Kansas City Chiefs: Defensive Preview – Will the D-line rise up?

If you watch the defense of the Kansas City Chiefs, you would not think that they would have won a division in 2016. A defense that ranked 24th in the league at the end of 2016 looks to be better in 2017. However, this could be a tough task. The Chiefs have lost some stars and have some question marks in certain areas.  Let’s look at the 2017 Chiefs defense.

The d-line of the Kansas City Chiefs was a weak spot in 2016. The loss of NT Dontari Poe will help that going forward in 2017. If the Chiefs expect to be a repeat contender in the division and the conference, they are going to have to figure how to replace the big man in the middle. The addition of Bennie Logan, a free agent from the Philadelphia Eagles, may help. Although I believe that, he is a step down from Poe.

To help aid the lacking pass rush the Kansas City Chiefs drafted pass rushing project Tanoh Kpassagnon in the second round. He played his college ball at Villanova. During his senior season, he had 11 sacks and the CAA named him Defensive Player of the Year. His big body and long frame will allow him to put on weight. Something that he will need in order to compete with the offensive linemen of the NFL. He is raw and will be a project but one that has a ton of potential.

The linebacking group of the Kansas City Chiefs is the strength of the defense. How can it not be when you have players the likes of Justin Houston, Tamba Hali, and Derrick Johnson. All, when healthy are tackling machines and incredible pass rushers. Johnson can be seen blitzing from the middle. Hali and Houston are premier pass rushers in the AFC. In order for 2017 to be a successful campaign, the Chiefs will need these players to stay healthy. A healthy defense is a happy defense.

The youth of the Chiefs secondary is one that can often be questioned. We all know that shut down abilities of Marcus Peters. We also know the field coverage that Eric Berry has. However, opposite Peters is where teams are successful. Phillip Gaines is a 2014 third round pick. In 2016 he only had seven passes defended and no INTs. He is going to have to step up his game. The Chiefs know that he will e targeted. They also know that they can roll coverage to his side if needed since they have Peters on the other side. This cannot be done every down. The kid is going to have to step up.

For the Kansas City Chiefs to be successful in 2017 they will need health, help, and a little luck. Their linebackers should once again lead the way. If they can get assistance from the defensive line, the Chiefs should once again be battling at the top of the division and conference.

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Sean Naylor

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