Joel: With the Chiefs passing more in 2013, the offensive line is of the upmost importance. We generally know who the starters will be -- at least four of the five -- but the reserves are still important. Stephenson appears to be settling in as the swing lineman, able to fill in as a guard or a tackle. The Chiefs have the depth on the interior offensive line to handle an injury -- Geoff Schwartz or Jeff Allen, one of the two, will be a reserve -- but Stephenson's role becomes vital if one of the tackles goes down. Stephenson will likely be asked to fill in at some point in 2013, making him a key player on the Chiefs offensive line even though he is not a starter.
Matt Conner: As the saying goes, "Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice, you're likely a Chiefs receiver opposite Dwayne Bowe." Jon Baldwin is a dazzling practice player, but I'm in see-it-to-believe-it mode there. Donnie Avery brings some speed, but the Chiefs need another offensive x-factor to step up and take defensive focus away from the running game. That's where DMC comes in as a versatile option who Andy Reid will favor. Expect McCluster to earn looks in multiple sets and help turn around the Chiefs offensive woes.
Kalo Phoenix: The 340 pound behemoth of a nose tackle out of Ole Miss was favorably regarded in the 2011 NFL Draft, yet still fell to the Chiefs in the 6th round. Expected to succeed the aging Kelly Gregg, the "land shark" spent the year as the third nose tackle on the depth chart in his rookie season. The next year, the Chiefs spent a 1st round pick on nose tackle Dontari Poe. Crennel favored Anthony Toribio and Poe to Jerrell Powe, and he once again was left third on the depth chart. With Dontari Poe likely to be the starting nose tackle this year, and with Tyson Jackson and Mike Devito as the likely defensive end starters, Powe should start the season on the bench again. However, with new defensive coordinator Bob Sutton's attacking 1-gap defense and Powe's propensity for splash plays, the big man could see more playing time in various positions, not just as a backup nose tackle. Expect to see Powe continue to impress in the preseason and earn some quality snaps in 2013.
NJ Chiefs Fan: The AFC West will not be a cake-walk for the Chiefs. The best I believe we can hope for is a tight race for the division title against the Broncos, but the team's best shot at the playoffs could be as a Wild Card. In eight years in the NFL, Chiefs' QB Alex Smith has only appeared in all 16 games twice. That means Chase Daniel will likely lead this team at some point during the upcoming season and the Chiefs will need every win they can get if/when that happens. Daniel will not affect the outcome of every game, but his play could have a large effect on the outcome of the season.
MNChiefsFan: Since an evil genius stole Dex from me, I'm going to go with whoever plays nickel CB. I have no idea whether Dunta Robinson or Sean Smith is going to get the nod as the starter, but whoever is the next man up will see a ton of snaps either way. I personally love the idea of using Flowers against slot WR in nickel formations (against some teams, at least. Against teams that are trotting out nobodies at slot WR, this is a terrible plan), so whoever we bring in on those nickel downs will play outside more than a traditional nickel CB. If our 3rd CB plays extremely well, this will pay HUGE dividends for our defense. First, it'll mean that whoever beat him out is playing lights-out ball to keep the 3rd guy as the 3rd guy (of course, that involves a starter so I'm cheating a bit). Second, it means that quarterbacks will be having a tough time finding receivers all over the field. A guy who needs to go through 3-4 reads is a guy who gives Houston/Hali an extra second to get to him. Domino effect FTW.
Matt Verderame: Don't get me wrong, Avery isn't going to reinvent football here, but he can stretch the field. In Andy Reid's offense, the Chiefs need a guy who can take the top off of defenses to open up room for the running backs and tight ends in underneath routes. Avery doesn't even need to be thrown to all the time in order to make a difference. He simply needs to be thrown to occasionally and make defensive coordinators respect his speed and ability.