I've had a depth chart on my desk for weeks. I fiddle with it my free time (which is to say when I am at work.) It has the players I think are safe, then blanks for spots up for grabs, and then players (our free agents and players under contract who I'm not as confident about) with question marks. I have all of our draft picks making it to the 53. Although one or two might not, I don't think it's too unreasonable for all to make it either... Now that we signed a couple free agents from other teams and re-signed a few of our own and I've written them into the depth chart and crossed them off the questionable list, the defensive side is looking pretty complete. Maybe an UDFA shines well enough to bump one of these, or another outside FA gets signed for the D, but imo it's starting to look doubtful. So without further ado, I give you your 2011 Chiefs' defense:
Let's start on the line. I have three tackles in Gregg, Powe, and Toribio and four ends in Dorsey, Jackson, Gilberry, and Bailey, who I think are safe. I know we've been linked to Ty Warren, but unless he just comes real cheap, Pioli can't resist him, and they either cut Toribio or carry eight D-linemen, I don't see where he fits. They just extended Toribio last year, so I expect he will get a year learning from Gregg alongside Powe to see if he develops. I really think that the depth/special teams slots go to WRs, LBs, and corners, so that doesn't open anything up here. This D-line looks done, with Dorsey/Gregg/Jackson starting and hopefully lots of Powe worked in as the year goes on. Gilberry and Bailey see key rotational snaps and hopefully Toribio sees enough of the field for us to figure him out.
At LB, I have eight players and one of those depth/STs guys: DJ, Belcher, Williams, and Silar inside and Hali, Studebaker, Houston, and Miller outside with Sheffield rounding the nine. I think Belcher and Silar will fight it out for a starting spot and the loser is great depth. Early edge to Belcher for being younger and the system guy. Williams was in a starting competition as late as last year and is a great backup for DJ with a similar skillset. Hali, Stude, and Houston are obviously safe, and Miller and Sheffield will fight it out for depth chart position and ST time, but both make the team imo. Hali/Belcher/DJ/Stude are day one starters, with lots of Houston, Silar, and Williams in situational roles. Can Houston overtake Studebaker by years' end? Only if he gets his ass in camp!
At safety, Berry and Lewis should start. That's a no brainer. The Chiefs seem to like McGraw for leadership and insurance better than many here, and Langford is in as well, if only because they didn't really bring in anyone to compete with him. Same safeties as last year, with the only change being Lewis starts over McGraw full time.
Corner is easy to call, too, with Flowers, Carr, Arenas, and Brown looking set and only Travis Daniels fighting for a depth/STs spot to provide controversy. With Flowers and Carr we have one of the best corner tandems outside of Philly, Arenas is a good nickel and great STer, and Brown can develop into a great "Brandon insurance" policy and should get some playing time this year.
That's already 25 defenders if Daniels makes it, and doesn't allow for any more free agents, or any UDFAs to catch on. It also means the end of guys like D. Gales, M. Johnson, Greenwood, and more who have fan followings and high hopes. All in all this group is exciting, has lots of room for growth, and doesn't show many weak links. Best of all, it is a totally homegrown defense. If Belcher does hold off Silar and Lewis starts over McGraw, nine of the eleven starters will be career Chiefs, including five 1st round picks (Dorsey, Jackson, Hali, DJ, and Berry,) a 2nd rounder (Flowers) and three late round gems (Carr, Lewis,and UDFA Belcher.) If Houston and Powe overtake Stude and Gregg by 2012, they would have all twelve starters drafted in house. That's how you build a defense, and RC knows how to get the most from them. Lots of probowls ahead, imo...
I'm sure the list isn't perfect, either, but especially for being less than a week into free agency and days into training camp, I think it's darn close. Any thoughts? Your ridicule is expected if not welcomed.