2012: Eric Berry, Kendrick Lewis, Abe Elam, Tysyn Hartman, Neiko Thorpe
2013: Eric Berry, Kendrick Lewis, Husain Abdullah, Tysyn Hartman, Sanders Commings, Otha Foster, Greg Castillo, Quintin Demps, Brad McDougald
With the KC Chiefs safeties, there's Eric Berry and then there's everyone else. Berry may catch some flack now and again because the expectations are sky high due to the fact he was a top five pick in the draft, but his play on the field is fine. His position is not one the Chiefs are going to spend a whole lot of time worrying about. He's the man. Berry is still relatively young so it's reasonable to think that, another year removed from his ACL surgery, he will be even better.
Moving onto the rest of the Chiefs 2013 safeties...
This safety spot that has some intrigue. At this safety spot we have a position battle, and it looks like a good one.
The incumbent is Kendrick Lewis, 2010 fifth round pick out of Ole Miss. With a $1.3 million salary on the way, Lewis firmly on the bubble as he competes with others on the roster.
Tysyn Hartman is an interesting because even as an undrafted player he saw a decent amount of playing time toward the end of last season. He's young and cheap so I suspect he sticks around.
Husain Adbullah is another interesting case at safety. He has talent, sure, but he's also been out of football for a year, making the pilgrimage to Mecca last year as part of his faith. I'm optimistic because before he left the Vikings wanted to keep him. They wanted to sign him to an extension and didn't want to lose him. That's encouraging ... assuming he can get his legs back after so much time off. Abdullah has a legit shot at taking this starting job.
Sanders Commings is a rookie safety out of the SEC, just like Eric Berry. And he's a fifth round pick, just like Kendrick Lewis. Commings is entering the Chiefs at the perfect time. Though there are players ahead of him, it's not out of the question for the rookie to see significant playing time, or to push for a starting job by season's end.
Finally Quintin Demps, the veteran. He spent two years with in Philly with Andy Reid in 2008 and 2009 then it was three years in Houston. In the last two seasons with the Texans, he's been playing some -- 58 tackles, nine passes defenses and two interceptions. His value could also involve returning kicks.
So that's this year's group. At least five players competing for one spot. Is it better than the 2012 group? I say yes, largely for competition reasons.
Last year Lewis was injured, causing Elam and Hartman to step into his place. That in turn screwed up other plans for the defense that Romeo Crennel had, namely using Elam as a third safety at times. Elam was really the only capable reserve until Hartman got his feet under him later in the year.
This year it appears the Chiefs have multiple options at safety, and they're not all 30 year olds. Commings is a rookie so if there is a future at safety he's it. Abdullah, if he can come back from a year off football, looks to be as good as anyone else in this group. Lewis, if he can stay healthy, will be playing a lot.
The top end of this position stayed largely untouched, with Berry and Lewis. It's the increase in quality options behind them that has me taking the 2013 over 2012.