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Nick Jacobs’ team needs for Chiefs heading into 2024

Super Bowl Football
Posted at 8:00 AM, Feb 19, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City Chiefs General Manager Brett Veach and his front office have been able to add the necessary pieces to secure back-to-back Lombardi trophies for the first time since the New England Patriots in 2003-04.

The challenge for the Chiefs will be who to retain among their 21 unrestricted free agents versus adding youthful players to maintain controlled costs. Some of the answers needed might already be on the roster.

The San Francisco 49ers reminded the Chiefs of multiple positions where they will need help in potentially securing a third consecutive title.

Here are the Chiefs' needs in order of priority ahead of the 2024 offseason.

High Priorities

1. Left Tackle

Donovan Smith was able to get the Chiefs through the season and provide an improvement in athletic ability in both the run and pass. His neck injury is a concern, though.

Wanya Morris might not be ready to take over the top tackle position. This position will always be the number one priority while Patrick Mahomes is making top dollar.

2. Defensive Tackle

The Chiefs have a big decision ahead with Chris Jones.

Whether he is or isn’t on the roster, defensive tackle is still high up on the priority list. The team needs significant depth and a reliable 1-tech that can create an impact next to Chris Jones, or whoever will play the 3-technique this season.

The team could use multiple investments at this spot in free agency and the draft.

3. Wide Receiver

Mahomes needs additional weapons to pair with Rashee Rice to help take pressure off of Travis Kelce’s plate.

Kelce appeared to begin his physical decline this year. The ability to reduce their reliance on him to play in and play out will help extend his career and impact on the offense.

This is a position that needs multiple investments through free agency and the draft.

4. Running Back

Isiah Pacheco brings energy to the offense with a battering ram physical style of running, but he lacks the lateral speed and dynamic change of direction to be effective on the edge or in the passing game.

Pacheco’s ability to make defenders miss with his lateral quickness isn’t there. However, he is dependent on running a defender over or strong blocking in front of him.

While he has a great role in the offense, he needs to be a part of a rotation to have full impact.

His physical style has already led to multiple injuries that required surgery. If he is paired with a couple of speed backs, it will be big in helping him last during his entire rookie contract, and hopefully beyond.

Medium Priorities

5. Defensive End
The Chiefs will need to add rotational depth to pair with George Karlaftis, Felix Anudike-Uzomah and Charles Omenihu. The status of Mike Danna is uncertain at this point.

The ends lacked rotational strength after Omenihu’s injury, and the defensive line wore down quickly.

6. Tight End
Travis Kelce is battling Father Time at this point. The team has been unable to develop a long-term replacement for him on the roster.

Kansas City will need to find his apprentice at some point, but additions at wide receiver and running back can slow down how quickly they need help.

Minimal Investment Needed

7. Linebackers
The team invested in linebackers steadily over the past three seasons. The biggest investment would likely be attempting to re-sign Drue Tranquill.

Additions would likely come from veteran free agents at veteran minimum or undrafted free agents.

8. Secondary
Veach has done a good job of routinely adding to the position so it never becomes an overwhelming need.

Secondary coach Dave Merritt is a big part of keeping this group stable. He continually develops whoever they draft at the position and turns them into reliable players.

The Chiefs will see a bit of a drop without L’Jarius Sneed, but the roster has seen continual improvement with this position group.

9. Interior Offensive line
The pending contract decisions on Creed Humphrey and Trey Smith may force the Chiefs to brace for their or Joe Thuney’s replacements, but they have an overall strong foundation to develop with the interior.

Luxury Priorities

10. Backup Quarterback
Blaine Gabbert had a rough performance in the regular-season finale — he had accuracy issues and minimal rhythm in the offense.

He didn’t set himself apart in the preseason, but Gabbert provides a big arm similar to Mahomes.

Chris Oladokun gives the Chiefs a promising athletic quarterback who can move around in the pocket, similar to Mahomes, but he needs more reps to answer if he is a long-term solution as a backup quarterback.

The key for the Chiefs this offseason will be to add more players who obsess about the game of football and their craft to be great at it no matter the position — players who constantly want to chase greatness and are rarely satisfied.

Kansas City needs speed at wide receiver and running back to enhance their attack.

Defensively, they likely need to focus on beefing up their defensive line.

The team will be tested more against the run in the AFC West and overall conference.