The two-time defending AFC champion Kansas City Chiefs underwent a surprising amount of offseason change for a team that is, well, the two-time defending AFC champions and just one year removed from a Super Bowl victory.
The Chiefs remade their offensive line, splashing the pot in free agency, the draft, and the trade market. They moved on from a veteran wideout who has been a big part of their offense. They let their No. 1 cornerback leave in free agency and did not bring back one of their starting linebackers.
Still, this remains one of the best rosters in football, and one that is well set up to compete for Super Bowl titles both this year and into the future. As part of our ongoing series here at CBSSports.com, let's take a look at where the Chiefs' roster stands right now.
Note: Asterisks denote rookies.
The Chiefs made a lot of changes on offense. It was obvious that would happen to anybody who watched their Super Bowl loss to the Buccaneers, where the offensive line was consistently overwhelmed by one of the league's best pass rushes.
This season, the Chiefs will have five new starters on the offensive line. The Chiefs traded their first-round pick (among other things) to the Ravens for Orlando Brown, and they'll move him to left tackle. Joe Thuney will step in at left guard after receiving his huge contract, and it's looking like Kansas City will start a rookie trio at center, right guard, and right tackle, with holdovers from last season in Andrew Wylie, Nick Allegretti, and Mike Remmers (plus the returning LDT, M.D.) as backups, along with Austin Blythe, who came over from the Rams.
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Of course, the Chiefs have the NFL's best quarterback, and two of its most dynamic weapons in Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. Sammy Watkins is gone now, and the Chiefs did not make any big moves to replace him at wide receiver. That'll put pressure on Mecole Hardman to step up and become the No. 2 option alongside Hill. He's previously acted mostly as Hill's direct backup, so it'll be interesting to see how that works out. Demarcus Robinson and Byron Pringle could see their roles expand if Hardman isn't up to the challenge.
The Chiefs surely want Clyde Edwards-Helaire to emerge as their full-time running back, though it remains to be seen if he can stay healthy and/or handle the workload. They cut Damien Williams earlier this offseason after he returned from his opt-out year, and will move forward with Darrel Williams and scat back Jerick McKinnon behind CEH.
Kansas City still has a superstar up front in Chris Jones and one on the back end in Tyrann Mathieu.
The signing of Jarran Reed to join Jones, Derrick Nnadi, and Khalen Saunders up the middle was a good one, and should help the Chiefs generate some pass rush. The team definitely needs to get more out of Frank Clark, though, considering what it gave up to land him in the first place. Either Jones or Nnadi figures to push to the edge on occasion, just so the team can get its best linemen on the field at the same time. Hitchens and Gay will likely see most of the linebacker snaps early on, but Bolton could push his way to the front of the line by the end of the year.
The secondary will miss Bashaud Breeland, but Charvarius Ward has played extremely well since arriving in Kansas City. L'Jarius Sneed was an absolute steal of a draft pick, and the Mike Hughes reclamation project seems like it will end with him landing a starting role, while Rashad Fenton and Deandre Baker provide solid depth behind that trio.
Kansas City would ideally like to use both Thornhill and Sorensen a lot, but Thornhill has not looked the same since suffering an injury and seems to have fallen behind Sorenson in the rotation. Thornhill has a higher ceiling, but at the moment, Sorenson is more reliable on the back end of the defense.