I'm not here to tell anybody that this version of the Kansas City Chiefs is going to win the Super Bowl come February. Maybe this group will come together and make a spirited run, shocking much of the world and most of the people reading this piece. Perhaps they will fall apart and go 3-13. Likely, they will do something in between.
General manager John Dorsey has been vocal about building for the long haul and not the short term. His words were put into action this offseason when Dorsey decided to let several free agents walk for more lucrative offers, all the while building his core through the draft. Early returns on that draft are promising with Zach Fulton, Dee Ford and De'Anthony Thomas expected to contribute significantly.
So, how different is this team from last year at this point? How much better or worse is it in Year Two of the Dorsey regime? Let's take a look at the depth chart for Week 2 of the preseason last year:
WR: Jon Baldwin, Donnie Avery, Devon Wylie, Josh Bellamy, Frankie Hammond Jr.
LT: Branden Albert, Donald Stephenson, Hutch Eckerson
LG: Jeff Allen, Matt Reynolds
C: Rodney Hudson, Eric Kush, A.J. Hawkins
RG: Jon Asamoah, Ryan Durand, Rokevious Watkins, Tommie Draheim
RT: Eric Fisher, Geoff Schwartz, Steven Baker
TE: Anthony Fasano, Travis Kelce, Tony Moeaki, Kevin Brock, Demetrius Harris
WR: Dwayne Bowe, Dexter McCluster, Junior Hemingway, Terrance Copper, Tyler Shoemaker, Jamar Newsome, Rico Richardson
QB: Alex Smith, Chase Daniel, Tyler Bray, Ricky Stanzi
RB: Jamaal Charles, Knile Davis, Shaun Draughn, Cyrus Gray, Jordan Roberts
FB: Anthony Sherman, Braden Wilson, Toben Opurum
LDE: Tyson Jackson, Allen Bailey, Austen Lane, Mike Catapano
NT: Dontari Poe, Jerrell Powe, Miguel Chavis
RDE: Mike DeVito, Anthony Toribio, Marcus Dixon, Rob Lohr
LOLB: Justin Houston, Frank Zombo, Josh Martin
LILB: Akeem Jordan, Nico Johnson, Orie Lemon
RILB: Derrick Johnson, Zac Diles, Darin Drakeford, Chad Kilgore
ROLB: Tamba Hali, Edgar Jones, Ridge Wilson
LCB: Brandon Flowers, Jalil Brown, Vince Agnew, Greg Castillo, Semaj Moody
RCB: Sean Smith, Dunta Robinson, Neiko Thorpe, Kamaal McIlwain
SS: Eric Berry, Quintin Demps, Bradley McDougald, Otha Foster III
FS: Kendrick Lewis, Husain Abdullah, Tysyn Hartman, Malcolm Bronson, Sanders Commings
P: Dustin Colquitt, Ryan Succop
K: Ryan Succop, Dustin Colquitt
KO: Ryan Succop, Dustin Colquitt
LS: Thomas Gafford, Brad Madison
H: Dustin Colquitt, Chase Daniel, Ricky Stanzi
PR: Dexter McCluster, Devon Wylie
KR: Dexter McCluster, Devon Wylie
If you see things as I do (scary, I know) you probably see a roster bringing back its core sans Brandon Flowers. You also see much better depth almost across the board, but especially at linebacker, running back and receiver.
I'm also very happy with the turnover the Chiefs have had at corner. While the team has taken a hit without Flowers, I am pleased to see Dorsey being so aggressive with the turnover. Of the nine corners listed above, ONE remains on the roster. Dorsey has been very diligent in looking for answers, and that makes me believe he will find one soon if he hasn't already with Ron Parker, Phillip Gaines and Marcus Cooper.
The Chiefs have obvious holes at receiver, but again look at the turnover. Above, 12 receivers are listed and only Bowe, Hemingway, Avery and Hammond Jr. have returned. It showed that Dorsey is dedicated to fixing the problem without simply throwing money around at a quick fix. He wants to get the right players into Kansas City and will turn over every rock, for better or worse.
Other positions also show dramatic improvements. Instead of having Edgar Jones and Zac Diles as primary backups at linebacker, the Chiefs now possess youngsters in James-Michael Johnson and Dee Ford. At running back. Kansas City showcases De'Anthony Thomas over Shaun Draughn.
With as many as 11-12 draft picks in the 2015 NFL Draft (anticipated to be deep once again) Dorsey has positioned the Chiefs beautifully ... if he can hit on those selections. This year is not likely to yield a Super Bowl champion, but if Kansas City can continue to make progress, there is certainly a path to success in the future.