Our offseason review of the Kansas City Chiefs’ roster moves into the defensive backfield today with a look at the free safety spot. We’ve already covered both lines and the links to those posts are below. For those new to this format, we compare Kansas City’s personnel to their AFC West rivals for the purpose of eventually determining their biggest need.
Kendrick Lewis completed his second year in the NFL, and the KC starter looks like a keeper. The professionals at ESPN’s Scouts Inc give him props for his grasp of zone coverages and credit his willingness and ability to step up and play the run. An area of weakness is jumping on the first move too quickly, a problem that should be addressed with experience. You would also like to see more than three interceptions, although here too, as Lewis gains experience, he should able to sneak off with more picks. Denver is in a similar situation, making a commitment to Quinton Carter, who enters his second year with work to do in playing the ball.
Oakland and San Diego are both very strong at this spot. The Raiders’ Michael Huff doesn’t get interceptions, but he has very good athletic ability and is solid in run support. Earlier in his career the 28-year old Huff had been panned for jumping on the run to quickly and being vulnerable to play-action, but experience has made those criticisms a thing of the past. In San Diego, Eric Weddle grades out higher than anyone, playing well in run support and his seven interceptions are a testament to his ability to read the quarterback and get to the football.
The overall AFC West landscape makes this an intriguing position. On the one hand, while Lewis is good, you have to put him third in a four-team division. Does GM Scott Pioli need to look at an upgrade? On the flip side, Lewis is four years younger than Weddle and five years younger than Huff. You can make an equally credible case that Lewis will catch up to his rivals within the next couple years as he gains experience. I would hold to the latter view and believe Kansas City should stand pat here.