The Kansas City Chiefs continued being one of the NFL's top teams last season when they made it to their second Super Bowl in a row. Unfortunately, it didn't go as they planned as they ended up losing to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. However, the Chiefs are expected to bounce back in 2021 as they're currently FanDuel Sportsbook's favorites to win Super Bowl 56 at +500 odds.
Nevertheless, the Chiefs have a lot of work to do before they even think about returning to the Super Bowl. Training camp is still ongoing, which means that Kansas City is still deciding on who its starting players will be.
Here's a look at three key training camp battles for the Chiefs.
Kansas City Chiefs Training Camp Battles
1. Right Tackle: Mike Remmers, Lucas Niang
The Chiefs offensive line overwent some changes over the offseason, which has left question marks around the right tackle position. Last season, Mike Remmers was the Chiefs starting RT in 10 out of the 13 games he played in. He managed to impress, finishing the year without allowing a single sack on 709 offensive snaps. However, his position isn't guaranteed with Lucas Niang finally making his NFL debut in 2021. The 2020 third-round pick opted out of last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but that hasn't stopped the Chiefs from being quite high on him. He didn't allow a single sack in three seasons with the TCU Horned Frogs and finished the 2019 campaign with an 81.0 overall Pro Football Focus (PFF) grade. With potential like that, it isn't a surprise that Kansas City expects Niang to challenge Remmers for the starting right tackle spot.
2. No. 2 Wide Receiver: Mecole Hardman, Demarcus Robinson, Byron Pringle
When Sammy Watkins left the Chiefs to join the Baltimore Ravens via free agency this offseason, it left Kansas City without a No. 2 wide receiver. Now, Mecole Hardman, Demarcus Robinson and Byron Pringle will be competing at training camp for that honor. When it comes to Hardman, the Chiefs have been hoping that he'd emerge as the No. 2 wideout in each of the past two seasons, however, he's yet to hit at least 600 receiving yards. With Watkins gone, he now should see an increase in targets, giving him his best chance to run away with the job. Robinson is another wideout that's found himself in that No. 3/4 WR role with Kansas City over the last few years. However, much like Coleman, he's also failed to prove why he deserves a bigger role as he's never hit 500 receiving yards in five seasons. Meanwhile, Pringle is another player who could take advantage of Watkins' departure. While he hasn't had more than 13 receptions in each of his first two seasons, Pringle has caught 75.8% of his targets and Patrick Mahomes had a 124.6 passer rating when targeting him in 2020. While that's a small sample size, it shows that the potential is there for bigger numbers if Pringle's volume increases.
3. Left Defensive End: Alex Okafor, Mike Danna
Tanoh Kpassagnon's departure this offseason left the Chiefs searching for a new starting left defensive end, with the two top candidates being Alex Okafor and Mike Danna. Okafor suited up in 11 games for the Chiefs last season, however, he didn't start in a single game. Still, he finished with 16 total tackles, 3.0 sacks and a forced fumble On the other hand, Kansas City could also consider sophomore DE Mike Danna. The 23-year-old had 25 total tackles and 2.5 sacks in 13 games (one start) with the Chiefs last year. While both player's stats are quite similar, Danna's 61.8 overall PFF grade was slightly better than Okafor's 57.6, which means that the former may be better suited for the starting role out of training camp.
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