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Top positions Chiefs need to address headed into 2023 offseason

Super Bowl Football
Posted at 12:00 PM, Feb 20, 2023

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Chiefs are headed into the 2023 offseason with many of the same needs they had the previous season.

Chiefs general manager Brett Veach will have his work cut out for him with how to enhance some of the premium positions in the league with upper echelon talent.

After the 2020 season, the Chiefs overhauled the offensive line.

The 2022 offseason saw the team overhaul their wide receiver and secondary groups.

This season will likely need significant help along the defensive line and youthful speed at wide receiver.

Here are the Chiefs team needs in order of priority ahead of the 2023 offseason.

High Priorities

1. Left Tackle

The Chiefs will need to make a decision on if they would like to tag Orlando Brown Jr. again, sign him to a long-term deal or replace him.

The offense goes as the pass protect does. The left tackle spot is key in providing Patrick Mahomes his confidence to step up and move around in the pocket.

Far too many five and seven step drops were wasted because of how quickly Mahomes needed to bail when his back foot hit.

Kansas City could use a more reliable and athletic presence at the left tackle position, but the free agent market looks bare before any potential releases have occurred.

The Chiefs helped with chips during their postseason run after Mahomes' mobility became limited from his high ankle sprain.

Veach will likely need to explore trade options for the short term and draft for long term development at this spot in the next couple of seasons.

2. Defensive Ends

Kansas City's pass rush has needed a premium defensive end since the departures of Justin Houston and Tamba Hali.

While both may not have been elite, they were reliable and steady presences when paired together.

Frank Clark was an aggressive trade the team made and it paid off with two Lombardi trophies.

The Seahawks knew where Clark was at physically and were unwilling to pay him so they unloaded him.

The strategy Kansas City has to decide is if they want to add multiple steady presences to pair with George Karlaftis or do they want to aggressively get what they believe is the next elite pass rusher in the draft.

The Chiefs need to make multiple rotational additions at this position regardless on if they choose to retain the services of Carlos Dunlap and Frank Clark or not.

3. Defensive Tackle

How important this spot will be depends on what the organization decides to do with Chris Jones in the final year of his contract.

Jones had a strong performance during his 2022 season and arguably one of the best performances of his career in the AFC Championship game. That equate to strong contract year type numbers.

The thing that has hurt Jones is the lack of a steady presence at the one tech position opposite him, and a reliable edge rusher that allows him to receive less double teams.

With Jones, the Chiefs need to find a strong addition at the one tech position.

Without Jones, the Chiefs will need to fill both the one and three tech positions immediately.

4. Wide Receiver

The team needs an infusion of speed to their wide receiving group.

Marquez Valdes-Scantling was able to convert some shot plays and clear things out underneath for the other receiving options, but his consistent impact will need to improve in 2023 if he is retained.

Mecole Hardman has the right amount of speed, but provides his value on jet sweeps, screen passes and occasional deep passes.

The team needs better route runners that can adjust accordingly to plays breaking down and utilize their speed to make a defense pay.

The loss of Tyreek Hill's speed showed up in many of the Chiefs sluggish performances on offense.

That doesn't mean you need to find his exact speed, but in the ballpark would help the offense convert on some of those sluggish days.

It would also provide Travis Kelce and Isiah Pacheco room to work.

Medium Priorities

5. Right Tackle

Right tackle shouldn't be the highest priority for the organization. The team could get by at this position if left tackle is stabilized.

Instead, it is just a position that will need additional investments through free agency and the draft.

Andrew Wylie was a guard that the team needed to play tackle because of his ability in run blocking, and his overall athletic ability — being one of the top four among the linemen.

The team will need to find a more stabilizing presence for both the short and long term outlook.

Lucas Niang can't be counted on because of his injury history. His availability becomes more of a bonus for the roster, but counting on him long term could leave them thin.

6. Secondary

Kansas City made heavy investments in cornerback and safety positions.

The Chiefs will have to make a big decision at the free safety spot and decide if current players on the roster in L'Jarius Sneed, Trent McDuffie or Bryan Cook can fill that spot, or if they should retain Juan Thornhill.

If the Chiefs convert one of the corners to that position, they will need to invest again in the position.

There doesn't need to be wholesale investments at the spot, but will likely need a safety and corner added in some capacity.

Luxury Priorities

7. Running Back

Isiah Pacheco and Jerick McKinnon provided a good one-two punch for the Chiefs down the stretch.

Their running styles compliments one another and the offense.

Both had the necessary athletic ability to take advantage of what the defense was giving them, but neither are likely the feature back at the spot.

The Chiefs will need to decide if they want to add a feature back at a most expensive cost on the free agent market, or invest in some additional rotational back through low cost free agents or the draft to limit any drop off depth wise.

8. Back up Quarterback

This is thankfully a position that hasn't been a cause for concern over the past five seasons on a steady basis.

Chad Henne retiring though will put this higher on the list in the event of an injury.

The team wouldn't be wrong in wanting to add a veteran with promise to develop behind Mahomes if they need to lean on them for a handful of games.

And in an ideal world, it could add trade value down the road.

Minimal investment needed

9. Linebacker

The Linebacker position has had premium investments made in the second and third rounds at the position.

The players need to develop, and if they can't, then adjustments can be made in 2024 or 2025.

Any additions made along the defensive line will likely help this group the most.

The team will likely add through undrafted free agency, but this group needs to remain as is for the time being with higher priorities.

10. Tight Ends

The Chiefs have steadily invested at the position with Noah Gray, Jody Fortson and Matt Bushmann for the long term.

Gray has really taken strides to find a long term role in the offense similar to Travis Kelce — that doesn't mean he will have the same production levels, but he has clearly learned a lot from the potential future Hall of Famer.

11. Interior offensive line

The Chiefs have quality depth in Darian Kinnard and if they retain Andrew Wylie.

The only addition would be if they wanted to add developmental depth behind Creed Humphrey at center.

The NFL is a constantly changing entity. The list above includes every position because the teams need to always be improving the 53-man roster and adding at every spot.

If they ignore the roster, it will catch up with them through injuries or production taking an unexpected downturn.

A good general manager has to always be ahead of a position by two to three years, versus having to catch up for ineffective picks or ignoring a position for too long.

Position one through four are how they can stay ahead of the AFC.

Positions five and six are how they stay ahead of any down turns at positions and developing 2-3 years before new contracts become due.

Spots seven through eleven are for break glass in case of emergency injuries.