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Kansas City Chiefs' blue-chip players lead the way to one of NFL's most talented rosters

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John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

NFL.com's Bucky Brooks has an interesting idea to rank the strongest rosters in the NFL -- minus the QB position. It's actually difficult to do because so many teams are identified by their quarterback.

Brooks ranks the Chiefs roster sixth in the NFL. He names the blue chip players as RB Jamaal Charles, G Ben Grubbs, LB Justin Houston, LB Derrick Johnson, WR Jeremy Maclin and NT Dontari Poe. Chiefs TE Travis Kelce is listed as on the rise.

Offensively, Brooks writes that the Chiefs "have a supporting cast that could help Alex Smith fully showcase his skills as an efficient game manager."

The Chiefs were 16th in scoring last year despite no touchdowns thrown to receivers. That highlights the Alex Smith-Travis Kelce connection, which should be headed for another big year. Any offense with Jamaal Charles is going to make your worry on some level and De'Anthony Thomas has been a fun (and useful) piece. If -- big if -- Jeremy Maclin can be the player that many Chiefs fans think he can then the offense can take a big step forward in 2015.

Defensively, Brooks writes that the Chiefs "could have one of the scariest defenses in football" this season.

The strength of the Chiefs defense starts with the pass rush and there are two key questions there regarding the future. First, can Dee Ford effectively replace Tamba Hali as an edge rusher? Second, will the Chiefs get Justin Houston under contract? Additionally, the Chiefs will be looking at potentially moving on from Sean Smith and perhaps even Derrick Johnson after this season. The only problem with having so many highly talented players is that they leave big holes when they're gone.

The challenge after this is replenishing your list of blue-chip players. It's reasonable to think half of the Chiefs current blue-chip players -- Charles, Grubbs and DJ -- are not on the team in two seasons. The next wave of blue-chippers will need to be ready by that point.