On Wednesday at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, NFL Network analyst and former Kansas City Chiefs defensive back (1997-98) Bucky Brooks spoke about what he saw from his former team in 2015.
"It's really exciting to see the Chiefs get back off the mat and have a team that was so resilient," Brooks explained of the 10-game winning streak after beginning the season 1-5. "You lose one of your best players in Jamaal Charles but still find a way to make the playoffs.
"You really saw the development of the offense."
For Brooks, that started at quarterback.
"Alex Smith began to look like a big-time playmaker," he said. "Jeremy Maclin coming over and Travis Kelce emerges as one of the top young tight ends—this is a team that has a promising future. I love what they did on defense. They're young guys running around making plays. It's a team that's poised to have a long run in the AFC West.
"They've got to surpass the Denver Broncos, but I think they're right there in the mix."
Brooks believes this team is built to last.
"You'll have to be a physical team—a team that is built to play the right way," Brooks said of overtaking the AFC West. "The Chiefs have done that. John Dorsey and Andy Reid have done a great job of stockpiling talent. They're a team that's ready to continue to be there in the mix.
"I think we saw them make major strides this year. I think they continue to build upon that next year."
Building upon previous years is always a tough thing to do in the NFL because the teams will never be the same.
That's especially true with the Chiefs heading into next year, as there are several key defensive free agents they have to make decisions on, including Derrick Johnson, Eric Berry, Jaye Howard, Sean Smith, Husain Abdullah, Tyvon Branch and Mike DeVito.
"You've got to keep that core together, yet you can't keep everyone," Brooks noted. "Obviously I think you need Eric Berry. He's the traffic cop in the backend.
"They've got the blueprint of how to win a lot of games. You don't want to deviate from that. You want to have a young team, but you've got to have enough veterans to provide the leadership."
One player Brooks is particularly excited about is the NFL's Defensive Rookie of the Year, Marcus Peters, who tied for the NFL lead with 8 interceptions, then led the league in interception return yards (280) and passes defensed (26).
"He's a known commodity," Brooks explained of Peters. "So now, everyone expects him to be able to take on the challenge of guarding a team's top guy. He did it as a rookie.
"Had some growing pains, but now he has to go from good to great in year two. That's the things that separates the premier players. If he wants to be in the same conversation as Darrelle Revis [and] Richard Sherman, he has to be able to do it year after year. The challenge will be, can he build upon what he did last year as a rookie?
"I think he can, but it's on him to be disciplined enough to do it."
In addition to playing for the Chiefs for two years, Brooks also spent parts of three seasons with the Green Bay Packers (1995-97) during his five years playing defensive back in the NFL.
Therefore, Brooks has spent time around coach Andy Reid and general manager John Dorsey, who were both in Green Bay at the time, so he knows what kinds of players they are looking for this week at the Combine.
"They want guys that are all about ball, who are committed to doing the right things on and off the field to give themselves an opportunity to thrive on Sundays," Brooks explained. "So when I look at Reid and Dorsey, they're really digging into the character. What they do on the turf [at the Combine] is a little bit of it.
"It's more so what they tell you in the meeting rooms. You get the sense if football is really important to them, because if it is, you can work around the other stuff because they're going to work at their craft to make sure they're able to get it done."
Dorsey speaks with the media on Thursday afternoon in Indianapolis.