NFL Kansas City Chiefs

5 Kansas City Chiefs Players Who Will Have A Better Season In 2014

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5 Kansas City Chiefs Who Will Improve in 2014

Dwayne Bowe
Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

What a difference one year can make.

In 2012, Kansas City Chiefs' fans were forced to suffer through one of the worst seasons in recent memory. The Chiefs apologized by swiftly conducting one of the most impressive offseason transformations in NFL history.

2013 saw Kansas City return to the playoffs and produce a league-high 10 Pro-Bowl players (albeit, some through injuries and general lack of interest). The passion returned to Arrowhead Stadium, hope filled the air and Kansas City fans seemed to actually be genuinely happy. The scene was straight out of a fairy tale.

But as all good things must, 2013 came to an end -- a quite bitter end for Kansas City, really. The Chiefs were defeated 45-44 by the Indianapolis Colts thanks to a monumental meltdown by the Kansas City defense in the second half.

So now the Chiefs turn their eyes to the offseason and will attempt to maintain the franchise's new-found success. For the first time in many years, Kansas City fans have a legitimate reason to have hope for next season. Not the blind hope one has simply because it's their fan duty, but authentic, bona fide optimism.

Players now have a full season in Andy Reid's new system under their belt and some of the kinks they experienced in 2013 should be worked out by next season. The Chiefs' defense showed the potential to be elite and with a few offseason moves could fix the consistency issues they experienced down the stretch.

But even with the improvement that Kansas City saw in 2013, several parts of their current roster still have the potential to get better and make the Chiefs even more competitive in 2014. Here are five players that have the best chance to build on their 2013 performances.

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5. LB Justin Houston

Justin Houston
John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Just three games into the 2013 season, Houston had already recorded 7.5 sacks and looked to challenge Michael Strahan's record of 22.5 set in 2001. But predictably, his production leveled out a bit, and Houston battled injury issues late in the season.

He still finished with an impressive 11 sacks and was selected to the Pro Bowl. Entering a contract year, expect Houston to elevate his game even more to earn a big payday next March.

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4. DT Dontari Poe

Dontari Poe
John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Poe is a big man -- 6-foot-3, 346-pounds to be exact. He's one of the least favorite guys in the league for running backs to look up and see between them and where they want to go. Poe was selected to his first Pro Bowl in 2013 and may be the most athletic defensive lineman in the league. And he's only 23.

Expect Poe to improve his run-stop even more while adding a couple sacks to his 4.5 he finished with this year. Expect him to semi-permanently cement himself among the league's top tackles following his 2014 campaign.

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3. FB Anthony Sherman

Anthony Sherman
John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Sherman was quietly one of Kansas City's best offseason acquisitions in 2013. The Chiefs received Sherman in the deal that sent Javier Arenas to the Arizona Cardinals. He was a key component in Kansas City's fierce rushing attack, handling lead blocking duties for Jamaal Charles extremely well.

To boot, he's a serious threat as a receiver out of the backfield as he often slips the minds of defenses too focused on Dwayne Bowe or Charles. Anticipate for him to again be one of the best blockers around as well as break a few dump-offs for long gains.

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2. CB Marcus Cooper

Marcus Cooper
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Cooper frustrated fans at times in 2013, looking every bit of the rookie that he was. Routinely picked on by opposing quarterbacks, Cooper eventually lost his spot to Dunta Robinson late in the season. Still, don't give up on the kid just yet.

The raw potential is certainly there for Cooper. He has the speed, footwork and coverage ability to be an extremely successful cornerback in this league for quite some time. Look for him to figure it out and be a contributor in 2014.

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1. WR Dwayne Bowe

Dwayne Bowe
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

I don't expect Bowe to turn it around and suddenly become a serious threat for the Kansas City offense again in 2014. No, Bowe is simply No. 1 here because it can't possibly get any worse for him.

QB Alex Smith simply isn't the man to maximize Bowe's ability and it would seem that the Chiefs' ill-advised contract offer to Bowe last offseason was just that. He'll surely improve on his sad 673 yards from 2013, but Bowe still won't be a top-20 wideout in 2014.