2015 Depth Charts: Kansas City Chiefs

| 2 years ago

2015 Depth Charts: Kansas City Chiefs

KC DCNotes

•  Travis Kelce emerged as one of the best and most well rounded tight ends in the league in 2014. Making an impact as a receiver, where he forced 17 missed tackles, he was also our highest graded run blocker at the position.

•  Boasting one of the best running back/ full back combinations in the league, the Chiefs are fortunate to have a back with the talent of Jamaal Charles able to follow the best lead blocker in the league in Anthony Sherman.

•  We didn’t see enough of Dee Ford last year, but he’s going to be called upon for a major role if the Chiefs don’t bring back Justin Houston. Playing just 122 snaps, he at least flashed as a pass rusher, with two sacks, three hits and five hurries.

•  Right now Kelcie McCray would be a starting safety for the Chiefs and, while we haven’t seen enough of him on defense, he and Josh Martin were two of the very best players on Special Teams in 2014.

Team Needs

Offensive Line: Eric Fisher stepped up in the second half of the 2014 season and, while he wasn’t great, did start to look like a solid starter. Even if he can maintain that form though, the Chiefs still need to address the offensive line this offseason. We haven’t seen enough of Eric Kush at center, while the other three starters haven’t shown themselves to be anything above Below Average starters at this point.

Wide Receiver: Dwayne Bowe’s play has dropped and now that he’s over 30-years-old, it’s fair to question if he can get back to the level we saw earlier in his career. Outside of him the wide receiver position is full of question marks, so adding some talent here makes a lot of sense.

Defensive Back: Will they give McCray a shot at free safety? Even if they decide to do that, adding another quality safety would be the smart move. At cornerback there is some solid talent, but it’s only Sean Smith who looks above average, so this might be another area which needs some attention.


Click here to see the rest of the charts.


| Analyst, Lead Special Teams Analyst

Gordon has worked at PFF since 2011, and now heads up the company’s special teams analysis processes. His work in-season focuses on college football, while he is also heavily involved in PFF’s NFL draft coverage.

  • Tyler Ferree

    If top 50 players in the league it the criteria for elite, considering the continued devaluation at the position (from a football persective) its questionable that a fullback could fit in that catagory.

  • Chris

    Oh lawd, Captain Checkdown is green?

    • JonLee

      I’ll take Captain Checkdown over Professor Picagin

      • Chris

        What about Dr. IgnoresMyWideouts?

    • Jaguars28

      Alex Smith is a good QB. He doesn’t make mistakes, is a solid game manager, and is a good leader (45-44 loss vs Indy in the playoffs, for example).

    • Riffle,Rod&Fly

      Alex Smith has the same rating as Matthew Stafford. I get the Stafford rating, I don’t get Smith’s.

      • MosesZD

        Because there’s more than one way to win a football game. You like Stafford’s way, you don’t like Smith’s.

        I think of it as ‘highlight-reel-itus.’ Someone makes a big play, it’s very stimulating to the amygdala and so it has a major impact on how you view the player. So someone like Stafford who makes the odd big play tends to make a strong impression.

        But the guy who steady Eddie and just grinds it out… There’s not the highlight reel to ‘testify’ to his greatness, the brain doesn’t get hyper-stimulated and therefore ‘he’s no good.’

        Smith is a good QB who plays a conservative game and rarely lets it all hang out (though he has done in the past, so he capable). But he’s graded on his production (positives and negatives) and he ends up better than about half of them.

        It’s the nature of his game and what he did to survive in the NFL after living through that horrible Charlie Foxtrot that was the Nolan and Singletary years.

        • Riffle,Rod&Fly

          So you’re saying 9-7 is winning games? The Chiefs are in decline in case you haven’t noticed. Stafford showed a high level of skill and made an impact but was inconsistent and (should have) won a playoff game. Alex Smith did not and was not and probably will not. He didn’t do much at all and in his 9 seasons, Smith hasn’t shown that he can do much more than he did this year. It’s that simple. With your argument, Dalton should have a good or even very good rating this year. He won more games in a more difficult division than smith.

          • Izach

            Dalton is taking the worst of both smith and stafford and putting them together, smith arm talent mixed with stafford gambling on risky throws, Dalton is saved by AJ green, but if Dalton takes less risks he can be better.

          • Riffle,Rod&Fly

            That is just not correct. Dalton spread the ball around a lot in 2013. He had no healthy receivers in 2014. PFF’s assessment is accurate. AJ is huge but Dalton can can be very good and very bad. He was mostly bad this year, especially in the 2nd half of the season. I’m not going to reward him for not having healthy wideouts and “average” is an understandable grade for him. Good Dalton is better than Alex Smith has ever been. Bad Dalton is more like Alex Smith was under Singletary.

            Stafford is a bit overrated because of his arm strength but probably has the highest ceiling of the three. The clock is ticking for him to ever be considered “Elite” though.

          • Izach

            Actually it is, Dalton is limited with is arm talent just like smith. I will say if smith is a 4th tier arm strength guy Dalton is slightly higher maybe bottom of 3rd tier, but daltons less accurate and had better WRs than smith did, green+Sanu better than bowe+anybody on Chiefs roster. Plus bengals have OL, even if green or Sanu were out one of them still better than rest of Chiefs WRs. Also daltons biggest issue is his risky play, if he would be more conservative with those throws he’d have less INTs and would look much better

          • Riffle,Rod&Fly

            Dalton is not a risk taker. He can make stupid throws. There is a difference. Dalton wouldn’t have one of the quickest times to release if he was a risk taker or just relied on Green. Neither is correct.

            Try watching the Bengals for a season. He can do nothing one game and have a league beating game the next. I agree that he is at his best when they have a controlled passing game and it showed early on this season. He still was able to throw TDs to wideouts and make big plays when necessary though. Sanu is not better than all of the Chief’s receivers and while Gresham is good, he is no where near what the Chiefs have had at TE. Stafford is a risk taker with the talent to get away with it occasionally. Alex Smith is just plain mediocrity.

          • Izach

            So stupid throws aren’t risky? That’s my whole point, Dalton tries too hard to be “the guy” he needs to “STAY WITHIN THE SYSTEM” like smith does, like you said “controlled passing game” is where both smith an Dalton are good enough. mediocrity is a bit low for smith. Dalton is in mediocrity because of his inconsistency. Smith is good because he consistently gives his players the opportunity to do the work their whole passing game is controlled short strikes with calculated risks deep. If daltons were on Chiefs chiefs would do worse because of daltons mistakes, if alex smith were on bengals they’d be the same team Less mistakes but also less big plays but more consistent offense. Offensive scheme doesn’t make players better just amplifies their traits good or bad.

          • Riffle,Rod&Fly

            What you are describing is Romo’s entire pro career before 2014. Romo=Risk Taker, Ham, Look-At-Me Doofus Guy

            In Dalton’s case, the system was to throw in his 1st three years under Gruden. The Bengals had success with a balanced offense earlier in the season under Jackson and he was efficient for a while. He fell apart at the end of the season though and offered little help to the team other than to go into Alex Smith mode. I’m not going to defend him and come up with a bunch of excuses why he overthrew everything under the sun by the end of the year but his ceiling isn’t so clear.

            So what is it that makes Alex Smith good exactly? He wins games? He doesn’t throw INT’s? 9 Years down the road and neither is true. Because he had to start his first year? Because all he had was Vernon Davis to throw to? Excuses. Alex Smith should have been an MLB Player. He’s a QB for the falsely optimistic.

          • Izach

            Idk what the hate is for alex smith, he isn’t over rated, he’s labeled as good that’s what he is, you are blaming him for that being his ceiling he is just good, he isn’t other worldly, he isn’t great, or the best at what he does, he’s just good, idk why you have it out for him. Being just good isn’t a bad thing, and it his situation he lets the Chiefs have playoff hopes every year and is a winning QB in the right scheme, sure he’s hesitant with deeper throws, and sometimes too conservative, but it’s not like his recieving cast is upper echelon either, give him D. Thomas, gronk, antonio brown, with a good OL and I bet his stats improve but the Chiefs can’t do that in one season. He also isnt a high volume passer either let him do that and his stats go up too. Stop bashing the guy for not being elite and just let him be him

          • Riffle,Rod&Fly

            Fair enough. The MLB comment was too harsh, although I heard he played. I really just think a good grade is too high. You have to score TDs in this league. KC, for all of its good natured, friendly and amicable sports fans can sometimes be too optimistic for its own good.

          • Izach

            I will say the Chiefs tend to run the ball more than the next team in the red zone also use them in pass game more than usual in redzone as well for Chiefs RBs to have 42total TDs last 2seasons is a lot. 31 rushing for their duo of Charles and Davis is why smiths TDs are down, a lot of QBs have inflated TD numbers because of goal line pass attempts that inflate numbers. I remember when the Rushing TD record was set year after year after year now QBs take those attempts for no reason, other than to increase stats. Hopefully the SB will change coaches minds about that tho haha

          • Izach

            As for Dalton id say he’s still young and could develop into a smarter player, smith didn’t get to what he is untill his 6th year Dalton hasn’t even played his 5th. I fully expect Dalton to get better and eventually lessen his IMO risky “stupid throws” as you say. I do think Dalton ceiling is higher than smiths but he needs to do better because as o now he isn’t better than smith

          • Izach

            Id say Sanu is better than AJ jenkins and Donnie Avery. Id actually say Sanu has potential to be much better than even bowe has been recently, and green is already better than bowe ever way IMO. Chiefs get Good use out of their TEs but that’s more scheme than the TEs talent level. They use and feature the TE so obviously the TE will appear better. Id give it a few years. Bengals have 2 1st round TEs if I remeber which I don’t understand if they don’t feature the TE they aren’t worth taking that early.

          • Izach

            Also bad Dalton is horrible, good Dalton is just good, that averages to less than average IMO alex smith is more consistent and usually above average that to me is good.

          • Riffle,Rod&Fly

            Did you watch Alex Smith in any of his first 5 years? There was plenty of horrible. He wouldn’t have made it into his 2nd season if he’d been taken in the 3rd round.

          • Izach

            If he was taken in the 3rd round he probably wouldn’t have started right away thus had time to learn a system, and been what he is now from the start, it’s irrelevent now. His first 5years were more a product of his situation than his ability and talent level. A his previous 4 years is what he is now, not his first 5 under differen coaches schemes and lackluster talent

          • MosesZD

            The first five years were a joke. The best WR the 49ers had during that time was Arnez Battle, a converted college QB with bad knees.

            And the thing is, NO QB in SF succeeded during that period. And despite all the hate directed toward Smith and his being labeled a bust and a loser, he’s still in the NFL and is, statistically, a decent, but not great QB who will (at times) flash (like his play off game against New Orleans) but generally just plays as mistake-free small-ball as he can.

            Which is, frankly, a proven winning strategy. Even if the ‘big passing play’ fans don’t like it. Just look at New England. They’ve, for most of Brady’s career, been a small-ball team.

          • MosesZD

            Not going to waste my effort with a unique reply. Copy-paste is good enough for your post.

            You mean like in 2011 when the 49ers went 13-3? And in the playoffs Smith brought the 49ers back, twice, with game winning 4th Quarter drives against the Saints?

            Only to have is WRs drop almost everything thrown to them and with one of them fumbling TWO PUNTS and causing the 49ers to lose the NFC Championship game against the Giants the following week? WRs that played so badly that Jerry Rice was calling in to the talk shows to complain about it? How Smith had a great passing effort with Davis and Gore, putting a lie to the ‘it was Smith’s fault?’

            Or how he was 6-2 the next year before the concussion lost him his job for the flash-in-the-pan Kaepernick? Or how he’s QBd the 2-14 Chiefs, still saddled with a horrible o-line and a mediocre WR corps, and helped them win 20 regular season games in the past two years?

          • Anthony

            What? Yes 9-7 is winning games, are you dense?

          • Riffle,Rod&Fly

            This isn’t MLB. 9-7 is on life support with little hope of the playoffs. You rarely get a cookie for going just above .500 in this league.

          • Anthony

            Sorry, but this is so dumb. You say Stafford should have won a playoff game but Smith shouldn’t have. Um, Smith actually has WON a playoff game, unlike Stafford. And if we’re talking about moral victories then Smith SHOULD have won his 2 other playoff games.

            Stafford has never produced consecutive winning seasons, Smith has essentially piloted 4 in a row.

            Oh, and the Chiefs are in decline? They just won 20 games in 2 years. From a quick glance on wikipedia, it looks like the Lions have NEVER produced that many wins in consecutive seasons. You’d have to go back to the 90s to find their last 2 consecutive winning seasons. But theyre on the rise?

            And on top of that you try to say Stafford has played in a tougher division. There was literally no winning team in the division a year ago. Since Smith arrived in the AFC West, the division has produced 70 wins, 4 playoff teams, and one conference winner. In that same timeframe the NFC North produced 63 wins and 2 ties, with 3 playoff teams.

            So yeah, get outta here with that nonsense.

        • Guest

          Sadly, this was probably a career year for our former #1 pick and his team was incredibly average for it. That is the level of play he brings and the grade he deserves. You can’t win if you don’t try.

          • MosesZD

            You mean like in 2011 when the 49ers went 13-3? And in the playoffs Smith brought the 49ers back, twice, with game winning 4th Quarter drives against the Saints?

            Only to have is WRs drop almost everything thrown to them and with one of them fumbling TWO PUNTS and causing the 49ers to lose the NFC Championship game against the Giants the following week? WRs that played so badly that Jerry Rice was calling in to the talk shows to complain about it? How Smith had a great passing effort with Davis and Gore, putting a lie to the ‘it was Smith’s fault?’

            Or how he was 6-2 the next year before the concussion lost him his job for the flash-in-the-pan Kaepernick? Or how he’s QBd the 2-14 Chiefs, still saddled with a horrible o-line and a mediocre WR corps, and helped them win 20 regular season games in the past two years?


  • Mh

    How in the world isn’t Jamaal Charles elite?

    • Chris

      I had the same question, but after looking at his profile I agree with their assessment.

      Charles was a rookie in 2008 and had an okay season. In 2009 and 2010 he was the best runner in the league, but bottom half as a pass catcher. Still he was so dominant as a runner that it was enough to rank him top 5 at the position and 1st overall in 2010.

      Then he tore his ACL in 2011 and missed most of the season.

      In the 3 years since then? He’s ranked in the top 10 as a runner all 3 years, but never above 3rd. He’s ranked bottom half as a pass catcher 2 of the 3 years. That includes this past year where he ranked top 10 as a runner (6th) but bottom half as a pass catcher (45th, out of 57 total).

      People still remember the Jamaal Charles of 2009 and 2010, the one that was the most dominant runner in the league. But 2010 was the last time he was the literal best in the league, and he’s struggled most of his career as a pass catcher.

      Simply put, if “Elite” is supposed to mean the top 50 players in the league regardless of position, and there are 22 positions on a team, that doesn’t leave room for 5 HBs.

      • jcomp11

        The fact that Sherman is included as elite pretty much blows your last sentence (and whole post really).

        • Chris

          Sherman is the top FB in the league. Just because there isn’t room for 5-6 HBs doesn’t mean you can’t include the best FB?

          • jcomp11

            You’re considering the position for Sherman but not for Charles….that was my point. You either consider it for all players or none. But if “elite” truly means one of the top 50 players regardless of position, in no way should Sherman be considered elite, and I’m a huge fan of his.

      • Vitor

        Not disagreeing at all, but he should should take credit for running behind that line and for playing in a team which pass offense doesn’t scare anyone.

        • Chris

          A fair point. But, he also has the benefit of running behind the best FB in the league, so that helps negate a bit of the OL.

          • Jack

            No it doesn’t. Turn on a Chiefs game sometime and get away from the numbers you have no clue what you’re talking about.

          • DrAWNiloc

            True, although it comes at the cost of that albeit great FB telegraphing where Jamaal is going to run. All things considered (e.g. no O-Line, no TD threat through the air, no backup, no element of surprise, aging game manager QB, etc.), I think 2014 was his most impressive year ever. Hell, the fact that he SURVIVED 2014 is remarkable.

            At first, the fact that PFF didn’t take everyone else’s performance into account bothered me but now I can appreciate the benefit. By granulating things we can see the factors at play and, if these are resolved, we can predict an upswing in the focal player’s results.

      • Troll Chris

        Hey look. Chris is blowing PFF. Again

    • Andrew Carroll

      Because these “grades” are NOT career assessments. They are grades from last season, where Charles was PFF’s 13th ranked back primarily because of his poor grade in the passing game.

      13th does not equal “elite” according to PFF’s grading.

  • Riffle,Rod&Fly

    When has Dwayne Bowe not been disappointing?

    • Izach

      That one year with 15 TDs haha, almost seems like different era with how long ago that was

  • Riffle,Rod&Fly

    What is the significance (if any) of the bold font for some players?

    • Yonatan Bogale

      30+ year old players

      • Riffle,Rod&Fly

        I see. Thanks!

  • cameronmm

    I thought Knile Davis was one of the better backups in the game? Did he have a bad year?

    • bobrulz

      Looking at the advanced stats and grades:
      His highest rushing grade on the year was +0.5, his total was -9.4 on just 143 attempts, the worst in the league.

      He was a non-factor in the passing game with only 1 green grade.

      His Elusive Rating was only 28.9, 31st out of 42.

      All of this adds up to, in their rating system, one of the worst running backs in the league.

      • Vitor

        Also bad in pass protection.

      • Doug Emerson

        All fumbles result in a -2 grade, so if you take those 4 out he has -1.4 rushing grade, which isn’t terrible.

  • AntKC27

    How is Charles not considered Elite? Anthony fasano catches 5 TDs as a backup and he is below average? How do they come up with this crap?

  • Shane

    How is knile Davis the only player on this depth chart with a poor ranking? I would rank him higher than all the players ranked below average at least!


    I think Charles should be elite too, based on the fact that the o-line was terrible.

  • Jaguars28

    Justin Houston was tagged.

    • http://gplus.to/Tarkus Tarkus

      He was tagged after this was posted.

  • Anthony

    I don’t like these labels. PFF presents them like they are scientific categories but they aren’t even based on PFF grades.

    How else can you explain Sean Smith (who was top 5 in cornerback grades this year) being “good,” while guys like Patrick Peterson are “very good” when they have significantly lower grades. Sean Smith is in the same category as tons of corners despite playing at a way higher level (according to PFF).

    Then there’s Derrick Johnson (who was “elite” last year). His lable dropped even though he spent the whole year on IR. How is that justifiable?

    So if these lables aren’t based off PFF grades (and are in fact subjective) then what’s the point of having 6+ categorizations? And then how what is the justification of Jamaal Charles not bent elite?