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
3 of 3

4. Willie Gay Jr., LB

whoNo, I'm not going to gush about Nick Bolton. While I love his ability in the middle of the defense, I don't feel as though his presence and playing ability affects the Chiefs in the same way that Willie Gay does. Willie Gay is a tremendous athlete that will be instrumental in stopping the running back passing game. This, in today's NFL, is a huge task. A linebacker with the ability to cover is one of the most coveted archetypes in the NFL.

top-10paydayWhat should be mentioned regarding Gay above all else is his injury history and his first time in a contract year. Gay has tremendous potential that has been just that. In a contract year, Gay's health and ability become more important than ever before. If he has a big year in the role that the team gives him, he is in line for a huge pay day. More importantly, his success could give the Chiefs a top 10 defense.

5. Bryan Cook, S

When the Chiefs drafted Bryan Cook, he was considered one of the most underwhelming picks of Kansas City's draft class. Coming out of Cincinnati, it was clear that he was a player that was going to be used in the future, but not in the first year of his career. Two things that general manager Brett Veach touted about his second-round pick were his tremendous play speed and his physicality. Now, the Chiefs have to take the training wheels off to see whether he can keep the defense balanced.

Cook will play a pivotal role in the secondary. He will have to both communicate the defensive responsibilities and execute in his coverage of the deep center of the field, filling the void left by Juan Thornhill. If Cook can play at a level above Thornhill, the Chiefs could create more turnovers and, in turn, be a much more dominant unit than a year ago. While Cook is flying under the radar in terms of his importance, a secondary that gets his best, combined with L'Jarius Sneed, Trent McDuffie, and Justin Reid could be one of the best backfields in the NFL.