In The Year 2016

In what is hopefully the calm before the storm with the NFL lockout on pace to end this week, ESPN has been looking 3-5 years into the future to try and determine the best players and teams in the AFC West.  The Chiefs young core was enough to convince Bill Williamson that Kansas City will stay on top of the division.

The Chiefs have young stars Jamaal Charles, Dwayne Bowe and Tony Moeaki on offense and excellent youngsters such as Eric Berry, Glenn Dorsey, Brandon Flowers and Brandon Carr on defense.  The team has drafted well in recent years and appears to have drafted well in 2011.  Rookies such as Jon Baldwin, Rodney Hudson, Justin Houston and Allen Bailey seem as though they have a chance to contribute right away.

It is a very well-coached club, so player development should come quickly.

This appears to be a team that has a strong master plan.  In fact, the Chiefs are further along than the Scott Pioli-Haley tandem expected.  So there is no reason to think Kansas City shouldn’t be a team to reckon with in the middle of this decade.

I know he isn’t assured to be back in Kansas City past next season (and even that is dependent on how franchise player rules shake out) but don’t you have to count Tamba Hali as one of their young stars?  After all, he is the league’s best pure pass rusher and should absolutely be a part of the long-term plan.

As we talked about a few days ago, it’s also premature to forget about Tyson Jackson on the defensive line.  For all of the promising young players the team is building around, if the former No. 3 overall pick develops the kind of game Pioli thought he would have when the Chiefs drafted him, there’s no telling how good the defense can be.

It’s also imperative that new contracts are worked out for Flowers and Carr.  As the NFL becomes more and more of a passing league, you cannot let quality corners walk away.

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