We continue on with the top 10 Kansas City Chiefs stories of the year and the voters have spoken at No. 8 -- Derrick Johnson. The Chiefs linebacker is a curious case because we really had no idea what to think of him entering the 2010 season.
We knew DJ had natural talent and we knew he was fast and athletic....but we didn't know if Todd Haley liked him. The Chiefs head coach kept DJ on the bench in 2009 more than he ever had been lending to some pessimistic feelings about DJ entering 2010. But with new defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel coming in, I think there was some optimism he'd improve.
But I'm not sure that we thought he would make the improvements so quickly. He still has room for improvement but in 2010 we finally started to see some of the potential we'd been talking about since he was a 2005 first round pick.
He's sort of the opposite of Tamba Hali. In 2009, we saw Hali making improvements so his breakout 2010 season wasn't a total shock. In 2009, we saw DJ take a step backwards so his 2010 season was more of a surprise.
Also a minor story line with DJ this year was dropped interceptions -- it seemed like he had a million of them. That's OK, though, because it probably means you've got a pretty good linebacker if the biggest complaint is dropped interceptions.
His play was enough for the Chiefs to five him a five-year contract extension during the season.
Previous stories of the year
9. Tamba Hali