clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Yes, the Chiefs really have addressed all offseason needs

NFL: Combine Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Love the draft class or hate it?

Frustrated because our favorite players were still on the board, and the Kansas City Chiefs picked someone who you thought would be there a round later?

Think they spent too much on Anthony Hitchens and Sammy Watkins?

Worried about the defense?

It’s clear that the fan perspective isn’t the same as the team perspective. We think we know what the team needs, but the team may have a different list. We may not love each of the names they added, the contracts they handed out or the pick at which they drafted them. We may or may not agree with the list of needs or the level of confidence the team should have with guys on the roster.

NFL: Combine
Kansas City Chiefs general manager Brett Veach speaks to the media during the 2018 NFL Combine at the Indianapolis Convention Center.
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

But they have added guys in every position that fit needs. While there are likely additional moves to come, it’s pretty clear that the Chiefs at least feel they have added the right players at each position who can help in 2018 and beyond.

Below, I’ll try to make the case that there are no real needs left at this point. All that’s left is for these guys to get on the field and prove the team (and me) correct.

I’ll concede that there are still potential upgrades out there that could add more certainty to the roster. The Chiefs are banking on a LOT of guys reaching their potential. This is not a “mission accomplished” statement. NFL rosters are always changing and evolving up to and after the ‘final’ 53 man roster each fall. But, now that the draft is complete, we can see that the team had a plan, had positions they wanted to address, and they’ve done so... whether we like it or not. Each draft pick fits a specific need, and a couple of them fit more than one. Even the positions they didn’t address in the draft tell us plenty about what they think of the existing options at those positions.

Let’s take a look at the Chiefs’ positions of need and how they addressed them this offseason:


NFL: Los Angeles Rams Press Conference
Los Angeles Rams cornerback Marcus Peters (left) is interviewed by NFL Network broadcaster Omar Ruiz during a press conference at Cal Lutheran University.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

This was a bit of a self-inflicted wound, as the team traded Marcus Peters away. They also discarded the rest of the depth chart other than Steven Nelson. They have added Kendall Fuller, David Amerson, and now Tremon Smith. Brett Veach spoke highly of Keith Reaser and Will Redmond as developmental corners. They now at least have promising players with upside from CB1-CB6. It will be almost a completely different look for the Chiefs cornerbacks this season. Whether they all pan out or develop is yet to be seen, but the makeover is pretty much complete.

Pass rush

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Kansas City Chiefs
Kansas City Chiefs outside linebacker Dee Ford (55) rushes against Philadelphia Eagles offensive tackle Lane Johnson (65) at Arrowhead Stadium.
Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Inside and out, the Chiefs clearly need to get better at getting to the quarterback. They are bringing back a presumably healthy Dee Ford, and promising to use Tanoh Kpassagnon and Chris Jones to provide inside and outside pressure. Then, they added another guy in the same mold with their first pick, Breeland Speaks. The Chiefs now have Houston and Ford as true EDGE rushers, and Speaks, Kpassagnon and Jones as versatile inside-outside rushers.

Run stoppers

Arizona Cardinals Training Camp
Defensive tackle Xavier Williams #69 of the Arizona Cardinals arrives to the team training camp at University of Phoenix Stadium on August 1, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona.
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The 2017 Chiefs got run over (especially in sub-packages) and needed help from all three levels of the defense. The Chiefs beefed up their defensive line with Xavier Williams, Breeland Speaks and Derrick Nnadi. They invested big in Anthony Hitchens with the hope that he’s the three-down solution at inside linebacker. They’ll return Eric Berry, eraser of mistakes. Then, adding Dorian O’Daniel as a linebacker/safety that can fly around and hit from the “money backer” spot. The run defense should be dramatically improved this season.

Tight end depth

New York Jets v Kansas City Chiefs
ight end Demetrius Harris #84 of the Kansas City Chiefs runs for the end zone.
Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

With Travis Kelce returning along with Demetrius Harris and Orson Charles, we all hoped for some upgrades at tight end. The Chiefs didn’t make a huge splash here, but they did add a couple of intriguing pass catchers in Tim Wright and Jace Amaro. We don’t know if either will make the final roster, but there’s a chance one or both can unseat Harris and add another receiving option for Mahomes.

Prior to the draft, I thought that the team would also look to add a tight end that specializes in blocking, given that it’s not a particular strength of the depth chart as it stands Wednesday. Kelce and Harris have both improved in this area and became capable blockers, but adding a guy that can really move people in the run game could help. Enter Randall Telfer. Added in a post-draft trade with John Dorsey’s Browns, Telfer fits the profile of the classic blocking tight end. He’s aggressive, strong and technical and fits the mold of Brett Veach’s Chiefs, given the fact that he’s 25 and still on a rookie contract.

I could see a scenario where Wright and Amaro are competing for one backup TE job with the focus on being a good receiving option. The other job might be between Telfer and Charles for the blocking TE that can play special teams. Given the fact that Harris has a legal issue that could affect his availability, perhaps the Chiefs keep an extra tight end or two. Either way, the team has certainly addressed the position and added competition, even if many people haven’t heard of the new players.

Wide receiver

NFL: Pro Bowl-AFC Practice
Kansas City Chiefs return specialist Tyreek Hill (10) signs autographs at AFC practice for the 2018 Pro Bowl.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Tyreek Hill is becoming a star, and Chris Conley has a chance to return from injury and be a steady performer. However, Brett Veach clearly wasn’t willing to go into the season without additional upgrades at receiver for his new franchise quarterback. Enter big-play receiver Sammy Watkins. People may not love his contract, but I think we’ll love the on-field product this fall. It appears the team was still searching for an additional slot receiver, but the only other signing was journeyman Daniel Braverman. This bodes well for Demarcus Robinson, Jehu Chesson and the other young Chiefs WRs (Marcus Kemp, Gehrig Dieter) trying to carve out a role. While the top of the depth chart has been dramatically upgraded, the depth still consists of guys trying to prove themselves.

Backup quarterback

NFL: Jacksonville Jaguars at Arizona Cardinals
Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Chad Henne (7) against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium.
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

After Patrick Mahomes, there was a big need for veteran depth. The Chiefs signed Chad Henne and Matt McGloin to fill the role. Then, after the draft, they signed the top available UDFA quarterback in Chase Litton. We’ll see how it plays out, but they have turned over the position with guys who can play, but we really hope they never have to.


NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Oakland Raiders
Oakland Raiders wide receiver Amari Cooper (89) is unable to make a catch in front of Kansas City Chiefs free safety Ron Parker (38).
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

When Ron Parker was cut, there was quite a bit of concern about Eric Murray and Daniel Sorensen becoming the featured safeties along with Eric Berry. In the draft, the Chiefs addressed the position in a conventional and an unconventional way. Armani Watts fits the role of playmaking free safety. He could earn a day one starting role if he plays well in camp. Dorian O’Daniel will be listed as a linebacker, but with his size and ability to cover, he’ll have a great chance to play a hybrid role. He can be an enforcer in the sub-packages when (presumably) Reggie Ragland comes off the field.

Third-down running back/kick returner

NFL: Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks
Arizona Cardinals running back Kerwynn Williams (33) rushes against the Seattle Seahawks during the second quarter at CenturyLink Field.
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

It was pretty clear that an upgrade was needed over Akeem Hunt and CJ Spiller for the bottom of the running back depth chart. Damien Williams and Kerwynn Williams both have displayed the ability to return kicks, both in college and in the NFL. Both also fit the mold of the third-down/pass catching/screen play running backs that can make the offense more dynamic. Charcandrick West and Spencer Ware can both also play the third-down/pass catcher role, along with Kareem Hunt. One would assume that at least one of the incumbents doesn’t make the final team and/or Spencer Ware may begin the season on the PUP list.

Inside linebacker

NFL: Green Bay Packers at Dallas Cowboys
Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb (18) runs after a reception in the second quarter while getting face masked by Dallas Cowboys linebacker Anthony Hitchens (59).
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

With the release of Derrick Johnson, the inside linebacker position lost the one guy the Chiefs have counted on for years. They clearly were going to add to the position, and they did so early with a huge contract for Anthony Hitchens. With Hitchens and Ragland locked in as the “dynamic duo,” the Chiefs added Dorian O’Daniel as a guy who is technically a linebacker but will actually replace the role of a safety in sub-packages.

Offensive line depth

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs-Training Camp
Kansas City Chiefs running back Charcandrick West (35) runs the ball as offensive guard Parker Ehinger (79) blocks during Kansas City Chiefs training camp presented by Mosaic Life Care at Missouri Western State University.
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Many expected the Chiefs to aggressively add a starter at left guard, but it’s clear that either Parker Ehinger or Bryan Witzmann will retain that job. Brett Veach said they would add to the depth on draft day, and they came away with Kahlil McKenzie as a former defensive lineman converting to offensive guard. Whether he’s ready to help the team this year or not is yet to be seen. I could see the Chiefs looking for additional help at swing tackle or center/guard. But, for now, they have a full depth chart including Cameron Erving and Jordan Devey.

Attitude and toughness on defense

NFL: Combine
Florida State Seminoles defensive lineman Derrick Nnadi speaks to the media during the 2018 NFL Combine at the Indianapolis Convention Center.
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

This one is more abstract, but it’s what Brett Veach, media and fans all agree was arguably the biggest need. The refusal to lose, nastiness, competitiveness and enthusiasm that can make the difference when the game is on the line. It’s a common thread among each and every one of the draft picks they added. There’s a new attitude to go along with the new depth chart for the Chiefs in 2018. Again, the only thing left is to see is if it produces new results on the field.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Arrowhead Pride Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your Kansas City Chiefs news from Arrowhead Pride