Kansas City Chiefs Training Camp 2017 Preview: Inside Linebackers

Kansas City Chiefs. (Photo by Jason Hanna/Getty Images)
Kansas City Chiefs. (Photo by Jason Hanna/Getty Images) /
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Kansas City Chiefs
Kansas City Chiefs. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /

The Kansas City Chiefs will kick off their 2017 Training Camp on July 28th. Between now and then, we will break down all of the upcoming position battles. The inside linebackers were banged up last year, and need a solid rebound this season.

After talking about how the defensive line looks to be shaping up for the Kansas City Chiefs, it only makes sense to move on to the other part of the run defense. With training camp not far away, the Chiefs are looking at a pretty strong situation at inside linebacker. However, not everyone will agree with that.

The inside linebackers of the Chiefs were a popular whipping boy for fans and pundits who were upset with the run defense. I think that’s a bit of an unfair assessment, but I get the reasoning. In reality though, this is actually a pretty deep group with a solid mix of veterans and youthful potential.

The real source of woe in the Chiefs run defense was the inability of the line to command double teams in the trenches. That allowed interior offensive linemen to get out and block the inside linebackers. When you’re playing in a small area, having a 300+lbs lineman running at you free is not what you want to see.

Built For The Future

While the name everyone knows with this group is Derrick Johnson, the truth is that the strength of the interior linebackers lies with the future. The Chiefs have several young linebackers with a ton of potential to become excellent players very soon.

Justin March-Lillard, Ramik Wilson, and DJ Alexander have all taken starting snaps with the Chiefs defense. Each has fewer than four years in the NFL. That is good for the future, especially since none of those guys embarrassed themselves out on the field.

Will any of those players earn a starting job in 2017? Well, that remains to be seen. However, I firmly believe the Chiefs have a strong young core of players there for the future.