By DJ Siddiqi @DJSiddiqi on May 29, 2014
The Kansas City Chiefs enter OTAs looking to carry over their success from 2013. Last season, the Chiefs went from a league-worst record of 2-14 in 2012 to an 11-5 Wild Card playoff team. However, the Chiefs face new challenges in the upcoming season with one of the league's toughest schedules. They will also have to replace five key starters from last year's playoff team. Here are five Chiefs storylines to following during OTAs.
Tight end Travis Kelce was drafted with the first pick in the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft. Kelce had a productive senior season at the University of Cincinnati, catching 45 passes for 722 yards and eight touchdowns. He was expected to compete for the starting position before a knee ailment sidelined him for the entire season. With Kelce back in the fold, he'll compete for the position with Anthony Fasano and Sean McGrath.
The Chiefs surprisingly took Dee Ford with their first-round selection in the 2014 NFL Draft. Ford considered himself the best pass rusher in this year's draft. The Chiefs already have a pass-rushing presence in Justin Houston, who tied for the team lead in sacks with 11. Ford will come in handy when the team faces quarterbacks such as Peyton Manning and Philip Rivers. In the Chiefs' six losses, they had just six sacks.
The Kansas City Chiefs have two openings along the offensive line -- left tackle and right guard. Starters Branden Albert, Geoff Schwartz and Jon Asamoah all left through free agency. 2014 draft pick Zach Fulton is presumed to be the guy to take over the starting right guard spot, considering he played the position during his entire collegiate career. Fellow draftee Laurent Duvernay-Tardiff will have every chance to win the starting LT job.
Donnie Avery was the Chiefs' No. 2 receiver last season, but he wasn't productive; he had just 40 receptions for 596 yards and two touchdowns. With how vertical the league has become, NFL teams want more production out of their starting receivers. Avery returns to the Chiefs in 2014, but he'll receive stiff competition from A.J. Jenkins, Junior Hemingway and former CFL veteran Weston Dressler.
Normally position battles are the top storylines going into OTAs. In the Chiefs' case, however, the topic of Alex Smith's contract extension will hover around the franchise until a deal gets done. At the moment, a deal isn't close to getting done. The franchise did draft University of Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray with a fifth-round selection and still have Chase Daniel as Smith's backup. Could this be Smith's last year in Kansas City?
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