biggest impact on the team in the 2010 season.
Corey Mays isn't exactly a household name, yet he was the centerpiece of the Kansas City Chiefs defense last season, in which Mays made 85 tackles.
The 2009 season was Mays' first as a starter and his fourth in the NFL. Learning the inside linebacker position can be difficult, but the former Notre Dame product is catching on, and his production is necessary for success.
Brandon Flowers is a young talent, more than capable of becoming a top-tier cornerback in the NFL as he enters his third season in the pros. Last year, Flowers made 65 tackles, forced two fumbles, picked off five passes, and deflected another 23.
Flowers needs to be consistent this season against the pass, and his play will have a definite impact, whether positive or negative.
The Chiefs added another dynamic playmaker in Javier Arenas, out of Alabama. The 22-year-old made 70 tackles, five sacks, and intercepted five passes. Arenas was a threat in the return game as well, racking up 1,044 yards on 101 kick and punt returns.
Arenas is not only extremely agile on defense, but he can make tackles and is very versatile. His small stature will give him limited snaps on defense, but look for him to be a major factor for the Chiefs special teams.
Dexter McCluster was a dominating play maker at Ole Miss, and has the ability and speed to break a 40+ yard rush at any time. Last season at Ole Miss, the Rebel rushed only 181 times, yet gained 1,169 yards and scored eight touchdowns. McCluster also caught 44 passes for 520 yards and three touchdowns.
With the Chiefs moving McCluster to the slot receiver position, McCluster will exploit the larger and slower linebackers over the middle, using his speed to turn a short pass into a monster gain.
Tamba Hali was the shining point of an otherwise lackluster defense. Hali led the team with a dismal 8.5 sacks, but he also accounted for 62 tackles, and forced four fumbles.
Hali will be needed to put the necessary pressure on the opposing quarterback, forcing him to throw towards Brandon Flowers, Javier Arenas, or Eric Berry in the secondary.
The Chiefs selected Eric Berry, "The Next Ed Reed" out of Tennessee to be the physical playmaker they so desperately need in the center of the field. Berry is excellent in run support, is quick to make his reads, and is always hustling.
He exhibits great leadership skills, and the Chiefs really need him to live up to his No. 5 overall selection in the 2010 NFL draft.
Dwayne Bowe has been utterly disappointing for the Kansas City Chiefs, and hasn't been able to live up to his potential. In nine starts last season, Bowe caught 47 passes for 589 yards and four touchdowns. Bowe needs to keep his head straight and work hard this year if he hopes to stay on the team past the 2010 season, as he is becoming a distraction off the field, and has still yet to perform ON it.
Jamaal Charles burst onto the scene last season, eclipsing the 1,000 yard plateau in under 200 carries! He also scored seven touchdowns. Charles' speed and agility is key for a team with major questions on the offensive line, and is a viable receiving threat out of the backfield.
Charles caught 40 passes for 297 yards and a touchdown last year.
When the Chiefs acquired Matt Cassell before last season, the Chiefs thought the answers to their prayers had come. Instead, Cassell threw 16 touchdowns, and the same amount of interceptions, for only 2,924 yards.
Cassell was sacked a phenomenal 42 times, and fumbled 14 times. If the Chiefs hope to go anywhere this season, Cassell will be the one making the impact. If he can manage the game, and get the ball to the play makers around him, they will be alright. If he holds onto the ball for too long, or makes poor decisions, the Chiefs will be at the bottom of the AFC West yet again.