The Kansas City Chiefs that need to step up in 2016

Nov 22, 2015; San Diego, CA, USA; Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Chris Conley (17) warms up before the game against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. Kansas City won 33-3. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 22, 2015; San Diego, CA, USA; Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Chris Conley (17) warms up before the game against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. Kansas City won 33-3. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports /
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Sep 13, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans nose tackle Vince Wilfork (75) battles Kansas City Chiefs tackle Laurent Duvernay-Tardif (76) during the game at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 13, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans nose tackle Vince Wilfork (75) battles Kansas City Chiefs tackle Laurent Duvernay-Tardif (76) during the game at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports /

2. Laurent Duvernay-Tardif – Offensive Guard

I had a terrible time choosing between the top two players on this list. Honestly, even as I’m writing this I’m second guessing not putting Laurent Duvernay-Tardif at number one. The Chiefs need a good offensive line in order for the offense to be any better than average. Yes, the Chiefs have good playmakers in Charles, Maclin, and Kelce, but without a good line to open up running lanes and give Alex Smith a pocket he feels safe in there is only so much those playmakers can do. The Chiefs sured up the tackle position by signing Mitchell Schwartz. That was a great move but it meant they couldn’t afford to keep guard Jeff Allen. So now KC has two potential openings at guard in 2016 and they desperately need LDT to step up and secure one of them.

Just last week I wrote a piece asking if the Kansas City Chiefs have a problem at guard? I break down all the candidates in that post, but the bottom line is this. LDT’s combination of size, strength, and athleticism make him the player with the most upside of them all. The problem is that he is so raw from a technique and awareness standpoint that he’s not putting those physical gifts to use. The Chiefs desperately need LDT to step up this season and earn his spot in the starting lineup. If he can improve his technique and awareness he has a chance to be an above average NFL guard. If he doesn’t improve he’ll remain a liability for the offense and may end up losing his spot in the starting rotation.

If LDT were to lose his starting spot it creates more problems on the line from a depth standpoint. I believe the Chiefs would like Zach Fulton to be the primary back up at both guard and center and Jah Reid to be the swing tackle off the bench. If one (or both) of those players have to start then it creates depth problems on the line as well. I’m a firm believer that the offensive line is the foundation that an offense is built on, especially an offense without an elite quarterback. The Chiefs need LDT to be a reliable part of that foundation and in order for that to happen he has to take a step up from where he was last season.

Finally, the number one player that needs to step up in 2016.

Next: Who's number one?