By DJ Siddiqi @DJSiddiqi on June 5, 2014
The Kansas City Chiefs had a slow offseason. They didn't add any big-name free agents, and they even lost a few key free agents. The Chiefs had an 11-5 season that ended in the Wild Card Round of the AFC Playoffs. Some expect the Chiefs to regress in 2014 as they have a tough schedule and will look to replicate their success from the 2013 season. Here are five of the Chiefs' most intriguing players entering 2014.
DeAnthony Thomas was drafted by the Chiefs in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL Draft to replace the departed Dexter McCluster. McCluster filled the role of running back, receiver and returner for the Chiefs in his four seasons with the team. Thomas did the same thing at the University of Oregon for the Ducks. Thomas and McCluster both have similar frames and skill sets, so expect KC to use Thomas in a variety of roles for 2014.
Junior Hemingway was the Chiefs' fourth receiver on the 2013 depth chart. Hemingway has ability considering he led the team in receptions and receiving yards during the 2013 preseason. He will enter the 2014 season with a chance to be the Chiefs' No. 2 receiver, as he will compete with Donnie Avery and A.J. Jenkins for the role opposite of Dwayne Bowe.
A.J. Jenkins is in the same boat as Junior Hemingway. The difference between Jenkins and Hemingway is Hemingway was a seventh-round selection of the 2012 NFL Draft while Jenkins was a first-round pick in that draft. Jenkins enters his first full offseason with the Chiefs, and the franchise hopes he can boost a passing offense that ranked 24th in the NFL in 2013.
Justin Houston is the Chiefs' most dynamic playmaker and one of the best young players in the game today. Houston had 11 sacks in 11 games played in 2013 as he struggled through injuries, but he will return healthy in 2014. The Chiefs ranked seventh in the NFL with 47 sacks despite Houston missing five games. Imagine a Chiefs defense with a full season of Houston on it.
Alex Smith is the best game-managing quarterback in the game today. Smith is the ultimate game manager to the point where he threw the least amount of interceptions of any starting quarterback in the league in 2013. That ability to take care of the football was a major reason the Chiefs were a playoff team last season. The question is, with a tougher schedule and the same cast of receivers, can Smith repeat that success in 2014?
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