Question No. 4 for the Kansas City Chiefs: Linebacker
This defense really misses Willie Gay. His energy, his speed – there is a noticeable lack of playmaking with him on the bench with an injury.
Hitchens is solid and serviceable, not great. Nick Bolton is learning on the job. He’s a sure tackler and shows promise. Ben Niemann is still Ben Niemann. By that I mean I still find it hard to believe he’s the 3rd best linebacker on planet earth that isn’t currently on an NFL roster.
I like Ben. I love his toughness and versatility. He’s smart and pretty disciplined. He’s a great piece to have on the roster.
But he’s not a starting NFL linebacker.
He’s not fast enough. He’s not a thumper. He doesn’t excel at any phase of the position. His floor is higher than some, but his ceiling is decidedly lower than most.
If Niemann is starting next year, there has been a real screw up by the personnel department.
The draft next year should be focused on WR, LB, CB, and Edge, pick your order.
Despite this, let’s end on the positives for the Chiefs
We have the best player and QB on the planet. We have the best TE on the planet. We have the best weapon at WR on the planet. We drafted two O-linemen (Smith and Humphrey) who look like future All-Pros.
Tyrann is still making plays, Sneed is playing at a continued high level. Mike Danna is good enough to move on from Frank Clark. And yes, Chris Jones will find a way to make a bigger impact.
If the Chiefs can cut turnovers and stop getting stupid procedural penalties (line up correctly!) this team can cruise to 13 wins.
Buffalo will be a very good test in primetime this week. A convincing win will settle the team, the fans, and jerks like me who think the sky might be falling after every loss.