Who is Kansas City Chiefs’ third-best player?

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Dec 14, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith (11) throws the ball against the Oakland Raiders in the first half at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Alex Smith

This is a controversial stance for someone to take, but it has merit. Without Smith, the Chiefs have absolutely no shot of making the playoffs. With him, most would agree this team can contend for the Super Bowl. It’s not easy to find capable quarterbacks in the NFL these days, and Smith is certainly that.

If you believe that your best players are the most valuable ones, Smith certainly belongs in this discussion. While Chase Daniel is a nice backup, he wouldn’t be able to produce on the level of Smith if Week 17 of last year was any indication. Smith has never eclipsed 3,400 passing yards in a season, but he remains a vital cog in Kansas City.

Dontari Poe

Poe is not someone who racks up a ton of statistics, but he is perhaps the most important defensive player on the team along with Houston. Poe eats up double and triple-teams all day long because of his massive 346-pound frame. Poe also recorded six sacks in 2014, a terrific number for a nose tackle in the 3-4 system.

Poe fails to get the recognition nationally because he does the dirty work, but without him Kansas City would be up the creek. Entering his fourth season in the league, the two-time Pro Bowler and 2013 second-team All-Pro is just hitting the prime of his career. Look out.

Sean Smith

Before last year, Smith would not be in this conversation. However, Smith became one of the elite corners in the NFL last season, taking away the opposition’s best receiver every week. Most incredibly, Smith did not commit one penalty all of last season. Going into the last year of his contract, Smith is looking for a huge campaign.

In this day of passing, Smith’s value is through the roof. You can have a tremendous pass-rush but without good coverage, you’re sunk regardless. Smith allows Houston and Tamba Hali an extra second to get to the quarterback.

Honorable mention: Eric Berry, Derrick Johnson, Tamba Hali, Anthony Sherman, Ben Grubbs, Dustin Colquitt