Kansas City Chiefs
HC: Andy Reid
DC: Bob Sutton
Team Needs: OLB, ILB, DT, S
Upcoming UFAs: Bennie Logan, Stefan Charles, Jarvis Jenkins, Derrick Johnson, Kevin Pierre-Louis, Phillip Gaines, Terrance Mitchell, Kenneth Acker, Steven Terrell
Two short years ago, KC’s defense was Top 10 in yards and points allowed. In the two seasons since, age has caught up with them, and they’ve been decidedly average. This year, they ranked 28th in yards allowed and 15th in points allowed. They have some solid young pieces on defense, but they have plenty of holes as well. They’re going to struggle to improve this defense though. Buffalo has KC’s 1st Round pick and KC’s biggest hole, OLB, requires the highest draft capital.
Re-signing Bennie Logan should be one of KC’s offseason priorities. They don’t have another nose tackle to replace him. Logan played 574 snaps over 15 games and finished with 52 tackles and 1.5 sacks. This is the 3rd time the 28-year old has broken 50 tackles in a season. Jarvis Jenkins played 220 snaps over 11 games. Jenkins, who turns 30 in April, finished with 9 tackles and 1.0 sack.
Second round sophomore Chris Jones played 680 snaps. Jones finished with 32 tackles and 6.5 sacks. He blew up in Week 2 with 4 tackles, 3.0 sacks, and 1 interception. He also ended the season hot with 3.0 sacks in the last 4 games. Jones was still out-snapped for the majority of the year by Allen Bailey. Bailey was on the field for 626 snaps over 14 games. Bailey, who turns 29 in March, ended with 38 tackles and 2.0 sacks. Former 6th-rounder Rakeem Nunez-Roches finished with 392 snaps. RNR put together 24 tackles and 0.5 sack.
Derrick Johnson has played for the Chiefs for 13 seasons and has topped 100 tackles in 5 of those seasons. In 2017, DJ played 848 snaps over 15 games. In 7 of the first 8 games, DJ played 100% of the snaps as the WILB. After the Week 10 bye, DJ’s snaps dropped, and he only topped 70% in half of the games. The 35-year-old ended with 71 tackles. He’s a UFA and has been considered a cap casualty.
Prior to the 2017 season, KC traded for Reggie Ragland. It was a bargain of a deal after Ragland took a redshirt freshman season and Buffalo changed schemes. Ragland played 323 snaps over 12 games as the MILB. He never topped 71% of snaps in any game and only had 4 games over 50% of snaps. Ragland finished the season with 44 tackles. He showed his potential in Weeks 11 and 12. He hit 9 tackles in each game, and they were the only two games where Ragland topped 60% of the snaps. There are two possible outcomes for Ragland. One, KC’s defensive scheme stays the same and Ragland remains in a 2-down role as a run-stopper, and KC brings in Daniel Sorensen or another Safety for sub-packages, capping Ragland’s upside. Or two, Ragland shows enough improvement in coverage that he’s able to stay on the field for all three downs and his upside is 100+ tackles. The trade from Buffalo hurts his chances of hitting his ceiling. As a 2nd-round pick, the team would try and get him on the field as much as possible. But, KC only spent a 2019 4th Round pick on Ragland, so they may continue to see him as solely as a 2-down LB.
In the offseason, KC traded DJ Alexander for Kevin Pierre-Louis. On the surface, this was a swap of special teamers that makes sense for Seattle but doesn’t make much sense for KC. Alexander was a Pro Bowl Special Teamer. Why give up a Pro Bowl Special Teamer for a good Special Teamer straight up? The only explanation is KC saw KPL as more than a potential Pro Bowl Special Teamer. KPL played more defensive snaps in one year in KC than he did in three combined years in Seattle. In 2017, he played 251 snaps in 14 games. He only topped 50% of the snaps twice. KPL ended with 41 tackles and topped out at 8 tackles in Week 9 when he hit 60% of the snaps. His role is crucial as he was the primary backup for DJ. He was on the field at times with DJ this year. KPL will also be a UFA this offseason. If KC re-signs KPL and lets DJ walk, KPL could be the heir to DJ’s WILB role which is the 3-down role in KC’s defense.
Ramik Wilson once again served as a solid fill-in for KC. Wilson was active for 8 games and a healthy scratch for 8 games. He played 125 defensive snaps in 4 games, including 65 snaps in Week 17 when DJ, Ragland, and KPL were all held out to prep for the playoffs. Wilson finished with 16 tackles. The last name to consider is 5th-round rookie Ukeme Eligwe. Eligwe played 65 snaps in Week 17 and finished with 3 tackles and 1.0 sack. If both DJ and KPL walk, there’s a small chance Eligwe could earn the WILB role, but it’s concerning that his only defensive snaps came in Week 17 when most starters were rested.
Justin Houston didn’t hit 22.0 sacks as he did in 2014. Houston played 952 snaps in 15 games. Chandler Jones was the only 3-4 OLB to out-snap Houston. No other 3-4 OLB topped 900 snaps, and keep in mind, Houston didn’t suit up for Week 16. It was a solid year for the 29-year-old as he ended with 59 tackles and 9.5 sacks.
Frank Zombo played the second most snaps, which was not the plan for KC entering 2017. Zombo would’ve been 4th on the ideal depth chart. He was on the field for 588 defensive snaps and amassed 43 tackles and 1.5 sacks. Zombo turns 31 in March. Thirty-four-year-old Tamba Hali played 99 snaps over 5 games and ended with 1 tackle. Everyone and their brother expects the Chiefs to release Hali this offseason.
Knowing it’ll be difficult to improve their OLB corps in the offseason, Kansas City needs to see a bounce-back from Dee Ford. Ford hit double-digit sacks in 2016. Injuries limited him to 317 snaps across 6 games in 2017. The former 1st-rounder tallied 13 tackles and 2.0 sacks.
Tanoh Kpassagnon is a strange case. Tanoh is a big boy at 6’7” and 289 lbs. He mostly played with his hand in the dirt while at Villanova. He’s got the size to play 3-4 DE, but KC wants to use him at OLB where they have a need. Kpassagnon was raw when they drafted him in the 2nd round. He only played 159 snaps in 2017. He finished with 14 tackles and 2.0 sacks. Both sacks came in Week 17 when he played 100% of snaps.
Marcus Peters had one of the most gif-worthy moments of the year. In a December game against the Jets, frustrated that they were losing, he picked up a penalty flag and threw it into the stands.
Marcus Peters was just flagged for throwing a flag into the stands. Incredible pic.twitter.com/gue5ove5g8
— Kenny Ducey (@KennyDucey) December 3, 2017
Peters played 967 snaps over 14 games. He finished with 46 tackles and 5 picks among 9 PDs. Impressively, this was the first season he didn’t amass 20 PDs. QBs have learned not to throw at him.
Terrance Mitchell began the season as the starter opposite Peters, which is a very valuable IDP role. He ended up getting benched along the way and played 706 snaps over 15 games. Mitchell ended with 53 tackles and 4 interceptions among 18 PDs. Steven Nelson eventually took the starting role from Mitchell. Nelson finishedwith 514 snaps over 9 games. He also added 41 tackles and 4 PDs. Phillip Gaines spent most of the season as the slot CB. He played 419 snaps over 10 games. He had 4 other games where he didn’t play a single defensive snap. Gaines ended with 30 tackles and 3 PDs. Finally, the ghost of Darrelle Revis signed during the season and played 192 snaps over 5 games. Revis ended with 11 tackles and 2 PDs. KC has already cut the 32-year old.
Peters is the only CB on the roster whose job is safe. KC picked up Kendall Fuller in the Alex Smith trade. Fuller is already one of the best slot CBs and it’ll be interesting if they give him a try outside. Starting outside in base packages and playing slot in subpackages are the best roles a CB can have.
Eric Berry shut down Rob Gronkowski in Week 1, doing a lot to help KC to a surprising win over the Patriots, who everyone thought would be undefeated on the season. Those 70 snaps in Week 1 were his only snaps on the season as he ruptured his Achilles. Berry ended with 7 tackles. He turned 29 in December.
Ron Parker played 1,034 snaps at FS over 15 games. The 30-year-old turned in 67 tackles and 2 picks along with 4 PDs.
Daniel Sorensen had a very interesting role in 2016. He came in and played money LB in subpackages. If you could predict when the Chiefs would be in subpackages a lot, against teams with base 3-WR for instance, he could produce for you despite his limited snaps. In 2017, after Berry went out, Sorensen had the best possible role for a Safety. In base packages, he played SS. While in subpackages, he came forward as a nickel LB. He totaled 993 snaps over 15 games. He finished with 89 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and 1 interception along with 6 PDs. With Berry set to return, Sorensen will likely return to his subpackage moneybacker role. He can definitely still be useful in everything but the most shallow of leagues. The former UDFA turns 28 in March.
Eric Murray ended up on the field for 439 snaps over 14 games. The 4th-round sophomore primarily played SS in subpackages when Sorensen moved up to play LB. He finished with 36 tackles, 1.0 sack, and 5 PDs on the year. He’s worth keeping an eye on but he’s definitely got depth chart issues.
Dee Ford – Sorry for the lazy analysis. Trade for the injured player who didn’t perform this year…
Kevin Pierre-Louis – KPL is a UFA and there’s a good chance he’ll be signed as a star special teamer. But there’s a chance KC re-signs KPL and uses him to replace DJ.
Daniel Sorensen – Here again, I’m sticking with the lazy analysis. If you’ve got league mates who are willing to trade for Sorensen, I would love an invite into your league.
Reggie Ragland – There’s a really good chance Ragland remains a 2-down run-stuffer.
Daniel Sorensen – Sorensen still has value even when Eric Berry returns. In 2016, Sorensen was still the nickel LB and was very productive in games where the Chiefs would spend a lot of time in their sub packages.
Deep Dynasty Stashes
Tanoh Kpassagnon – Tanoh was a raw 2nd-round pick. He’ll get chances to produce next season
Ukeme Eligwe – Eligwe may still be on a roster in your league. If he can win a starting spot, he’ll be productive.
The Chiefs need some help on defense. The addition of Kendall Fuller will certainly help the secondary. Getting Eric Berry back from injury could cement this secondary as one of the best in the league. The issue could be the pass rush. Justin Houston can’t do everything by himself. KC needs Dee Ford to live up to his draft pedigree while seeing a huge improvement from Tanoh Kpassagnon. From an IDP standpoint, the question of who plays 3 downs from the ILB position will be essential in finding production for your team.