2. Defensive Line
With Jones holding out and Charles Omenihu suspended for the first six weeks, Kansas City suddenly has little depth on the defensive line.
The team ranked second in the league in sacks last season and spent a pair of early-round draft picks the last two years on edge rushers George Karlaftis and Felix Anudike-Uzomah, so it’s no secret how important pass rush is to the defensive philosophy.
Daniel Wise, Danny Shelton, Phil Hoskins and Keondre Colburn are locked into a battle to provide depth on the line, and it’s likely at least two of those players will be heavily relied on early in the year.
There’s no end in sight to Jones’ holdout. When he reports, it’ll still take time to adjust due to the practice time he’s missed. Kansas City will likely bring him along slowly the first few weeks to avoid injury, so I’ll be watching Wise and Shelton, in particular, to see if they can step up early on.
Mike Danna is listed as a starter at defensive end alongside Karlaftis, though Anudike-Uzomah, Joshua Kaindoh, and Malik Herring are battling to take Omenihu’s place while he’s serving his suspension.
A big performance from any of these players could prove critical for the team’s pass rush during the first few weeks of the season.