Positional Battles in KC...Chiefs Need to Succop to Mr. Irrelevant

James Adkins@KCChiefsBlitzCorrespondent IIMay 14, 2009

LEXINGTON, KY - OCTOBER 11:  Ryan Succop #14 of  the South Carolina Gamecocks kicks a field goal against the Kentucky Widcats during the game at Commonwealth Stadium on October 11, 2008 in Lexington, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

For the past several seasons, most Kansas City Chiefs fans thought Mr. Irrelevant was former General Manager Carl Peterson.  However, thanks to being selected with the last pick in April's draft, Ryan Succop has officially become the new Mr. Irrelevant in Kansas City.  

The Kansas City coaching staff would be thrilled if Succop can enjoy as much success as the last Mr. Irrelevant to play for the Chiefs—quarterback Bill Kenney.  Kenney, who earned the moniker after being drafted last by the Dolphins in 1978, spent nine seasons with the Chiefs and earned his way to a Pro Bowl in 1983 when he threw for 4,348 yards. 

While no one is expecting a Pro Bowl from Succop, he is expected to challenge incumbent Connor Barth for the starting placekicking duties.  Barth, who took over for Nick Novak seven games into last season, was respectable in ten games but had trouble getting the ball deep on kickoffs. 

The Chiefs are hoping that Succop has recovered from the sports hernia that plagued him during his senior season at South Carolina, because his strong leg on kickoffs would be an upgrade over Barth.  

It should make for an interesting battle during training camp and the preseason.

Other positional battles to watch during training camp include...

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Wide Receiver

While Dwayne Bowe isn't your prototypical No.1 receiver, he's by far the best receiver on the Chiefs roster.  The battle will be for the starting spot opposite Bowe. 

General Manager Scott Pioli signed free agents Bobby Engram and Terrance Copper in the offseason to throw into a mix that includes 2008 carryovers Mark Bradley, Devard Darling, and Jeff Webb. 

 If Engram can stay healthy, he will likely start.  However, don't be surprised if Bradley, a former second round pick of the Bears who did well in the Chiefs spread attack last season, sees quite a bit of playing time as well.   

Nose Tackle

Since it appears that the Chiefs will be moving to a 3-4 defense this year, it has also been speculated that last year's first round pick Glenn Dorsey will move outside to end.  

If that happens, it should create an interesting battle between veteran Ron Edwards, former third round pick Tank Tyler, and this year's third round pick Alex Magee for the open nose tackle position. 

While it's likely the Chiefs will start the season with a "by committee" approach, the coach's are hoping Magee can mature quickly and become the long-term solution up the middle.  

He impressed scouts with his play during the entire week of practice leading up to the Senior Bowl, and has the greatest upside of anyone vying for the job.

Backup Quarterback

With the acquisition of Matt Cassel, everyone in Kansas City knows who the Chiefs starting quarterback will be in 2009.  However, it's yet to be determined who will win the backup quarterback job. 

Last year's opening day starter, Brodie Croyle, returns but has yet to prove he can stay healthy.  While he is gifted with a strong arm and can make all the throws, he hasn't been able to stay on the field and is 0-8 in eight starts the past two seasons. 

After Croyle's injury last season, offensive coordinator Chan Gailey changed the offense to more of a spread attack to suit backup Tyler Thigpen.  Thigpen proved effective in the spread and threw for 18 touchdowns in 11 starts. 

Assuming that Gailey's offense will be somewhat similar with Cassel at the helm, it would seem that Thigpen would appear to have the upper hand in the battle for the backup job.