After a blowout loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl LV, how can the Chiefs get back to the Super Bowl in 2021? The first step for Kansas City is to find out what the Chiefs team needs are. Lucky for them, we did most of the work already.
Kansas City Chiefs Team Needs: Offense
The Chiefs" offense crumbled on the biggest stage this season. The offensive line is definitely to blame. Injuries, as well as lack of talent, took their toll on the offensive line this season. Austin Reiter, Andrew Wylie, and Mike Remmers, all of whom were Super Bowl starters, will be free agents this year. Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz are coming off of an injury and will be 30 and 32, respectively, entering the season. The team will also get Laurent Duvernay-Tardif back from his opt-out but he will be another older veteran at age 30 entering the season.
The lack of depth along the line is a serious issue for this team. In his time in Kansas City, Brett Veach has only drafted three linemen with only one coming before the sixth round. Lucas Niang was a third-round pick last year and will be a welcomed addition to the offensive line in 2021. Niang will likely play on the interior with upside to kick outside if needed. Outside of Niang, the Chiefs need to infuse more youth and talent in the offensive line. This group should be the primary focus of the Chiefs team needs list in free agency and the draft.
The Chiefs offense has been a juggernaut since 2018 but the wide receiver group is about to become very thin. Sammy Watkins and Demarcus Robinson are free agents. Mecole Hardman has been a great gadget-type player that uses his speed but he has yet to develop into a legitimate wide receiver. Byron Pringle shows promise but is a big unknown.
Tyreek Hill is the only established wide receiver on the team who won"t be a free agent. The Chiefs need to look to it to add veteran help to this group in any way possible. Most receivers will relish the opportunity to play with Patrick Mahomes and might even come to KC on a discount.
Chiefs Team Needs: Defense
The Chiefs" defense finished with the 14th fewest sacks in 2020. Seven and a half of their sacks came from Chris Jones alone. Jones didn"t receive much help from the edges. Frank Clark had 25 pressures which rank him at 44th most. Clark is the fourth highest-paid defensive end in the league but has been performing at a backup level. The depth behind Clark is even worse as all other defensive ends had a combined total of seven and a half sacks. The Chiefs desperately need speed and explosiveness coming off the edge to give the back end of the defense a fighting chance.
The Chiefs linebacker group is one of the worst in the NFL. They lack speed, explosion, coverage skills, and run-stopping ability. This was incredibly evident in the Super Bowl as the Buccaneers had 145 rushing yards and the middle of the field was easily exploited. Last year"s second-round pick, Willie Gay, showed a lot of promise and brought speed and range to the linebacking group that the Chiefs haven"t seen in years. The defense must continue to add linebackers with range to compete with today"s NFL pass-happy offenses.
Overall, the Chiefs have more holes to fill than a team at this level might expect. Even with all these issues, they still went 14-2 and made the Super Bowl. For their success to continue and be sustainable they must look to free agency and the draft to fill the needs at these four key spots.
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