NFL Power Rankings: Chiefs land at No. 8 on offseason list
By Matt Conner
The Kansas City Chiefs have landed at No. 8 overall in the NFL in the offseason’s first power rankings list at NFL.com.
Elliot Harrison of NFL.com has published his first power rankings of the NFL offseason and the results are a bit perplexing for Kansas City Chiefs fans. While it’s nice that the team has come in at No. 8 overall, they are listed at No. 4 overall in the AFC, behind the New England Patriots at No. 1 (and rightfully so), the Pittsburgh Steelers at No. 3 and the, wait for it… Oakland Raiders at No. 4. Harrison writes:
"How much will the Chiefs miss Dontari Poe and Jamaal Charles? Fans care about the former, while seeming to have written off the latter. Granted, athletic nose tackles like Poe are damn-near impossible to find. So are running backs who average 5.5 yards per carry for their career. #ChiefsKingdom will tell you that, between Spencer Ware and Charcandrick West, the team will be fine in the backfield. Perhaps. But whatever fanfare there was around one of the top players in franchise history leaving sure didn’t feel like the kind of fanfare you’d expect around one of the top players in franchise history leaving. Even more concerning: Who’s ready to take the torch from Derrick Johnson? That guy is flat-out valuable. And after a second torn Achilles at age 34, status: unclear."
Looking back at last season, the Chiefs bested the Raiders on two separate occasions and won the AFC West title. They lost several players to injury along the way, including half of the defensive line, both starting inside linebackers, Parker Ehinger and more. The single best players on both sides of the ball were out for the majority of the season with both Justin Houston and Jamaal Charles nursing injuries.
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Fast forward one year and key rookies like Tyreek Hill and Chris Jones, players who made instant waves in their first year, will be that much better after a full offseason to know the playbook. Derrick Johnson, Allen Bailey, Jaye Howard and Justin Houston should all be expected to return healthy and ready to go. The offensive line has been locked up across the board and will have another year of chemistry and continuity under their collective belts.
Even the questions brought up by Harrison make little sense. The Chiefs, with so few roster holes, can take the best player available with each of their 10 picks (or use them to maneuver in the draft). The idea of fans being okay with Ware and West just shows Harrison hasn’t asked a fan anything. Instead, the Chiefs are expected to pick up a back in the draft to add to the mix, making West a fringe roster player and Ware as a complementary back. Dontari Poe’s present-day impact is overrated compared to two seasons ago, and the signing of Bennie Logan helps offset that loss significantly.
The Chiefs have locked up their entire secondary and another year of experience together should allow playmakers like Eric Berry and Marcus Peters to excel. There’s perfectly good reasons to also expect young players like Steven Nelson, Daniel Sorensen, Phillip Gaines and D.J. White to grow in their comfort and roles.
In short, the defense should be elite, the offense will have more playmakers than ever before for Alex Smith and the Chiefs have fewer roster holes than almost any NFL team at this point. If Harrison pointed to Alex Smith as the reason why the Chiefs sit so low, that would make sense. But his reasoning is flawed and there’s no way they should rank so low (not that it matters).