KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (16-3)
CAMP SITE: St. Joseph, Missouri
LAST YEAR: The Chiefs won a fifth straight division title and second consecutive AFC championship but failed to defend the Lombardi Trophy with a humbling 31-9 loss to Tampa Bay in February. QB Patrick Mahomes had one of his worst performances in the game behind a patchwork offensive line dominated by the Buccaneers’ pass rush. The Chiefs’ own pass rush was ineffective and a lack of talent in the secondary was exposed by Bucs QB Tom Brady and his wide receiver corps.
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: LT Orlando Brown Jr., LG Joe Thuney, C Austin Blythe, DT Jarran Reed, RB Elijah McGuire, CB Mike Hughes, RB Jerrick McKinnon, TE Blake Bell, FS Will Parks, LB Nick Bolton, C Creed Humphrey, DE Joshua Kaindoh.
IMPORTANT LOSSES: LT Eric Fisher, RT Mitchell Schwartz, WR Sammy Watkins, CB Bashaud Breeland, TE Deon Yelder, DE Tanoh Kpassagnon, CB Antonio Hamilton, RB Damien Williams, DT Mike Pennel.
CAMP NEEDS: Kansas City failed to land a playmaking CB in free agency or the draft and could look for a veteran to push Charvarius Ward and L’Jarius Sneed for playing time. The Chiefs also need a WR to step up opposite Tyreek Hill after losing Watkins to the Ravens in free agency. Mecole Hardman and Demarcus Robinson have played the past couple seasons but neither has proven he can handle the load of a No. 2 wide receiver.
KEY CAMP COMPETITIONS: Brown and Thuney provide a solid left side of the OL but center and the right-side jobs are up for grabs. The Chiefs signed Blythe and drafted Humphrey and both will have a chance to earn the center role. Laurent Duvernay-Tardif returns from opt out and will compete with Andrew Wylie, Lucas Niang and Mike Remmers for guard and tackle spots on the right. Middle linebacker snaps are available between second-round pick Bolton and veterans Andrew Hitchens and Willie Gay Jr. Defensive tackle also bears watching with Chris Jones expected to slide to defensive end; Reed will compete for those snaps with Derrick Nnadi, Khalen Saunders and Tershawn Wharton.
EXPECTATIONS: As long as Mahomes is at quarterback and Andy Reid is the coach, the expectation is a Super Bowl championship. GM Brett Veach did a masterful job in rebuilding and upgrading the offensive line, though few changes on defense means the current group will have to improve. DE Frank Clark has yet to live up to his big contract and has dealt with legal problems throughout the offseason, and Jones has yet to prove he can provide a pass rush from the outside. FS Tyrann Mathieu has been a star but is seeking a contract extension while the rest of defensive backfield needs to show significant improvement.
FANDUEL SUPER BOWL ODDS: +500
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