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Chiefs Training Camp: Which Defensive Positions Are Up For Grabs?

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The Kansas City Chiefs will depart for training camp in St. Joseph, MO in about 24 hours. They'll arrive on Thursday and hit the field for the first time at 1:50 p.m. on Friday.

Chiefs coach Todd Haley and GM Scott Pioli will tell you that every position is up for grabs. While there may be some degree of truth to that, we know a few positions are already set in stone.

Today, though, we'll be looking at the positions that are up for grabs. If you're to believe me, there are four positions that don't have starters penciled in yet.

Nose Tackle

Ron Edwards will likely be the starter heading into the 2010 season but there are a few folks hoping and wondering if Shaun Smith and/or Derek Lokey can win the job in training camp.

For the Chiefs, starting Edwards doesn't do a whole lot. His age would indicate that he's not the future of the position but the Chiefs not addressing the nose tackle in the draft would suggest they're content with pitting these three men against each other and seeing who comes out the winner.

Smith was signed as a free agent and he has familiarity with Romeo Crennel. Lokey was on the club last year and represents likely a reserve option (though the Chiefs wouldn't complain if his play warranted a starting job).

Edwards is the clear favorite but he hasn't claimed the job yet.

Prediction: Ron Edwards

Inside Linebacker

The outside linebacker spots are set. Inside linebacker, however, is a different story.

This might be the best camp battle. You've got the incumbents, Demorrio Williams and Corey Mays, and the duo looking to take the starting job, Derrick Johnson and Jovan Belcher.

The Chiefs could switch things up but in OTAs this is how they were lining up with each duo splitting time with the first team.

Johnson is entering a contract year so he wants to see the field as much as possible. My guess is that's enough motivation for him to win the starting job with Belcher coming along with him.

Prediction: Derrick Johnson and Jovan Belcher

Free Safety

The veteran, Jon McGraw, will try to stave off the rookie, Kendrick Lewis.

It sounds like a battle, and it will be, but McGraw is a team player and will help Lewis along.

McGraw is among the Chiefs best special teams options so I'm wondering if, because of that, Lewis sees more time on the field.

This position will likely see multiple starters throughout the season as Lewis gets comfortable in the league but look for McGraw to begin the season as the starter.

Prediction: Jon McGraw

***

As we've explained before, the Chiefs are banking on the young defensive players already in house to make a big leap. Considering the number of draft picks they've had in recent years, they've got the potential there.

Now, it's just a matter of realizing it.