1. Offensive guard: This is not an indictment of Jeff Allen and Zach Fulton. Allen missed all season because of a biceps injury, and while Fulton had the typical rookie struggles, he should be applauded for starting all 16 games as a sixth-round pick. But the Chiefs will look to get better at this position by bringing in better competition for them than Allen’s replacements, Mike McGlynn and Jeff Linkenbach. The line needs to get bigger, stronger and nastier, and guard is a great spot to start.
2. Wide receiver: The Chiefs are the only team since 1950 who went an entire season without scoring a wide-receiver touchdown, which pretty much sums up the year this group had. However, it must be noted that the trio of Dwayne Bowe, Jason Avant and Albert Wilson started to mesh in December, and if the Chiefs fail to land a big name in free agency, they could do worse than heading into next year with those three and an addition or two via the draft.
3. Inside linebacker: This was an area of need before Derrick Johnson suffered his Achilles’ injury in the season opener. His replacement, Josh Mauga, played hard and James-Michael Johnson earned some valuable experience before veteran starter Joe Mays returned to the lineup from injury, but this group could use an infusion of young talent to amp up the competition and protect the Chiefs in case Johnson’s rehab takes longer than expected. The run defense can’t be like this again in 2015.
4. Right tackle: Veteran Ryan Harris gave them a competent effort here in 2014, but at 29, he is probably not a long-term solution. Donald Stephenson has the size, talent and experience to be a long-term fixture, but if he returns, he’ll need to earn back the staff’s trust in 2015 after losing his starting job and missing the first month of the season due to violation of the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs.
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5. Secondary depth: Even though the Chiefs could have used a few more interceptions, this was a good unit this season. However, there are some question marks. Star Eric Berry is battling lymphoma, and two of their top four safeties — Ron Parker and Kurt Coleman — are unrestricted free agents. Meanwhile, depth at cornerback will be needed if Chris Owens is allowed to walk this offseason.