Five defensive players who will make or break KC Chiefs Defense

The Chiefs are going to play real, meaningful football games soon, whether Chris Jones is on the team or not. Who are the players that will make or break their team? We discuss.

Las Vegas Raiders v Kansas City Chiefs
Las Vegas Raiders v Kansas City Chiefs / David Eulitt/GettyImages
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2. Trent McDuffie, CB

It has been a while since the Chiefs had a cornerback that had the ceiling that Trent McDuffie has. While L'Jarius Sneed is a nice piece that can make plays with his physicality, McDuffie has the potential to lock down a side of the field in man coverage. By the end of last season, the Chiefs were playing him as though he were their number one guy, and with good reason.

Now, in year two, McDuffie has a chance to be set loose by the defensive coaching staff. With a willingness to come up and make a tackle, he just might get time all over the field. Steve Spagnuolo truly values his versatile players and McDuffie has the ability to play at any level. With a willingness to blitz cornerbacks in Nickel packages and drop them into coverage over the middle, McDuffie may have a breakout season in terms of the presence that he makes offenses feel.

3. George Karlaftis, EDGE

Speaking of second-year players, George Karlaftis is one of the most important players to watch this season. Without Charles Omenihu for the first six weeks, all eyes will be on the second-year so-called "Greek Freak" from Purdue. With a powerful punch and sudden first step, Karlaftis has the ability to dominate finesse blockers. The question will be, can he make the next step and develop into a number one EDGE for the Chiefs?

Karlaftis's ability to bend around the EDGE, which was a concern coming out of college, will be more closely observed this year as opposed to last when the Chiefs had Carlos Dunlap and Frank Clark on either side. The expectation last season was, he can play a bunch and learn the position for the future. Now, the future is here.

second-yearLook for the defensive coaching staff to give Karlaftis every chance to succeed. Usually the defense improves over the course of a season in a Spagnuolo scheme. Part of the reason for this is that they are willing to try different things and don't truly lock down their identity until later in the year. The Chiefs may use him in and outside and could also make him the beneficiary of some twists and stunts on the line. No matter how you look at it, the Chiefs need a big year from the second year EDGE.