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Checking In On The Kansas City Chiefs Position Battles

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What's interesting about the Kansas City Chiefs is that, when it really comes down to it, they don't have a whole lot of needs. In many cases, where you might point to a position in need of an upgrade, the Chiefs have several young options waiting in the wings. 

Outside linebacker? Justin Houston is coming up. Nose tackle? There's Jerrell Powe and Anthony Toribio. Receiver? Jonathan Baldwin could be there at some point.

The Chiefs have a lot of young guys which has created some interesting position battles. I think the majority of positions on the Chiefs are spoken for as we await the start of the 2011 season but there are a few position battles remaining.

Right tackle: As of now, I'd pencil in Barry Richardson for this spot but that's not guaranteed. The Chiefs have shown an interest in a right tackle in free agency which suggests they believe it's possible to upgrade there. They also brought in Jared Gaither which makes you wonder about right tackle, despite the Chiefs saying he's a left tackle. NFL roster cuts will start in late August and continue in early September so I think it's possible that the Chiefs find someone on the open market that they like and bring him in. Still, I'm putting Richardson in here as the starter for now.

Wide receiver: Dwayne Bowe's going to be the Chiefs No. 1 receiver, we know that. But who will line up opposite of him? For now, it appears Jerheme Urban will get that job. He's been listed as the starter opposite Bowe in the first three depth charts and, judging by the other options, I think he's the most likely to get that spot -- at least early in the season. The idea, I think, is to have Jonathan Baldwin step in at some point but that's unlikely to happen in Week 1.

Backup quarterback: Tyler Palko or Ricky Stanzi? It would appear that Palko leads for the No. 2 quarterback job taking into account experience and preseason play but I think there's still a small window for Stanzi to make a run at the job. Right now though I'd say Palko is the leader.

Inside linebacker: We know Derrick Johnson will be there as a starter but opposite him there's a good competition going between the incumbent, Jovan Belcher, and the new guy, Brandon Siler. Given the short offseason, I'd give the edge to the guy who's been in the system longer.

Outside linebacker: This is the position opposite Tamba Hali. Last week, I'd say this is Andy Studebaker's job, without question. I still feel that he's the leader but Justin Houston's performance last week made things a little interesting. Houston, early in his career, could turn into a pass-rushing specialist on obvious passing downs. I'd keep Studebaker as the starter here but consider it a good thing if Houston makes this a tough decision later in the season.