Roster analysis 2013 to 2014: DL

Here’s another installment of our detailed look at the Kansas City Chiefs roster by position with a determination whether they improved or not since the end of last season. Keep in mind the Chiefs can continue to make roster moves and could make significant additions or subtractions before they arrive at training camp. But the bulk of the roster they will take to Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph is intact.

We’ll continue here with the defensive line.

End of 2013: Tyson Jackson, Dontari Poe, Mike DeVito, Allen Bailey, Mike Catapano, Jaye Howard, Jerrell Powe.

Serious 2014 roster candidates: Poe, DeVito, Bailey, Catapano, Howard, Vance Walker.

Analysis: Much depends on Walker, who was signed as a free agent to replace Jackson. Walker was mostly a backup until he moved into the starting lineup last season for the Oakland Raiders. Perhaps he was a one-year wonder or perhaps his development was just delayed, but the Chiefs are counting on Walker to play the run as well as Jackson did last season and be a more effective pass-rusher. He will be helped by the mere presence of Poe, who attracts so much attention from opposing blockers that others around him benefit. DeVito was a strong run defender last season but comes out of the game on passing downs. Bailey and Catapano have pass-rush ability off the bench. The Chiefs may keep more than six linemen, so there’s an opportunity for a younger player if he shows well at training camp.

Better or worse? Tough call but we’ll go with better. Walker is a more well-rounded player than Jackson.