NFL Top 100 Players 2013: Kansas City Chiefs LB Justin Houston at No. 97

(John Rieger/USA Today Sports)

Obviously, last season did not go the way the Kansas City Chiefs would have liked it to as they finished with just two wins–which earned them the No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. Still, despite last year’s disappointing record, expectations are high for the Chiefs heading into 2013 after an offseason filled with numerous changes.

From new head coach Andy Reid to Alex Smith taking over the starting job at quarterback, there’s no reason why Kansas City shouldn’t be able to live up to their high expectations, but whether or not that happens could come down to the performance of the defense–especially linebacker Justin Houston.

He may only have two years of experience, but Houston is quickly developing into one of the league’s top linebackers and is coming off a 2012 season in which he recorded 10 sacks–giving him 15.5 in his career. At this rate, there’s a good chance Houston could put up even bigger numbers during his third season and if he does play at a high level–Kansas City could certainly compete for the AFC West.

There’s still plenty of time left before the regular season is even here, but Houston and the Chiefs realize how important these next few months are when it comes to preparing for 2013. The division certainly won’t be easy to compete in, but with the way Houston has been developing–anything is possible for this team heading into next year.

The Chiefs certainly have something special in Houston and if he continues to build off his first two years in the league–he could be higher on this list next year.

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