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Kansas City Chiefs position battles shaping up

With a new regime comes many changes. The KC Chiefs have seen change at big spots, like quarterback, but there are also other positions up for grabs. We take a look at the upcoming position battles to keep an eye on this summer.

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

First tier battles

Inside linebacker, Akeem Jordan vs. Nico Johnson: Both acquired by the new regime. Jordan is the veteran. "The thing you get with Akeem is he's a smart football player," Andy Reid said this week. "He hasn't played in a 3-4 but he gives you the trust that he can do that. He's a good solid football player is what he is and he doesn't make a lot of mistakes." Can't complain. Nico is the rookie, he's the future, which means it's only a matter of time until he wins the job. Assuming he's competent, which judging by first impressions he is. Nico comes off as a smart dude, and very well spoken. He's already attaching himself to DJ. That doesn't necessarily mean anything but I think it's a good sign.

The Chiefs can win without Baldwin, but a legit 6'5 threat never hurt.

No. 2 receiver, Donnie Avery vs. Jon Baldwin: Avery was signed to a multi-year deal in the offseason. Translation: he's gonna play. Whether that's a lot as the No. 2 receiver or just a little as the No. 3, we don't know yet. But he will be a factor. The new regime did not acquire Baldwin, which is always a factor to consider. This will be a straight competition based on production. I'll be honest: I'm rooting for Baldwin. If he can realize his potential the Chiefs offense can be intimidating.

No. 2 cornerback, Dunta Robinson vs. Sean Smith: The Chiefs appear to be invested in actual competition. Robinson is getting a real look at cornerback. Many of us thought that No. 2 job was going straight to Sean Smith. I continue to believe Sean Smith will win this job but Robinson may play a larger role than we realized.

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Second tier battles

Left guard, Geoff Schwartz vs. Jeff Allen: The good news is that a.) whoever doesn't win this will be a reserve and b.) they can both fill in at tackle and guard. There are no losers here. The KC Star's Adam Teicher recently said in a chat he was somewhat surprised Allen is starting off with the ones at OTAs and not Schwartz. Allen is the previous regime's draft pick who was thrust into action last season; Schwartz is the veteran brought in this offseason. Curious to see how this goes. I'm usually rooting for the long-term health of the team and Allen was a second round pick just last year. On paper, the team would be better off if he came out on top.

Safety, Kendrick Lewis vs. Dunta Robinson vs. Sanders Commings vs. Tysyn Hartman vs. Husain Abdullah: My guess is that this is Lewis' job to lose but I really don't know. Robinson is going to play somewhere at some point but he appears to be a cornerback for now. We'll see if Commings pushes for playing time early (as Lewis did, also as a fifth round pick, just three years ago). I don't have a good feel yet for what will happen here.

No. 2 running back: Cyrus Gray vs. Shaun Draughn vs. Knile Davis: Gotta think this is Davis' job to lose -- either this year or next. You don't spend a third round pick on a player who has no clear path to get on the field. That said, Gray and Draughn can push for playing time this year. Neither of them have a lot of NFL tape -- seven career carries for Gray and 59 for Draughn -- so I'd be guessing if I put one ahead of the other at this point. In the long term, though, the focus is on Davis.

Fullback, Anthony Sherman vs. Braden Wilson: The Chiefs paid a price for both players but not a big one in either case. Sherman was traded for Javier Arenas while Wilson was a sixth round pick. Neither of those will guarantee them a roster spot. My gut tells me the vet, Sherman, wins this one and Wilson lands on the practice squad.

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Obligatory QB battle mention

No. 3 quarterback, Ricky Stanzi vs. Tyler Bray: The offseason has barely started and I'm already (not that) surprised at how much attention this has gotten and will get. But what can we say? This is KC and a good QB battle energizes us. Bray was picked by Andy Reid after this year's draft; Stanzi has been bypassed for playing time by multiple coaching staffs. That tells me Bray is the likely winner here.

Don't be surprised if...

Tight end, Anthony Fasano vs. Tony Moeaki vs. Travis Kelce: Sometimes the money means nothing. And sometimes the money says it all. The Chiefs aren't giving Fasano a four-year, $16 million deal to sit on the bench so he is your starter. In that sense, there is no battle. However, it sure sounds like the tight ends are going to be an important piece of the puzzle, and that multiple tight ends will be used. The real battle comes between who the second tight end -- Moeaki or Kelce. I'm a big Moeaki fan but I know what drafting a third round pick at that position means for his future.

Slot receiver, Dexter McCluster vs. Mardy Gilyard vs. ...Jon Baldwin: Andy Reid was a big DMC fan coming out because you could do so many different things with him. DMC is the best player for this position in this group. He should win the job. However ... Gilyard has some slot experience and Reid has now signed him in both Philly and KC, which says something. What? I don't know. Then there's Jon Baldwin. I bring up his name here because of what John Dorsey said recently: "He's one of those guys who could possibly be an inside matchup as a slot receiver, a larger target." Just throwin' that out there.


I can assure you this list is not completely accurate. Some of these positions have (probably) already been (mostly) decided by the coaching staff. And there are other positions that I think are decided on but the coaching staff feels differently. And then there are injuries.

All that said ... where do you agree? Disagree?

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