QB Alex Smith, QB Chase Daniel, FB Anthony Sherman, WR Donnie Avery, TE Anthony Fasano, G Geoff Schwartz, DE/DT Mike Devito, DE/OLB Frank Zombo, ILB Akeem Jordan, ILB Zach Diles, CB Sean Smith, CB Dunta Robinson.
Early Draft Picks:
OT Eric Fisher, TE Travis Kelce, RB Knile Davis, ILB Nico Johnson, CB Sanders Commings. Chiefs Rookie Forecast Offseason Losses:
QB Matt Cassel, QB Brady Quinn, RB Peyton Hillis, WR Steve Breaston, TE Kevin Boss, OT Eric Winston, G Ryan Lilja, DT Glenn Dorsey, DT Ropati Pitoitua, DE/OLB Andy Studebaker, ILB Brandon Siler, CB Javier Arenas, S Abram Elam.
2013 Kansas City Chiefs Offense:
For a 2-14 team, the Chiefs sure had a ton of talent on their roster. They sent six players to the Pro Bowl, after all. But given that the NFL is such a pass-happy league, Kansas City couldn't win any games because of its poor quarterback play. Matt Cassel was atrocious in his first full season without Charlie Weis as his offensive coordinator, throwing 12 interceptions (to just six touchdowns) and losing seven fumbles. This was a far cry from his 27-to-7 ratio (with one fumble) when coached by Weis in 2010.
Cassel was cut this offseason and was replaced by another backup from a Super Bowl-contending team. This time, Kansas City spent two Day 2 selections to obtain Alex Smith. The former No. 1 overall pick in 2005, Smith was having a pretty pedestrian career until Jim Harbaugh showed up in San Francisco. Smith was thought of a possible candidate for release, but Harbaugh turned him around. Smith still came up small when it counted most - he completed just one first down in the loss to the Giants in the NFC Championship in January 2012 - and has limitations with his arm strength. He's bound to decline without Harbaugh, just as Cassel did when Weis left.
Smith is basically just a slightly better version of Cassel, but all the Chiefs need for him to do to contend for a playoff spot in a thin AFC is to take care of the football. Smith has never thrown more than 16 interceptions in a single season (2006, 16 games), so he can definitely be a decent game-manager. Perhaps his ability to avoid turnovers will rub off on Dwayne Bowe, a talented, but highly inefficient receiver. Bowe was a mess in 2012, dropping tons of passes and fumbling the ball at the worst moments. The Chiefs signed Bowe to a 5-year, $56 million deal with $26 million guaranteed in early March, so he doesn't have any incentive to not slack off this season.
Smith will have to rely on Jamaal Charles early and often. The lightning-quick Charles, who rushed for 1,509 yards despite coming off ACL surgery, will likely see a reduction in carries, but only because the pass-happy Andy Reid will want to throw it more often. Given that, Charles could approach 60 receptions this season if he plays all 16 games. Regardless of how he gets the ball, Charles is talented enough to go the distance at any moment.
The rest of Smith's supporting cast is pretty shaky. Former first-rounder Jon Baldwin never lived up to expectations, so Kansas City brought in Donnie Avery this offseason. Avery is a known name, but he's very inefficient; he tied for fourth among receivers in drops with 12 despite seeing far fewer targets than those ranked ahead of him in that dubious category. Meanwhile, at tight end, third-round rookie Travis Kelce is expected to contend for the starting job with the injury-prone Tony Moeaki. Anthony Fasano, formerly of the Dolphins, will be the blocking tight end.
The Chiefs' first-round pick this April was used on Eric Fisher, who will be the team's blind-side protector for a long time. Fisher will be on the right side for now, as Kansas City franchised Branden Albert. Also a former No. 1 selection, Albert is solid when healthy, but has back issues. Those knocked him out of five contests in 2012.
The interior of Kansas City's line is pretty stout as well. Center Rodney Hudson will be back after breaking his leg in September. He had been performing pretty well up until that injury. Fourth-year Jon Asamoah was outstanding at right guard last season. The only major hole up front, provided Albert can stay healthy, is at left guard. Former Viking Geoff Schwartz, Jeff Allen, a 2012 second-rounder, and Donald Stephenson, a 2012 third-rounder, will be vying for that position. There's also a chance Allen will play center if Hudson isn't ready to play.
2013 Kansas City Chiefs Defense:
Four of the six aforementioned Kansas City Pro Bowlers came from the defense. Two of them were pass-rushers. Justin Houston and Tamba Hali combined for a whopping 19 sacks - a very impressive feat considering that the Chiefs seldom held a lead. That number should increase because the team is better overall this season.
The third Pro Bowler was also a linebacker. Derrick Johnson paced the team with 125 tackles and three forced fumbles. He was a force against the run. Unfortunately, the other inside linebacker was Jovan Belcher, who committed suicide in front of Romeo Crennel on Dec. 1. Belcher was a solid, two-down run-defender, so his play on the field and locker room presence were both missed. The Chiefs signed Akeem Jordan and spent a fourth-round pick on Nico Johnson in an attempt to replace Belcher. Neither looks like a viable solution right now, but perhaps Nico Johnson will emerge as a competent player.
Last but not least, safety Eric Berry was also voted to go to Hawaii. Berry wasn't very good early on in 2012, as he perhaps still suffered from the remnants of his ACL tear. However, he was back to rookie form in November and December, so that should carry over into 2013.
Like Berry, free safety Kendrick Lewis was affected by an injury this past season. He battled through a bum shoulder which caused him to miss seven games and perform ineffectively in many others. He figures to improve as well in 2013.
Lewis and Berry will be playing with some new cornerbacks, though the No. 1 player at that position has returned. Brandon Flowers, who signed a 6-year, $49 million deal in September 2011, has been worth every penny. He's a very solid top cornerback who surrendered just two touchdowns after Week 3. Flowers started across from Stanford Routt and Javier Arenas last year, but both are gone. The Chiefs brought in Sean Smith and Dunta Robinson as upgrades. Smith, currently the favorite to start, can be inconsistent, but he's still much better than Routt.
Another player who was expected to be released was Tyson Jackson, but the Chiefs retained him when they sliced $10 million off his salary. Jackson is still making too much money at $4.2 million, but having him around is not a bad thing because he can be decent in run support. He offers zero pass rush, but that's what Kansas City has Hali and Houston for.
Dontari Poe and Mike Devito will join Jackson up front. Poe barely did anything despite being the 11th pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, so he needs to step up and become a better run-defender at the nose tackle position. If he struggles in that department again, Devito can pick up the slack. He was a solid contributor for the Jets last year.
2013 Kansas City Chiefs Schedule and Intangibles:
The Chiefs need to bring back the Arrowhead magic that existed prior to 2007. Since that year, Kansas City is a dreadful 15-34 as a host.
Andy Reid is one of the most overrated head coaches in the NFL. The media loves him for some reason, but he constantly makes game-day blunders. Few manage timeouts and the final minutes of games worse than he does. Having said that, Reid is a colossal upgrade over Romeo Crennel.
Reid had poor special-teams units in Philadelphia after John Harbaugh left for Baltimore, and that will likely continue in Kansas City. The Chiefs surrendered two return scores in 2012 and were outgained on both punts and kickoffs.
Kicker Ryan Succop drilled 28-of-34 attempts last year, including a perfect 2-of-2 from 50-plus. He's 5-of-5 from that range the past two seasons.
Dustin Colquitt, another Kansas City Pro Bowler, tied for seventh in net punting average. He was second, only behind Arizona's Dave Zastudil, in terms of pinning opponents inside the own 20.
The Chiefs have a very easy, last-place schedule. They battle just four opponents who made the playoffs last year. Seven of their first nine foes are: Jacksonville, Dallas, Philadelphia, Tennessee, Oakland, Cleveland and Buffalo.
2013 Kansas City Chiefs Rookies:
Go here for the Chiefs Rookie Forecast, a page with predictions like which rookie will bust and which rookie will become a solid starter.
2013 Kansas City Chiefs Positional Rankings (1-5 stars):
2013 Kansas City Chiefs Analysis: What was written here last year still applies: The Chiefs would be a Super Bowl contender if they had a very good quarterback. Alex Smith does not qualify as one, unfortunately. Still, he and Andy Reid are both superior to the Matt Cassel-Romeo Crennel combination, so they'll be better than they were in 2012. They won't have a chance to win the division unless Peyton Manning gets hurt, but they'll be in contention for a wild card spot.
Please note that the overall grade is not an average of all the individual grades. Other things are taken into account like team needs and goals.
Goals Entering the 2013 NFL Draft: The Chiefs made an awful mistake in giving up way too much for Alex Smith. They're now stuck with him, so they need to be elite everywhere else. This means that they have to take the best players available. They have some big needs like receiver, right tackle and inside linebacker, but they can't really worry about that. With a pedestrian signal-caller like Smith under center, the Chiefs have to be very strong in all other areas.
2013 NFL Draft Accomplishments: What if you were to tell the Chiefs that they could have obtained both Luke Joeckel/Eric Fisher and Geno Smith in the 2013 NFL Draft? Think they still would have gone through with the Alex Smith trade? It'd be interesting to see how they would have reacted in that scenario.
As for this actual draft, Kansas City didn't fare too well. Travis Kelce is a big risk at No. 63 because of his off-the-field issues, and it's not like he stands to be much of an upgrade over the combination of Tony Moeaki and Anthony Fasano anyway. There were better running backs at No. 96 than Knile Davis. The Arkansas runner is a fumbling machine, which can't possibly sound appealing to fans of the Chiefs after they watched their team commit countless turnovers last year.
Sanders Commings was a nice value selection at No. 134, while Nico Johnson could be a solid complement to Derrick Johnson. It must be noted though that Andy Reid was a pretty pedestrian drafter when he was with the Eagles. That's why the Fisher-over-Joeckel selection has to be questioned, especially when the Kansas City scouts and general manager wanted the A&M blocker.
Overall, I don't feel like the Chiefs improved their roster very much via the 2013 NFL Draft. Outside of Fisher (and maybe Davis in short yardage), no one Kansas City drafted may make a positive impact in the near future.
2013 NFL Draft Individual Grades:
1. Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan: C+ Grade
An offensive tackle is what makes sense most for the Chiefs. Branden Albert was franchised, so he probably won't be around in 2014. He may not even make it to training camp because he could be dealt to the Dolphins, per reports. Luke Joeckel was the consensus top tackle in the 2013 NFL Draft, so he would have been the right pick. Eric Fisher has been considered the lesser prospect throughout, but Andy Reid liked him more than Joeckel. They're both close in talent, but selecting a rising prospect based on workouts is usually treacherous. Also, I'm penalizing the Chiefs because they traded for Alex Smith too soon and ruined all leverage they could have had for a potential trade. There shouldn't have been any hurry to overpay for Smith. That trade earned Kansas City a "Millen" grade, as you can see in the 2013 NFL Free Agent Grades page.
63. Travis Kelce, TE, Cincinnati: C Grade
Tight end was not a need with Tony Moeaki and Anthony Fasano on the roster. Travis Kelce could eventually emerge as an upgrade, but only if he stays out of trouble. He has off-the-field issues. This pick isn't very good.
96. Knile Davis, RB, Arkansas: C- Grade
The Chiefs were searching for a power back to complement Jamaal Charles. However, Knile Davis is not a good runner and has terrible fumbling issues. Kansas City overdrafted him.
99. Nico Johnson, ILB, Alabama: B- Grade
Nico Johnson should be able to compete for the starting job next to Derrick Johnson, vacated by Jovan Belcher. This is slightly higher than I thought Johnson would go, but it's still an OK pick.
134. Sanders Commings, CB, Georgia: B+ Grade
This doesn't fill a need, but there's no denying the value. Sanders Commings could have been taken at the end of the third round. He's a tall corner, which is in vogue right now, so I thought he'd go earlier than No. 134.
170. Eric Kush, C, California-Pa.: C Grade
Eric Kush wasn't considered draftable by most, but it's the sixth round. The Chiefs need to bring in interior offensive line depth just in case they can't get Ryan Lilja to return.
204. Braden Wilson, FB, Kansas State: B Grade
Andy Reid still likes to use fullbacks, and Braden Wilson is a solid one. The value is just right for him at the end of the sixth round.
207. Mike Catapano, DE, Princeton: B- Grade
This is a tough one to grade. I like Mike Catapano and feel like he should have gone in the fifth round. However, I don't like his fit in the Kansas City defense. Andy Reid has quite frequently selected players who don't fit his stop unit, so this is not surprising at all.
Things looked promising for the Chiefs when they knocked off a pair of teams that reached the divisional of the playoffs in 2011 (Packers, Broncos). However, that just turned out to be a mirage, as injuries, a disappointing defense, a banged-up offensive line and terrible quarterbacking capsized Kansas City's chances in 2012. Of course, all of that paled in comparison to the tragedy that occurred on Dec. 1 when linebacker Jovan Belcher killed his girlfriend and then shot himself in front of Romeo Crennel and Scott Pioli. The Chiefs have to completely reboot both mentally and personnel-wise.
Cardinals acquire CB Javier Arenas from Chiefs for FB Anthony Sherman
Chiefs sign ILB Akeem Jordan
Chiefs sign ILB Zach Diles
Seahawks sign QB Brady Quinn
Chiefs sign DE/OLB Frank Zombo
Chiefs cut DE/OLB Andy Studebaker
Titans sign DT Ropati Pitoitua
Chiefs re-sign DE/OLB Edgar Jones
Bears sign TE Steve Maneri
Chiefs sign G Geoff Schwartz
Chiefs sign CB Sean Smith
Vikings sign QB Matt Cassel
Chiefs cut QB Matt Cassel
Chiefs re-sign G Bryan Mattison
49ers sign DT Glenn Dorsey
Chiefs sign WR Donnie Avery
Chiefs sign DE/DT Mike DeVito
Chiefs sign QB Chase Daniel
Chiefs sign TE Anthony Fasano
Chiefs sign CB Dunta Robinson
Chiefs cut OT Eric Winston
Chiefs re-sign WR Dwayne Bowe
Chiefs franchise OT Branden Albert
Chiefs re-sign P Dustin Colquitt
Chiefs acquire QB Alex Smith from 49ers
Chiefs cut WR Steve Breaston
Chiefs cut TE Kevin Boss
Chiefs sign S Husain Abdullah
Chiefs sign WR Mardy Gilyard
Chiefs sign DE/DT Marcus Dixon
Chiefs fire HC Romeo Crennel
Chiefs announce retirement of G Ryan Lilja
Quarterback: Kansas City's No. 1 priority is to find a franchise quarterback. Unfortunately, this is the wrong year to have the top pick in the draft, as a new general manager would've had to reach for Geno Smith, Matt Barkley, Tyler Wilson or Mike Glennon. Trading for Nick Foles or Alex Smith are options. Traded for Alex Smith; signed Chase Daniel
Two Wide Receivers: This assumes Dwayne Bowe leaves via free agency and factors in Steve Breaston's release. Kansas City's new quarterback will need someone to throw to. The front office can nab someone like Justin Hunter atop the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft. Re-signed Dwayne Bowe; signed Donnie Avery and Mardy Gilyard
Right Tackle: Branden Albert was franchised, but Eric Winston got released. Albert could slide into the right tackle spot if the Chiefs draft Luke Joeckel or Eric Fisher No. 1 overall. Franchised Branden Albert; drafted Eric Fisher
Defensive End: Glenn Dorsey signed with the 49ers, but he wasn't a good fit for the 3-4 anyway. The Chiefs need to generate more pressure up front. Signed Mike DeVito and Marcus Dixon
Inside Linebacker: Kansas City needs to recover from the unfortunate Jovan Belcher tragedy. A new inside linebacker will be needed alongside Derrick Johnson. Signed Zac Diles and Akeem Jordan; drafted Nico Johnson
Guard: Ryan Lilja has announced his retirement. The Chiefs cannot go with Jeff Allen as a starter again because he's been dreadful. Signed Geoff Schwartz
Cornerback: Javier Arenas has played well since Stanford Routt was unceremoniously released. He could stick as the starter across from Brandon Flowers, but the Chiefs will still need to find some depth. Signed Sean Smith and Dunta Robinson; drafted Sanders Commings
Rush Linebacker: The Chiefs need depth behind Tamba Hali and Justin Houston. Signed Frank Zombo
Center: Kansas City didn't exactly have a great Plan B when Rodney Hudson went down with a season-ending injury. A reliable backup should be added.
Fullback: If Kansas City's new offensive coordinator plans on using a fullback, he'll have to find one this offseason. Traded for Anthony Sherman
Running Back: The Chiefs could use a power back to replace Peyton Hillis. Drafted Knile Davis
Dwayne Bowe is one of the most overrated players in the NFL. He consistently posts solid fantasy numbers, so people think he's better than he really is. The box score doesn't show that Bowe constantly drops passes and is responsible for interceptions. He's a very good No. 2 wideout, but he's too unreliable to be a top option.
Branden Albert, OT, Chiefs. Age: 28. Franchised by Chiefs
Branden Albert's a solid left tackle when he's in the lineup - he surrendered just one sack in 11 starts this year - but his issue is that he suffers from chronic back spasms. He can't be counted on to play 16 games.
Eric Winston, OT, Chiefs. Age: 29.
Eric Winston's release is a strange one. He had a high number of penalties this past season, but played pretty well otherwise. He's a good zone-blocking lineman. Reuniting with the Texans and/or Matt Cassel makes the most sense.
Ryan Lilja, G, Chiefs. Age: 31. Announced retirement
Ryan Lilja has been a tremendous run-blocker for the Chiefs. He also showed versatility, moving to center following Rodney Hudson's injury. Unfortunately, he couldn't get over a knee injury this season, and he has even contemplated retirement.
Glenn Dorsey, DT, Chiefs. Age: 28. Signed with 49ers
Glenn Dorsey is a bust as the fifth-overall selection in 2008. He can stop the run when healthy, so he's serviceable in that regard. I'd also like to see what he can do in a 4-3, a system more suited toward his strengths.
Ropati Pitoitua (RFA), DE/DT, Chiefs. Age: 28. Signed with Titans
Ropati Pitoitua has served as a solid rotational defensive lineman for the Chiefs. He's solid in run support and tallied two sacks in a game against the Chargers.
Peyton Hillis, RB, Chiefs. Age: 27.
Remember when Peyton Hillis was winning fantasy leagues and appearing on the cover of Madden? There's still time for him to rehab his career, but things aren't looking too optimistic. Worst-case scenario, he can still become a CIA agent.
Matt Cassel, QB, Chiefs. Age: 31. Signed with Vikings
Matt Cassel has proven that he can take a team to the playoffs if he has terrific coaching and great personnel around him. Everything has to be perfect. But even then, he can't advance in the postseason because of his physical limitations. All Cassel should have been this whole time is a top-notch backup.
Abram Elam, FS, Chiefs. Age: 31.
Steve Breaston, WR, Chiefs. Age: 30.
Kevin Boss, TE, Chiefs. Age: 29.
Steve Maneri (RFA), TE, Chiefs. Age: 25. -- Signed with Bears
Brandon Siler, ILB, Chiefs. Age: 27.
Jake O'Connell, TE, Chiefs. Age: 27.
Russ Hochstein, G/C, Chiefs. Age: 35.
Brady Quinn, QB, Chiefs. Age: 28. -- Signed with Seahawks
Shaun Smith, NT, Chiefs. Age: 32.
Edgar Jones, DE/OLB, Chiefs. Age: 28. -- Re-signed with Chiefs
Travis Daniels, FS, Chiefs. Age: 30.
Andy Studebaker, DE/OLB, Chiefs. Age: 27.
Bryan Mattison, G, Chiefs. Age: 29. -- Re-signed with Chiefs
I would bet 10 units on both the Packers and Patriots, and then 5 units on the Packers in the Super Bowl. The Packers will obviously blow out the Falcons and Tom Brady is the best QB of all time. They've both won 7 consecutive games (Rodgers and Brady) and they are both unstoppable. Rodgers will obviously throw a touchdown in the final seconds to win the Super Bowl. I would bet a million dollars that this will happen.
So Big Ben, who has struggled all year on the road despite the competition and is banged up, is just going to magically find his groove and torch us? Anything's possible, but using the Seahawks game, which was ages ago and came shortly after we had to adjust after the Jamie Collins trade, is pretty dumb on your part.