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Sunday, September 1, 2013
Breaking down the roster: Chiefs defense

By Adam Teicher

Earlier, I broke down the Chiefs offensive roster. Here's their defense and kicking game specialists:

Defensive line (6): Mike DeVito*, Dontari Poe*, Tyson Jackson*, Allen Bailey, Jerrell Powe, Anthony Toribio. The Chiefs need big seasons from Jackson and Poe. The nose tackle, Poe in particular played well during the preseason and could be primed to make a big jump this year. If so, the Chiefs will have a good chance to make their new defensive system work. Depth is an issue. Bailey is mainly a situational pass-rusher while Powe and Toribio have little experience.

Linebacker (9): Tamba Hali*, Justin Houston*, Derrick Johnson*, Akeem Jordan*,  Frank  Zombo, Mike Catapano, Nico Johnson, Zac Diles, Josh Martin. The Chiefs have three Pro Bowlers in their starting lineup in Hali, Houston and Derrick Johnson. They also feel so good about their depth they traded Edgar Jones to Dallas for a draft pick. The Chiefs felt better about trading Jones, an outside linebacker, after seeing Zombo and rookie Mike Catapano, a seventh-round pick, play in the preseason. Jordan played well enough on the inside to hold off Nico Johnson, another rookie, for the starting inside spot next to Derrick Johnson.

Defensive back (10): Brandon Flowers*, Sean Smith*, Eric Berry*, Kendrick Lewis*, Dunta Robinson, Jalil Brown, Sanders Commings, Quintin Demps, Husain Abdullah, Bradley McDougald. The Chiefs signed Smith and Robinson to join Flowers and give the Chiefs a solid top three at cornerback. But the Chiefs spent all of training camp and the preseason searching for a fourth cornerback without much success. Rookie Sanders Commings, who broke his collarbone on the first day of training camp, hasn't practiced or played since. But he is getting close to a return and could eventually be the fourth corner. Depth is better at safety with veterans Demps and Abdullah.

Specialists (3): Ryan Succop, Dustin Colquitt, Thomas Gafford. Colquitt was a Pro Bowl punter last season. He has a great touch inside the 20. Succop, the place-kicker, has ability but needs to be more consistent. Gafford, the long snapper, is reliable.