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Kansas City Chiefs stock report: The closing bell

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Macy's Flower Show Rings The Closing Bell At The New York Stock Exchange Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images

When the bell rings at 4 p.m. on Wall Street, the market is closed and traders take a minute to reflect on their day. They use the rest of their day to finish up other tasks, return phone calls, and eventually head home to see their families. The bell rang on the 2016 season with the Chiefs coming up painfully short one last time. Chiefs fans are like the Macy’s CEO in the picture, standing in an empty room, half-smiling and wondering what just happened. There’s a chance now for the team to self scout and look back, not only on this week’s game, but on the season as a whole. Changes will come over the next few months but for now, let’s reflect on a terrific regular season and a frustrating playoff game.

This week’s final stock report will try to capture those players that helped or hurt their stock the most over the course of this season as a whole.

Stock Up

Ramik Wilson

Wilson stepped in from the practice squad after a bunch of injuries at the inside linebacker position, and generally did well for himself. He ended the season with 76 tackles, one forced fumble, one interception, including a 13 tackle game against San Diego and a 15 tackle game against Pittsburgh. Not only was Ramik improved, he looked overall like a competent starting inside linebacker. When he’s aggressive and attacking in the run game, he can rack up the tackles. He still needs to improve at getting off of blocks, but Ramik appears to have a future with the Chiefs. He’ll have competition next year from a healthy Justin March-Lillard and maybe Josh Mauga or other

Chris Jones

The first defensive snap of the Chiefs playoff game on Sunday is why fans should be giddy about the future for Chris Jones. He instantly beat the interior of the Pittsburgh line and nearly got to the QB. Jones exceeded expectations this season, even if the 26 tackles and two sack stat line didn’t show it. Jones demonstrated brute strength, short area quickness, and even deflected four passes when he couldn’t get to the QB. The Chiefs nailed the 2016 draft, starting with getting Jones after a trade down. He’s a top d-line talent.

Tyreek Hill

The most controversial Chiefs draft pick turned into the team’s most explosive and exciting player in his rookie season. The Steelers defended him well, and the Chiefs should have been able to capitalize with their other playmakers. Obviously, they didn’t, but that doesn’t take away from the breakout performances Hill had on nearly a weekly basis in the 2016 campaign.

Stock Down

Phillip Gaines

His struggles staying healthy are well documented, but Gaines also struggled on the field at times this season. He ended up playing on special teams only, passed on the depth chart by multiple other Chiefs cornerbacks. Gaines has the ability to be a top cover corner, but his opportunities are running out with the Chiefs.

Charcandrick West

The fumble against Pittsburgh was strange and frustrating and a microcosm of West’s season. It was one of only three touches in the game, the other two were receptions. West had his moments this season, including the two touchdown performance against San Diego. But it’s safe to say the year was a disappointment overall. Only 294 yards rushing and 188 yards receiving for Moosey, and three total touchdowns. He clearly wasn’t healthy for much of the year, and didn’t get the opportunities that Ware did. Coming into the season, after Ware and West signed matching contracts, and hoping that Jamaal Charles would be healthy at some point ... the run game was expected to be a dominant strength. It turned out to be a weakness for the Chiefs, largely because Charles never really made it back, and West wasn’t able to make the most of the void Charles left behind.

Stock Flat

Mitch Schwartz

There were times when Schwartz’s season was described as disappointing. It now seems likely that those times were when he was suffering from an ankle injury. Schwartz was a stabilizing force on the right side of the offensive line, and brought the level of competency and professionalism we expected when adding him in free agency this year.

Eric Fisher

Don’t call this game the “Eric Fisher hold game”. The call was correct, but not consistently called, and brutal in that situation. Fisher matured into a GOOD NFL left tackle this season. He can still become a GREAT left tackle, but he’s not quite there. What we do know is that Fisher and Schwartz are locked into the Chiefs offensive line as bookend tackles that are generally reliable and competent. With them in place, the entire offensive line has a chance to be good, and maybe great.

Alex Smith

Smith is what he is. A good QB, not an elite QB. He didn’t play poorly, but didn’t do enough to carry his team to victory. He’s a big reason why the Chiefs were 12-4, and there were times this season when he DID carry the team to a victory (example: the Week 1 comeback). The story on Smith has always been that he won’t lose you games with turnovers. This season illustrated what happens when he did have bad turnovers ... arguably cost the team wins versus Houston, Tampa Bay and Tennessee. The Chiefs need to invest in their quarterback of the future this offseason, but not do anything rash with Smith. Think of it this way: QB purgatory is better than QB hell. Ask Cleveland, San Francisco, Houston, Los Angeles, Denver and others. We all want to see the Chiefs with an elite QB, but there simply aren’t that many available. Until KC finds one, Smith is what he is.

Dontari Poe

In a contract year, we expected Poe to dominate. Perhaps his most dominant performances this season were on the goal line offense. On defense, Poe was consistent and strong at the point of attack, but didn’t make the kinds of elite plays expected of an elite nose tackle looking to get elite money. It will be interesting to see how the negotiations for Poe go this offseason. He’s a valuable player, but the question is how valuable?

Spencer Ware

It’s not easy to categorize Ware’s season. He ran hard, and at times in 2016 was the spark for the Chiefs offense. He ended the season with 921 yards rushing, 447 yards receiving and five total touchdowns, and a 4.3 yards per carry average. That’s not bad ... it’s just not what I had hoped for Spencer Ware. He’s shown he can be a big part of the offense, but also that he needs a complementary speed back to help carry the load. We’ll see in 2017 who the other backs are, but it’s possible that we got a little ahead of ourselves when we thought Ware was an elite featured running back that could carry the entire offense.

Here’s a look at the entire roster:

Untitled

Name Position Stock vs Pittsburgh Stock 2016 Season Probability of Making 2017 Roster Probability of Larger Role in 2017 Need to Upgrade
Name Position Stock vs Pittsburgh Stock 2016 Season Probability of Making 2017 Roster Probability of Larger Role in 2017 Need to Upgrade
Acker, Kenneth DB n/a Flat Low Low High
Alexander, D.J. LB Flat UP High High Low
Bailey, Allen DL n/a DOWN High High Low
Barnes, T.J. DL n/a Flat Low Low High
Berry, Eric DB UP UP Medium n/a Low
Bray, Tyler QB n/a Flat Low Low High
Charles, Jamaal RB n/a DOWN Low High High
Cheek, Joseph OL n/a n/a Low Low High
Colquitt, Dustin P Flat Flat High n/a None
Conley, Chris WR Flat UP High Medium Medium
Cook, Kenny WR n/a n/a Low Low High
Davis, Knile RB n/a DOWN Low Low High
Devey, Jordan OL n/a n/a Low Low High
Duvernay-Tardif, Laurent OL Flat UP High n/a Medium
Ehinger, Parker OL n/a UP High High Low
Fisher, Eric OL Flat UP High n/a None
Foles, Nick QB n/a Flat Low Low High
Ford, Dee LB DOWN UP High High Low
Fulton, Zach OL Flat Flat High Low Medium
Gaines, Phillip DB Flat DOWN Medium Medium High
Hali, Tamba LB DOWN Flat Medium Low High
Hall, Jimmy DB n/a n/a Low Low High
Harris, Demetrius TE Flat Flat High Low Medium
Harris, Vernon DB n/a n/a Low Low High
Hill, Tyreek WR DOWN UP High High None
Houston, Justin LB DOWN DOWN High High Low
Howard, Jaye DL n/a DOWN High High Low
Jenkins, Jarvis DL UP Flat Low Low High
Johnson, Cory DL n/a n/a Low Low High
Johnson, Derrick LB n/a DOWN High Medium High
Jones, Chris DL Flat UP High n/a None
Jones, Seantavius WR n/a n/a Low Low High
Kelce, Travis TE DOWN UP High n/a None
King, David DL n/a Flat Medium Low High
Maclin, Jeremy WR DOWN DOWN High High None
March-Lillard, Justin LB DOWN DOWN High High Low
Mauga, Josh LB n/a n/a Medium Medium High
Millard, Trey FB n/a n/a Low Low Low
Mitchell, Terrance DB UP UP High High low
Morse, Mitch OL Flat Flat High n/a None
Murray, Eric DB Flat UP High High low
Nelson, Steven DB Flat UP High High low
Nicolas, Dadi LB n/a UP High High Low
Nunez-Roches, Rakeem DL Flat UP High High low
Ochi, Victor LB n/a n/a low Low high
Okine, Earl LB n/a n/a Low Low High
O'Shaughnessy, James TE Flat Flat Medium low high
Parker, Ron DB Flat up High n/a low
Person, Mike OL n/a n/a low Low High
Peters, Marcus DB UP UP high n/a None
Poe, Dontari DL Flat Flat Medium n/a Low
Reaves, Darrin RB n/a n/a Medium Medium Medium
Reid, Jah OL DOWN Flat Medium low Medium
Reyes, Kendall DL Flat UP low Low High
Robinson, Demarcus WR Flat UP High Medium Low
Santos, Cairo K Flat UP High n/a None
Schwartz, Mitchell OL UP UP High n/a None
Sherman, Anthony RB UP Flat High n/a Low
Smith, Alex QB Flat Flat High n/a High
Smith, Terrance LB Flat UP Medium Medium High
Sorensen, Daniel DB DOWN UP High n/a Low
Stave, Joel QB n/a n/a Low Low High
Thomas, De'Anthony WR Flat UP Low Low Medium
Travis, Ross TE DOWN DOWN Low Low High
Ware, Spencer RB Flat DOWN High Low Low
West, Charcandrick RB Flat DOWN High Low Low
White, D.J. DB DOWN DOWN High Medium Medium
Wilson, Albert WR UP DOWN Medium Low Medium
Wilson, Ramik LB UP UP High n/a Medium
Winchester, James SP Flat UP High n/a None
Witzmann, Bryan OL n/a n/a Low Low High
Zombo, Frank LB Flat Flat Medium Low High