Training camp is important for all Kansas City Chiefs players, but especially the ones I have listed below. Here’s why...
Contract years for Eric Berry, Dontari Poe
Both in contract years. Berry is asking for a lot of money so to firm that negotiating standpoint he will need another big Pro Bowl-caliber season. Poe, meanwhile, knows that to get a good contract you have to play well. And he could get a very good contract.
One rookie to crack the starting lineup
This could be the only rookie to win a starting job. The Chiefs started out this offseason with Zach Fulton at left guard and then made the switch to Ehinger, who has held onto it. It appears for now that he’s your left guard but training camp is a big remaining hurdle. Ehinger and the o-lineman weren’t wearing pads before so it’s hard to truly evaluate linemen. They’ll get the pads on in camp and we’ll see where Ehinger really stands.
Eric Fisher, from draft bust to second contract?
You can throw him in with Berry and Poe. He is also facing a contract year ... sort of. Fisher is under contract for 2016. The Chiefs have also picked up his fifth year option so, if they want, they can keep him again in 2017. Fisher will have to continue his slow and steady rise in order for the Chiefs to pick that up or earn a contract extension. He still has a rep as a draft bust so this is a big year for him to turn the corner.
Steven Nelson, nickel corner of the future?
The Chiefs have been searching for a nickel corner what feels like forever. Nelson was drafted in 2015 for this role. He has taken the job so far in the offseason but will have his physicality tested in training camp. Three cornerbacks on the field is pretty much the base defense these days so Nelson will play if this is his job.
Spotlight on Dee Ford
The Chiefs will be without Justin Houston early on. Tamba Hali may not play every snap this year given his age and the Chiefs desire to have him be as effective in Week 17 as he is in Week 1. Dee Ford is going to have some pressure on him to perform. The Chiefs defense needs a pass rush and Ford has to be competent in replacing Houston. It’s fair to have high expectations for Ford considering he was a first round pick just two years ago. He should be ready for a larger role. You could throw in OLBs Jonathan Massaquoi and Dezman Moses here too. The Chiefs will have a third pass rusher rotating in.
Can De’Anthony Thomas beat out Tyreek Hill?
His job is most definitely on the line with the Chiefs drafting Tyreek Hill. Frankly, I would be surprised if DAT made the 53-man roster. I don’t know how the Chiefs would fit him on the roster with the other players that they have. And I don’t think Tyreek Hill is getting cut. DAT has lots of prove but I’m not sure he can.
WR Rod Streater ... good? Bad? I have no idea
It’s been three years since Streater caught 60 balls for the Raiders. He’s now 28 years old. He has a great shot here in Kansas City to seize the No. 2 wide receiver job at some point this year. He has the talent to do it but can he stay healthy and earn himself a nice contract after this year? Streater is on a one-year deal.