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2014 49ers opponent review, preview: Kansas City Chiefs

We take a look at the Kansas City Chiefs in anticipation of next season.

Stephen Dunn

Earlier this week, we began our breakdown of each 49ers opponent heading into free agency and the draft. We opened with the Denver Broncos. The post is meant to look at the season that was, and give a glimpse ahead at what could be coming along for the teams. We know the 49ers 2014 opponents, but we don't know exactly what those teams will entail. Even the strongest of teams will see plenty of turnover. With these posts, we look at a team's needs heading into free agency, their cap position, and what kind of draft picks are at their disposal. It helps establish a narrative for the offseason.

Today I thought it would be nice to look at a team with which we are all pretty familiar: the Kansas City Chiefs. You may or may not be familiar with their QB; moreover, there's a slight chance that you may be familiar with their oddly imbalanced season. After starting so hot that they were the last remaining undefeated team, propelled largely by a then-league-best defense, they faltered down the home stretch as the defense started loosening up.

That said, according to Football Outsiders, the Chiefs' defense was 9th in the league with a DVOA of -6.7% (in contrast to being 30th the season before). In contrast, however, the offense started really slowly, mimicking the hyper-efficient offense we saw Alex Smith run in San Francisco, before clicking at the end of the season. Their playoff game is fairly emblematic of their season: after building a substantial lead with a strong defense and an explosive offense, their defense fell apart and they gave up the second-largest comeback in postseason history.

Free Agents:

Anthony Toribio; Terrance Copper, WR; Chad Hall, WR; Jerrell Jackson, WR; Dexter McCluster, RB/WR; Kyle Williams, WR; Branden Albert, OL; Jon Asamoah, OL; Geoff Schwartz, OL; Tyson Jackson, DE; Frank Zombo, LB; Akeem Jordan, LB; Dunta Robinson, CB; Husain Abdullah, S; Quintin Demps, S; Kendrick Lewis, S.

Having let go of CB Dunta Robinson already, the Chiefs are going to need to shore up their secondary. Both S Kendrick Lewis and S Husain Abdullah are free agents and both are potential candidates to walk away. Abdullah started the last couple of games in the season and looked strong, so I would project that he is more likely going to be kept out of the two. He ended the season with a solid 4.7 pass coverage grade from ProFootballFocus; Lewis, however, ended with a much more disheartening -3.9 grade.

On the other side of the ball, Kansas City has three O-linemen potentially leaving the team: Asamoah, Schwartz, and Albert. Of the three, Albert is probably the best, though he has some injury concerns. Schwartz, having taken a starting job from Asamoah, might be easier to retain from a cap standpoint. Currently, the Chiefs are looking pretty tight around the waist, with only $3,317,444 in cap space.

Draft Picks:

Obviously, this is the reason why we paid attention to the Chiefs for most of the season. Since they won more than eight games, the 49ers get their second round pick. Due to their run to the playoffs, that pick will be a bit further down, at No. 56 overall. The also gave up their seventh round pick to the Cowboys. For every other round, they select pick in either the 23rd or 24th spot. In addition, they have pick No. 17 in the seventh round after a trade from the Cowboys.

One area they might want to address in the draft is WR or a pass-catching TE. After Dwayne Bowe, the Chiefs don't have much on the WR front. The Chiefs will probably also look for depth at RB and QB.