Chiefs Defensive Roster Projections
By Nick Athan
Warpaint Illustrated Publisher
Posted Feb 14, 2008
Between now and the end of February the Chiefs will revamp the entire roster. Though no official announcements have been made, it’s a safe bet some players have already been told they won’t return in 2008. Today we look at the defense.
Benny Sapp (CB) – Toward the end of the season his play diminished. After a mid-year meltdown, when Sapp had to be restrained by several of his teammates, the writing was on the wall. Sapp won’t be in Kansas City next year.
Patrick Surtain (CB) – The Chiefs would really like to keep Surtain and line him up as the true nickel back against slot receivers, but if that’s going to happen must restructure his contract. Currently his cap number is close to $9 million and that’s too much for a non-starter.
Greg Wesley (S) – I think he’s a lock to be released or traded. Last year Wesley’s agent successfully negotiated a trade with Denver that would have netted the Chiefs a fourth-round draft pick, but Kansas City didn’t want to trade him in the division. He’ll get his wish this year and find a new home.
Rashad Barksdale (CB) – Strictly a special teams guy last year, but Ray Farmer has high hopes for Barksdale. With the Chiefs expected to pass on Benny Sapp, Barksdale could reap the benefits with a shot at one of the last roster spots.
Jarrad Page (S) – On the verge of becoming a superstar. Last year he took some steps backward as a starter – the learning curve increased. But Page has all the instincts to be to KC’s defense what Bob Sanders is for the Colts.
Jon McGraw (S) – Last year he battled injuries and didn’t play up to his standards, but either way he’s a backup. He’ll still likely get another season in Kansas City.
Bernard Pollard (S) – Pollard has the talent to be a great safety, but he didn’t make the most of his opportunities as a starter in 2007. He needs to go back to the basics and must learn to trust his teammates, knowing where they are on every single play. This is a big year for Pollard.
Napoleon Harris (LB) – Harris didn’t do what the coaches wanted last season, and that really hurt the defense. The Chiefs might be better served moving Donnie Edwards to the middle and finding an outside linebacker in the draft.
Michael Pimentel (LB) – Unlikely he makes the roster.
Derrick Johnson (LB) – This is the money year for Johnson. He appeared to wear down toward the end of the year, but that can be said about the entire defense. If he wants a long-term contract, he’ll need to play like a Pro Bowler in 2008.
Jared Allen (DE) – From the way it sounds the Chiefs won’t put the exclusive franchise tag on Allen, so that means he can negotiate a contract with anyone. This is not good news if you’re a Chiefs fan. Kansas City will have the chance to match any offer but if they don’t they’ll get a first-round draft pick in 2008 and 2009.
Alfonso Boone (DT) – His play in 2007 was surprise, so he could be the perfect stopgap for the Chiefs if they draft USC’s Sedrick Ellis or LSU’s Glenn Dorsey. Boone’s play could also give the Chiefs one more year to develop Tank Tyler.
Turk McBride (DT) – A solid offseason will do him wonders. He’ll be working out with Jared Allen, which can’t hurt. I think he finally saw the light at season’s end, and has the potential to be a solid backup at defensive end.
Tamba Hali (DE) – A great player who needs to take it to the next level. Hali missed out on four or five sacks last year because he didn’t wrap up the quarterback. He needs to be quicker with his first step and more aggressive.
James Reed (DT) – Chiefs won’t need him this year.
Ron Edwards (DT) – See above.
Tank Tyler (DT) – He has the tools to be a solid nose tackle. Now he has to grow from his performance late in the season and take the next step.
Jimmy Wilkerson (DE) – He’s probably tired of playing under one-year contracts. The Chiefs need to sign him and give him a real shot to be contributor in 2008. He has some game, but is probably a long shot to be retained.
Keyaron Fox (LB) – Finally put it together against the New York Jets last season, but won’t get a fifth year in Kansas City.
Nate Harris (LB) – He might peak as a special teams player, since he struggled on defense. Either way the Chiefs will keep him around in 2008.
Kendrell Bell (LB) – Injured when he came to the Chiefs and will leave the same way this offseason.
Tyrone Brackenridge (CB) – The best un-drafted free agent player to sign with the Chiefs last year will be KC’s top nickel back in 2008 if Surtain isn’t around. He could eventually become a starter.
Pat Thomas (LB) – The Chiefs like him, but so far he hasn’t done much outside special teams. He’ll get another chance this year.
Johnny Baldwin (LB) – Not likely to get a shot.