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Chiefs Linebackers At Top Of AFC West

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A couple years ago at this time we were talking about the Kansas City Chiefs switching to the 3-4 defense and how there was no personnel on the team that could make this switch effectively. Remember how we talked about LB Tamba Hali being useless in a 3-4 defense because he was clearly a defensive end and not a linebacker? He just didn't have the speed for it.

And then of course, we saw Hali play linebacker and realized -- this guy is pretty good. Like...really good.  

(Just to show how wrong I was, check out how funny this is now. Me in April 2009: "At this point of the game, Hali's going to be on the Chiefs roster as the 2009 season commences in September.  But I'm willing to bet he won't be around much longer.")

Fast forward two years and it's not a major surprise to see Hali rank No. 1 in the ESPN's ranking of AFC West linebackers. No. 2 is a bit of a surprise, but a good one -- LB Derrick Johnson.

Indeed, this team who we thought had no 3-4 players on it actually had what would turn out to be the two best linebackers in the division. Weird how things work out, huh?

Also on the list is LB Jovan Belcher. It was nice seeing him get some recognition as an undrafted guy. He's under-the-radar as the ESPN rankings say and while he may not be a super star he seems like the type of guy I want on my team.

Filling out the list of Chiefs is No. 14 LB Justin Houston, who has yet to play a down in the NFL, and No. 15 LB Mike Vrabel, whose future values may lie more in Monday through Saturday.