Demarcus Robinson and Byron Pringle – Robinson and Pringle both need to prove their worth this season if they want to be with the Chiefs after 2020. Both will be free agents at the end of this season. However, it seems clear that they both will be behind Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins, Mecole Hardman, Travis Kelce, and possibly Clyde Edwards-Helaire in the pecking order for targets, so it’s hard to put a high level of expectations on them for this coming season.
Damien Wilson – Wilson is also in the last year of his contract and probably needs a good season if he wants the Chiefs to re-sign him. That having been said, Wilson didn’t make my top ten because it feels to me like he is already living up to his expectations. He was a cheap signing that has done an adequate job of starting at linebacker. I don’t know if anyone thinks he has a higher upside than what he has shown so far in K.C. He is what he is and that is a replacement-level starter.
Damien Williams – The other Damien is going to be fighting to prove he should still be the starter in Kansas City this season ahead of first round pick Clyde Edwards-Helaire. He will also be looking to prove that he can stay healthy for a full season and should be a feature back in 2021. However, when the Chiefs selected CEH in the first round it signaled the end of Williams being K.C.’s future at the position. Williams does have a lot to prove for himself this season, but he didn’t make the list because the team simply doesn’t need him to step up with their running back of the future now waiting in the wings.
Armani Watts – Watts has struggled to get on the field after being a fourth round pick in 2018. A fourth round pick is a bit of an investment and isn’t usually quickly discarded. However, with Tyrann Mathieu, Juan Thornhill, and Daniel Sorensen all ahead of him at safety, there just isn’t much expectation or opportunity for him short of an injury happening. While Watts does need to prove himself if he wants a second contract with the Chiefs, he simply has too many proven guys ahead of him to make the list.
Taco Charlton – Taco Charlton is probably one of the players that most needs to prove his worth this season. However, since this is his first season in K.C., I didn’t consider him for the list. The Chiefs made a minimal investment in him and so the former first round pick is a low risk/high reward player for the Chiefs this season. Charlton is a player that’s at the top of my watch list for training camp and the preseason, but simply didn’t fit my definition of Chiefs players that need to step up in 2020.
Now let’s get the players that did make my top ten list.