As this is my last week before my last semester of college begins, I figured that I would try and crank out another article about where we are going into the offseason. It's no secret among Chiefs fans that this last season was a disappointment, and to get the taste out of our mouths, it's important to look forward and try and figure out exactly where we stand once the free agency period begins in March. So I've taken the list of all the players we have at each position group, given them a rating from 1 to 10, and ranked those position groups based on which ones I believe are the strongest before we begin to make moves. Those position groups are: QB, RB, WR, TE, OL, DL, OLB, ILB, S and CB; I'll be ignoring Special Teams for now, since it seems pointless to say that Butker is good. I'll also recommend one player for the Chiefs to bring in from another team; while I would like the Chiefs to bring back Kevin Pierre-Louis and Albert Wilson, I'd also like to bring up some other names for consideration
1. Running Back
Kareem Hunt, Spencer Ware, Charcandrick West, Akeem Hunt
This should be a fairly obvious one, in my opinion. Kareem Hunt lead the league in rushing as a rookie, and probably would not have gotten the start if Spencer Ware had not gotten injured. With Ware as the #2 behind K Hunt, the Chiefs should be well-stocked for a powerful running attack in 2018. Charcandrick West and Akeem Hunt are both fine backups, and the depth at this position is something that the Seattle Seahawks would have killed for this season.
Guy to Add: Darren Sproles. He'd be another option to compete with Chark's 3rd down back role. Also CJ Spiller, if only for the memes.
Alex Smith, Patrick Mahomes
Until the trade is officially announced, Alex Smith is on this team, and he lead the league in passer rating and TD/INT ratio this year. While I'm down on him as the Chiefs QB, the fact is that he and The Kid make up a very strong QB depth chart, one that almost no team can rival, although the Minnesota Vikings might dispute that. Patrick Mahomes should be the starter next year, and he alone puts this group in the top 3 for the Chiefs.
Guy to Add: Josh McCown. I know every Mizzou fan is clamoring for Chase Daniel, but I'm not very big on Daniel personally. McCown is a guy who has shown that he can start in a pinch, and has been around long enough to mentor Pat Mahomes as the season goes. You don't make it to 39 as an NFL QB without picking up a few tricks here and there.
Marcus Peters, Darelle Revis, Steven Nelson, Keith Reaser, Ashton Lampkin
The dropoff from 2 to 3 is pretty steep, but having two Pro Bowl CBs is a mark in favor of this group. Revis being a fairly steady guy on the outside solved the defense's biggest issue, and if his deflection of Mariota hadn't landed in Mariota's hands, he'd be remembered as a playoff game hero. Peters is a young stud, and his being on this team gives the defense an edge that it desperately needs.
Guy to Add: Malcolm Butler. If anyone on this list deserves big money, it's Butler. He likely won't make it to free agency, but if he does, he'd make an excellent target to splurge on, even if it means he's our only big move.
Eric Berry, Ron Parker, Daniel Sorenson, Eric Murray, Leon McQuay, Jordan Sterns, Devin Chapell
I waffled for a long time on whether to put the safeties at 3 or 4, and eventually decided on 4 due to the uncertainty that I feel about this group. Eric Berry is a god damned animal and the heart and soul of this defense, but Achilles injuries are a hard one to come back from, and this unit struggled with Sorenson playing a full-time role. However, I like the upside of this group, and feel that this is the one place where the Chiefs really don't need an addition before the next season.
Guy to Add: Kenny Vaccaro? Honestly, I don't want to add anyone else to this group from the free agent market.
5. Offensive Line
Eric Fisher, Bryan Witzmann, Mitch Morse, LDT, Mitch Schwartz, Parker Ehinger, Cameron Erving
Despite everyone in Chiefs Kingdom giving the offensive line grief, I think they did an alright job this year considering the circumstances, earning them the #5 slot. Witzmann is the definite weak spot of the group, and could sorely use an upgrade, but the right side of the line is one of the strongest that I've seen in KC since 2003; Schwartz, LDT, and a healthy Morse are a group to be feared and respected. Fisher is fine, a disappointment for a #1 pick but a solid if unspectacular LT.
Guy to Add: Andrew Norwell. Another guy who isn't likely to make it to Free Agency, but is richly deserving of a big money payday. Norwell was the best LG in football this year, never allowing a sack, and combining him with LDT could give the Chiefs the best OG pair in football. Fisher plays his best ball when he has a competent LG next to him, and his ability should give the Chiefs the freedom to do whatever they want with the line.
6. Tight End
Travis Kelce, Demetrius Harris, Orson Charles
2/3rds of this group should not return for next year. Harris cannot be counted on to catch, and Charles is not great even for a 3rd string TE. It speaks to Kelce's dominance that this isn't one of the worst position groups on the roster; he's the second best TE in football, and the fact that he's this far down shows just how bad the other two are.
Guy to Add: Anthony Fasano. Fasano could make his return to the Chiefs to back up Kelce, as a sure-handed, steady veteran guy who can go over the middle and make the tough yardage that Reid might be reluctant to have Kelce do. On the older side, but could be a valuable checkdown target for Mahomes, and would give the Chiefs a reliable chain-mover.
7. Outside Linebacker
Justin Houston, Tamba Hali, Dee Ford, Tanoh Kpassagnon, Dadi Nicolas, Frank Zombo
These guys are this far down because of the six names here, only one can be counted on to be a plus player: Justin Houston. Hali and Ford are not likely to make it to next training camp with the Chiefs, Kpass couldn't beat out a middling Zombo for snaps in the playoff, and Dadi's health is yet to be determined. Houston is an animal, make no bones about it, but the rest of the group is one huge question mark.
Guy to Add: Trent Murphy. Had 9 sacks as an outside linebacker for the Redskins in 2016, and an ACL injury ended his 2017 before it began. If he makes it to free agency, he could probably be had on a one-year "prove-it" style deal and provide a steady rush opposite Justin Houston if Tanoh Kpassagnon or Dadi Nicolas are not ready for full-time play.
8. Wide Receiver
Tyreek Hill, Chris Conley, Demarcus Robinson, Jehu Chesson
Aside from Tyreek Hill, these names should all carry huge question marks next to them. Will Conley be the same after his torn Achilles? Is Robinson someone that we can trust in the spotlight? Is Jehu Chesson someone who can actually play? Hill is a dominant force, and a legit #1 WR, but his hands can be less than great. His brilliance is the only thing keeping this group of pass-catchers from being #10.
Guy to Add: Allen Robinson. The darling of NFL.com's Matt Harmon (who does excellent work analyzing Wide Receivers in his Reception Perception blog), Robinson missed the entire year due to injury, but was a beast with Blake Bortles in 2016. Putting him in an offense with Tyreek Hill opposite him and Patrick Mahomes under center could make a devastating aerial attack.
9. Defensive Line
Chris Jones, Allen Bailey, Justin Hamilton, (RFA) Rakeem Nunez-Roches
That's it, that's all the DL we have signed for next year right now. Chris Jones tore his MCL in the playoff game, but should be ready to go by offseason workouts. Allen Bailey has not been able to be as dominant as he was in 2014 and 2015, mostly due to injury and the declining of the front seven around him. The other Justin might not actually exist. Nacho (who I like) is likely to return as a restricted free agent, helping this group out a bit.
Guy to Add: DaQuan Jones. While I'd love to bring Dontari Poe back home, I think Jones would be a solid guy to rotate in on the DL. Honestly, though, I'm not in love with the DL free agent market.
10. Inside Linebacker
Derrick Johnson, Reggie Ragland, Ukeme Eligwe, (RFA) Ramik Wilson
I don't think anyone will be surprised here. DJ is a part-time player at best these days, and while Ragland is a plus starter, Eligwe is a STer at best right now, and Wilson couldn't find the field this year, or even the gameday active list. One starter, two bench guys, and a special teams guy? That does not a good defense make.
Guy to Add: Preston Brown. A solid if unspectacular MLB for the Bills, Brown could be a nice pickup if KPL, my preferred WILB, is not resigned.