Kansas City Chiefs: Five players who must step up

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A first round pick can’t sit the bench forever. The Chiefs need to find more ways to get Ford on the field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Dee Ford – At one point this offseason, it was expected that Dee Ford would be taking over the starting outside linebacker job across from Justin Houston. However, with the Chiefs essentially re-signing Tamba Hali until he decides he is done playing, Ford’s status is up in the air. That means he may end up being on the bench a lot more than we expected.

Don’t get me wrong, the Chiefs need to find a way for their 2014 first round pick to see the field more. But with Tamba Hali returning, it’s hard to imagine where Ford will be getting that playing time. I have suggested a few times that the Chiefs explore moving Ford to the inside linebacker spot next to Derrick Johnson.

While many fans and analysts scoff at that idea, it is the same exact thing the Packers did with Clay Matthews this past year. Ford has all of the physical tools needed to play well at the inside spot, and as long as the Chiefs have the outside spot covered, Ford is just being wasted by not being on the field. We need more from our first-round pick.

If the Chiefs can get improved play from this group, then the team will be in a strong position to move closer to winning a Lombardi Trophy. Even improvements from just a couple of these guys will go a long way. While adding talent through the draft and free agency is good, getting more talented from within is always the preferable way to go.