The Kansas City Chiefs had an excellent draft class in 2010 but a majority of their success in 2010 can be attributed to the development of their own players.
The Chiefs had multiple holes to fill entering the 2010 season and they were relying on many of those holes to be filled by the same guys who were part of the team’s 4-12 2009 season.
The development of players like Dwayne Bowe, Matt Cassel, Jovan Belcher, Brandon Flowers, Brandon Carr, Glenn Dorsey, Jamaal Charles, Barry Richardson and Branden Albert were all keys to KC’s 2010 run.
Now the players I mentioned above all had varying degrees of success and development but it can’t be argued that all of them didn’t improve at least a little bit.
After the jump, we’ll take a look at the players the Chiefs need to develop or continue to develop to get themselves through a rough schedule next season.
Berry made a huge impact this year and doesn’t have as far to go as many of his teammates. A step forward for Berry in 2011 will likely mean a step into the Pro Bowl.
Lewis was a 5th round pick and played very well splitting time with John McGraw. Expect the Chiefs to give Lewis the job full time next year and if he steps up, the Chiefs could have the most dangerous safety tandem in the NFL.
Mike Vrabel held Studebaker back this year but now it is time to see what the kid has got. If Studebaker can step up then the Chiefs are in good shape at OLB.
Belcher’s continued development is key. An undrafted free agent out of division three, the Chiefs would love to see Belcher make the year three leap. One of the team’s best tacklers, Belcher needs to show he can also be a play maker by reeling in some picks or sacks. 2-sack performance in the playoff game vs. the Ravens was a nice start.
Dorsey is about to enter his 4th season. While he hasn’t developed as quickly as many would have liked he has clearly improved every season. The Chiefs need him to generate more pressure next year.
The Chiefs will likely bring back Perv Smith and Wallace Gilberry but they have a lot of money invested in T-Jax. Jackson was a little bit better this year but he was limited due to injury and the play of Smith and Gilberry. While the Chiefs are doing alright at DE, they need Jackson to step up simply because he is too dang expensive to be a backup.
A whole lot of talent in a very tiny package. The Chiefs want McCluster to be a WR but that isn’t working out so well. It could be because Matt Cassel can’t see him behind all those defensive lineman but chances are it is because he isn’t getting open. McCluster needs to start watching footage of DeSean Jackson now and he should not stop until next season. In fact, he should be calling Jackson to see if he can work out with him.
Jackson: 5-10, 175 pounds
McCluster: 5-8, 170 pounds
Todd Haley and whoever the Chiefs hire as offensive coordinator had better be watching film of how the Eagles use Jackson as well.
As long as he stays healthy I think McCluster will get it and I think he will soon be a force. He is a good kid and a hard worker so as the Chiefs figure out how to use him he will develop.
The Chiefs are sure to be shopping for receivers this offseason but that doesn’t mean they should ignore the potential of rookie surprise Verran Tucker. If I was Haley, I’d be sending Tucker to Larry Fitzgerald’s receiver camp along with Bowe. Tucker has earned a roster spot with his special teams play but it would really help the Chiefs if he developed into a reliable receiver in the next couple of years.
Brian Waters could be done for at any given moment and the Chiefs need Asamoah to be ready to step in. He didn’t play a lot this year so he is still a bit of an unknown but a season learning from Waters and Lilja sure couldn’t have hurt him.
I am throwing Carr on this list because I am not sure if he has peaked yet. I’ve said for a couple of years that Carr was about 1-year behind Flowers in his development even though they came into the league the same year. I feel Carr was just about as good this year, particularly near the end of the year, as Flowers was last year. If Carr gets anywhere near as good as Flowers was in 2010 in 2011, the Chiefs will be difficult to throw on.
Arenas developed well this season. He got picked on a lot early but he got his average down quite a bit as the year went on. The Chiefs need him to continue to get better to complete what could be a very formidable secondary.
Moeaki was one of the better tight ends in the league and he was just a rookie. He is the real deal and if all goes well he could join Eric Berry in next year’s Pro Bowl.
Those are my key players the Chiefs need to develop. Who is on your list Addicts?