- Adam Teicher, ESPN Kansas City Chiefs reporter
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Pro Football Focus recently took a look at the projected starting lineup for the Kansas City Chiefs. PFF uses only players under contract for 2014 and not potential free agents. In the case of the Chiefs, that means players like Branden Albert, Dexter McCluster, Tyson Jackson and Kendrick Lewis aren't considered starters, which isn't a bad guess since it's possible none of them will play in Kansas City in 2014.
PFF considers two of the 2014 starters to be elite players: running back Jamaal Charles and linebacker Derrick Johnson. It considers five other starters to be high quality, three to be solid starters, six to be adequate, four to be below average and four to be unknown, since they haven't played much in the NFL. It lists 12 starters on each side of the ball, including a slot receiver on offense and a slot cornerback on defense.
Here's where it gets interesting. Of the 12 defensive starters, one is listed as elite, four as high quality, two as solid, two as adequate, one as below-average and two as unknown. Not bad. Seven of their 12 main defensive players are in some coveted categories.
On offense, they have one elite player, one listed as high quality (and that's a fullback, Anthony Sherman), one listed as solid, four listed as adequate, three as below average and two as unknown. Only three players listed in the top categories.
So the Chiefs have a significant talent imbalance here. It's possible the defensive problems they had late last season had more to do with coaching or other issues than a lack of talent.
Their offense is a bigger problem. Right now they have an elite running back who is only 27 but has carried a tremendous workload the past couple of seasons, a high-quality fullback who isn't on the field a lot, a wide receiver (Dwayne Bowe) listed as a solid starter but who may be in decline and then a bunch of starters who are either average, below average or untested.
So, yes, the Chiefs have some holes to fill on defense, most notably at free safety. But they have many more gaps on offense and they're better served by not pretending they don't exist when they get to the draft.
Pro Football Focus recently took a look at the projected starting lineup for the Kansas City Chiefs. PFF uses only players under contract for 2014 and not potential free agents.