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Kansas City Chiefs' Sean Smith ranked the 44th best player in the NFL last year

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Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Plenty of Kansas City Chiefs fans were upset upon seeing Jamaal Charles ranked No. 97 in Pro Football Focus' ranking of the top 101 players in 2014. Plenty of Chiefs will be happy about the next Chiefs player on the list.

PFF ranks CB Sean Smith, who was unranked last season, as the 44th best player in the 2014 season. Remember that this is counting just the 2014 season, nothing before or after.

Smith, who was one of the best bargains in the NFL last season, had such a great year for the Chiefs that it's hard to even remember that his starting job was once in question. Following an arrest last June, Smith was demoted to the Chiefs second team. Many of us thought Smith would probably return to the starting lineup ... but we weren't completely sure. Not only did he return but he put up his best season in the NFL, including PFF's fourth highest coverage grade in the NFL last season.

Looked to be on the outs in preseason but the motivational tool worked a treat after a sloppy week one. From there on in was magnificent, putting together his best year as a pro with a string of excellent efforts that captured the attention of all who watched Kansas City. Would grade negatively only twice all year.

Smith could very well have another slow start this year if he's suspended to start the season. We're still awaiting word from the league on that one.

Smith played so well last season that it's fair to wonder if he priced himself out of Kansas City after his contract expires this offseason. The top free agent cornerbacks are paid very, very well and that looks like where Smith is heading after this season. The Chiefs drafted Phillip Gaines and Marcus Peters in the last two drafts so it seems as if they could be preparing for his departure as well.