Kansas City Chiefs starting lineup projection

Projecting the starting lineup for the Kansas City Chiefs heading into training camp.


Quarterback (Alex Smith): Smith's stats last season (3,265 yards, 18 touchdowns) need to rise dramatically.

Running back (Jamaal Charles): His numbers dipped last season because he was fighting one nagging injury after another.

Fullback (Anthony Sherman): He does a solid job as a lead blocker and on special teams.

Wide receiver (Jeremy Maclin): The Chiefs invested $55 million in Maclin hoping he can help revitalize their passing game.

Wide receiver (Albert Wilson): He came on near the end of his rookie season, recording 12 of his 16 catches in the Chiefs' last four games.

Tight end (Travis Kelce): He busted out in his debut NFL season in 2014, leading the Chiefs in catches and receiving yards.

Left tackle (Eric Fisher): The Chiefs need major improvement from Fisher, rated by Po Football Focus as the 72nd-best tackle last season.

Left guard (Ben Grubbs): The former Pro Bowler was acquired in a trade from the New Orleans Saints.

Center (Eric Kush): He was the Chiefs' sixth-round pick in 2013 but has played in only three games since.

Right guard (Jeff Allen): He missed all but the season opener last season because of an elbow injury.

Right tackle (Donald Stephenson): He lost his starting job because of a four-game suspension to start the season, and he didn't get it back after his return.


Left end (Mike DeVito): He missed all but the season-opener last season because of a ruptured Achilles tendon.

Nose tackle (Dontari Poe): He's so valuable to the Chiefs as a run defender and pass rusher that he rarely comes out of the game.

Right end (Allen Bailey): Bailey was a full-time starter for the first time last season and responded with a career-high five sacks.

Left outside linebacker (Justin Houston): Houston led the NFL in sacks last season with 22 but is also a terrific all-around player.

Left inside linebacker (Derrick Johnson): Johnson turns 33 in November and is coming back from a torn Achilles tendon.

Right inside linebacker (Josh Mauga): Mauga was one of the NFL leaders in missed tackles, according to Pro Football Focus.

Right outside linebacker (Tamba Hali): He had six sacks last season, his lowest total since 2008.

Left cornerback (Phillip Gaines): He will need to continue his strong play from the offseason to hold off first-round draft pick Marcus Peters.

Right cornerback (Sean Smith): The veteran quietly had a big year last season, his first as the Chiefs' No. 1 corner.

Strong safety (Ron Parker): He can also help at cornerback, where he started four games last season.

Free safety: Husain Abdullah: Another safety with cover skills, Abdullah has played some at nickelback.


Kicker (Cairo Santos): He overcame a slow start to have a solid rookie season.

Punter (Dustin Colquitt): A model of consistency, Colquitt had another solid season in 2014.

Long snapper (James Winchester): He has never snapped in a regular-season NFL game.

Kick returner (Knile Davis): He has two touchdowns and a 29.5-yard average in two NFL seasons.

Punt returner (De'Anthony Thomas): He has the quickness and speed to be one of the great punt returners.