2012: Derrick Johnson, Jovan Belcher, Brandon Siler, Cory Greenwood
2013: Derrick Johnson, Akeem Jordan, Nico Johnson, Zac Diles, Chad Kilgore, Orie Lemon
This position is sneakily difficult to answer for this series. Did the KC Chiefs get better at inside linebacker in the last year? Sure seems like a wash to me. At least right now. There's a strong argument for either way.
The reason I go with 2013 is that there is a rookie involved and you hope he will progress quickly. But before we get there let's start from the top.
Derrick Johnson is the man. He was last year, he will be this year. We all know that. It's everyone else behind DJ that is new. The entire position group outside of him has been replaced.
Out is the late Jovan Belcher, Brandon Siler and Cory Greenwood. None of those guys were stars; but they were capable of playing if needed. Belcher had his limitations but given he was an undrafted free agent with multiple years of experience that's not too shabby for a fourth linebacker. Siler and Greenwood were largely special teams contributors.
In is Akeem Jordan and Nico Johnson, among others, who will be competing for the starting job at inside linebacker opposite DJ. Classic case of a vet vs. a rookie. Jordan would seem to have the leg up early on in this competition considering he's the veteran and that he has six years of experience playing (and starting) under Andy Reid. Johnson is the fourth round rookie out of Alabama, who fielded the best defense in college football. Johnson comes from a program who played at the highest possible level, and he's competing for a position where it wouldn't be unreasonable or unthinkable to have him win the job.
It's that combination of Jordan and Johnson, the veteran and the rookie, that has me choosing 2013 over 2012. They will be better than Belcher was last season, and with Johnson as a rookie they will hopefully be better at that position for a number of years.
All that said, this is a position where I can see some disagreement on whether or not the team got better.
Let us know what you think. Did the Chiefs improve at inside linebacker?