Players who must improve: S. Commings

Here we'll finish a series that looks at five young Kansas City Chiefs players who need to make progress from where they were in 2013. Forget for a moment about the Chiefs getting help from free-agent or draft additions. If these players come through, the Chiefs will be in good shape in 2014.

We'll continue with safety Sanders Commings. At the first offseason practice last month, Commings played centerfield on a particular play like it never was for the Chiefs last season. Quarterback Tyler Bray floated a pass to the left sideline and Commings, playing the deep middle of the field, covered plenty of ground before intercepting the pass then going out of bounds.

Plays like that should earn Commings, a backup when practice started, a look as the starter. The Chiefs had been going with veteran Husain Abdullah, mostly a backup in his NFL career, as their starter.

As he showed when intercepting Bray's pass, Commings offers the Chiefs more big-play potential. That's something the Chiefs need more of from their free safety. The play of last year's starter, Kendrick Lewis, deteriorated as the season progressed and was a factor as the Chiefs wasted a 28-point third-quarter lead in their playoff loss to the Indianapolis Colts.

A fifth-round draft pick last year, Commings was going to challenge for playing time as a rookie before breaking his collarbone during the first pracitce at training camp. The injury ruined his season but his presence was one reason the Chiefs didn't draft or sign a safety during the offseason.