5 Moves the Kansas City Chiefs Must Make After the 2014 NFL Draft

5 Moves the Kansas City Chiefs Must Make

Alex Smith Contract Negotiations
Andrew Weber- USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas City Chiefs enter 2014 with some stability. Andy Reid returns as head coach and Alex Smith returns as the starting quarterback from a team that went 11-5 and made the playoffs last season. The Chiefs lost some viable contributors from 2013's team, including three starting offensive linemen. If the Chiefs hope to remain a playoff contender, here are five moves they need to make.

5. Utilize DeAnthony Thomas To Your Advantage

DeAnthony Thomas
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5. Utilize DeAnthony Thomas To Your Advantage

DeAnthony Thomas
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DeAnthony Thomas was the most explosive player in this year's draft class, and the Chiefs were able to get him for a fourth-round pick. Thomas was NCAAF's most dangerous all-around threat as he played receiver, running back, kick returner and punt returner at Oregon. Much like Reggie Bush has been utilized throughout his career, the Chiefs need to utilize Thomas in a variety of roles to get the best possible value out of him.

4. Develop Cohesion Within the Offensive Line

Laurent Duvernay-Tardif NFL Draft
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4. Develop Cohesion Within the Offensive Line

Laurent Duvernay-Tardif NFL Draft
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The Chiefs had three starting offensive linemen leave through free agency, including Pro Bowl franchise left tackle Branden Albert. They replaced these three linemen with two sixth-round draft picks and Jeff Linkenbach. Forget about the lack of depth at receiver; if the Chiefs can't even protect Alex Smith, their season is over regardless of how well the rest of the team plays.

3. Develop a True Receiving Corps

AJ Jenkins
Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

3. Develop a True Receiving Corps

AJ Jenkins
Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

It's safe to say the Chiefs had the worst receiving corps of any playoff team last season. Despite having a true No. 1 receiver in Dwyane Bowe, Bowe led receivers with just 57 receptions for 673 yards. The leading receiver was actually RB Jamaal Charles. Because the Chiefs refused to address the position in the offseason, young receivers such as AJ Jenkins and Junior Hemingway will have to develop to boost the Chiefs' lethargic passing offense.

2. Extend Justin Houston

JUSTIN HOUSTON
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2. Extend Justin Houston

JUSTIN HOUSTON
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Simply put, Justin Houston is the most dynamic playmaker on the entire Chiefs roster. He is just 25 years old and is coming off of a season in which he ranked as Pro Football Focus's top outside linebacker. Despite missing five games, Houston still ranked in the top five in QB hurries and deflected passes. Entering his contract year, Houston is due a minimum base salary. The Chiefs need to extend him as soon as possible.

1. Make a Decision On Alex Smith's Contract

Alex Smith John Rieger
John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

1. Make a Decision On Alex Smith's Contract

Alex Smith John Rieger
John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

The Chiefs need to make a decision on Alex Smith's contract. Smith is entering the last year of his contract, and Kansas City can either extend him now, wait until next season to re-sign him or let Smith walk in free agency. With Smith, you know what you're getting -- a consistent game-managing quarterback. Smith won't win you games, but if surrounded by a superb supporting cast, he can lead your team to moderate success.


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