[Chart last updated 7/8/14]
• So why is Marcus Cooper below average after such a strong start to his NFL career? Well, after amassing a +9.1 coverage grade through Week 9, teams really started to figure Cooper out in the second half of the season. And when they did, it wasn’t pretty. His coverage grade over the next five games was -15.8 and, while his play leveled off at the end of the year, it’s tough to have him any higher after that rough stretch.
• None of the elite players should really come as a surprise, but what it highlights is how top heavy the Chiefs roster is. Five of the twelve starters on defense (including the slot corner as a starter) are High Quality or better, but there’s a lot of uncertainty when it comes to depth.
• Dwayne Bowe is a player who flashes brilliance, but just fails to deliver it on a consistent basis. He’s forced 20 missed tackles as a receiver over the past two years, but has produced just 1,473 receiving yards in that span too.
• You might think that Alex Smith should be rated higher but, in truth, he took a step back as a passer in his first year in Kansas City. He had just five games where he had a passing grade of +1.1 or better, compared with six of -1.5 or lower.
1. Wide Receiver
Despite Bowe’s lack of consistency, he’s by far the best receiver on this roster and, while Donnie Avery was the team’s clear No. 2 last year, that doesn’t say much for the rest of the receiving corps. They’ve also lost Dexter McCluster who added something different to their offense, so who steps up to replace his 601 snaps will be interesting. Junior Hemingway looks like the likely candidate to see more snaps, and could find a niche in the slot if he proves himself. Outside of that it’s hard to get too excited about either A.J. Jenkins or Kyle Williams, but what’s clear is that someone, somewhere has to step up for the Chiefs.
2. Backup Running Back
As their lone elite player on offense, Jamaal Charles is not only the team’s top running back, but also their most important offensive weapon. Behind him on the depth chart they have just 263 career snaps, however, with Knile Davis, Cyrus Gray and rookie De’Anthony Thomas. That won’t fill you with much confidence if Charles needs a break or if he was to miss anytime through injury, so they’ll be hoping that one of those three can establish themselves as a solid second option this offseason.
3. Defensive End
With Dontari Poe and Mike Devito assumingly locked in as starters, there’s just one more spot up for grabs on the defensive line in Kansas City. Allen Bailey was on the field for 453 snaps last year and didn’t do a bad job, looking dependable against the run. With Tyson Jackson leaving for Atlanta in free agency, however, defensive lineman Vance Walker went the other way, arriving in Kansas City in March. It’s not a bad problem for the Chiefs to have, though, especially when you consider Bailey’s 453 regular season snaps were the most his three-year career so far and it wouldn’t be a shock to see both play a decent number of snaps as part of the defensive line rotation.
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