Kansas City Chiefs: Top 10 players in 2015

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Dec 28, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Allen Bailey (97) is congratulated by nose tackle Dontari Poe (92) after sacking San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) (not pictured) during the second half at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs won 19-7. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas City Chiefs are going to be a good team in 2015. After consecutive winning seasons under head coach Andy Reid, Kansas City appears primed to make a legitimate run come September. The Chiefs have made some changes this offseason, fixing up the offense while reinforcing the defense.

Looking at the roster, it is apparent Kansas City is not only deep, but loaded with stars at multiple positions. The Chiefs have ample talent on both sides of the ball, a stark difference from only three years ago. General manager John Dorsey has been able to add through the NFL Draft while allowing Reid to cultivate some of the men already in place.

With that in mind, let’s project which Chiefs will be the 10 best for the team in 2015:

10. Dontari Poe

Poe is the best nose tackle in the NFL. Last year, Poe registered 46 tackles and six sacks, a major total considering he is double and triple-teamed every down. Poe’s presence allows Kansas City’s linebackers to flow to the ball without getting touched.

So why only the 10th-most impactful? Frankly, this team has so many others who will contribute, somebody had to land here. Poe is fantastic, making the Pro Bowl twice in his three-year career. If defensive coordinator Bob Sutton can rotate Poe a bit more to keep him fresh, the numbers will only be better.

Projection: 50 tackles, 6.5 sacks

9. Marcus Peters

The rookie makes the list because his aggressiveness will lead to interceptions. Peters approaches every snap like it is a backyard brawl, something that will serve him well in Sutton’s defense. With Sean Smith on the other side, quarterbacks will constantly be looking to test Peters, giving him plenty of chances to change the game.

He’s a rookie, so expect Peters to be beaten at times. If Smith gets suspended for the first two games of the campaign for his guilty plea involving his DUI case, Peters will face opponents’ top receivers. If he can succeed in those spots, look out.

Projection: 66 tackles, five interceptions, 16 passes defensed

8. De’Anthony Thomas

Everybody’s favorite wind-up toy lands at the eighth spot. Thomas is electric to watch both on offense and special teams. Reid must love sitting up at night, figuring out ways to get the ball to Thomas. Last year, Thomas was torturing defenses on jet sweeps and quick outs, getting to the corner and heading upfield.

Tons of Thomas’ value comes on punt returns, where he is a threat to score at any moment. As a rookie in 2014, Thomas was rated as the second-best punt retuner by Pro Football Focus, only rated behind Darren Sproles of the Philadelphia Eagles.

Projection: 1,300 all-purpose yards, seven touchdowns

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