We’re lower than a month away from the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs beginning up coaching camp for the 2021 season. I’ve been killing time on this lifeless interval by reviewing features of the 2020 Chiefs; now, I’m compiling an inventory of the 20 greatest Chiefs gamers and rating them primarily based on their particular person expertise — mixed with how important they’re to the group’s success in 2021.
I revealed and analyzed positions 20-16 on Tuesday, touched on gamers 15-11 on Wednesday, then laid out numbers 10-6 on Thursday. Right this moment, I’ll end up with the High 5:
5. Tyrann Mathieu
After two consecutive first-team All-Professional accolades, it’s clear that Mathieu is among the greatest and most necessary gamers on the Chiefs. He continuously makes performs in opposition to the run and the move. He’s the clear chief of the protection and performed by far probably the most snaps on protection final season — 100 greater than the second-highest participant complete.
There’s an argument to be made that he may very well be even greater on this checklist. His versatility has been a worthwhile asset, but it surely’s the intelligence and data of the scheme that makes him nice. He has been a playmaker whether or not he’s lined up as a slot defender, within the field or as a deep security. It makes issues simpler on defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo and his teammates within the secondary.
Mathieu in all probability deserves some credit score for the breakout of younger defensive backs like L’Jarius Sneed and Juan Thornhill — however additionally they contributed to Mathieu rating the place he’s. The secondary would regress if he weren’t within the lineup, however not as a lot as the subsequent participant’s unit would if he wasn’t on the sphere.
4. Chris Jones
The group’s greatest pass-rusher can be the group’s most necessary defender. For my part, pressuring the quarterback is the No. 1 precedence for any protection in right now’s NFL — and Jones is among the league’s most dominant pass-rushers.
We all know Jones is sort of unstoppable to dam in move safety when he’s aligned from the inside. In keeping with PFF, Jones had the second-highest “win proportion” amongst inside defensive linemen final 12 months — solely trailing the Los Angeles Rams’ Aaron Donald. The stat determines how usually a pass-rusher beats a block, whether or not it leads to a stress or not.
This offseason, he’s been working at defensive finish. Ideally, Jones performs on the sting for run downs — the place his large measurement and wingspan may very well be disruptive on off-tackle runs to that facet. Jones wants to remain on the inside on passing downs, and I consider that would be the case.
With a thinning defensive finish place, Jones’s capability to play out there’s important to the unit’s success. If he may be efficient exterior whereas persevering with his dominance from the inside, he’s the protection’s most necessary particular person.
3. Tyreek Hill
It’s onerous to think about Hill could be as little as No. 3 on every other NFL group. He’s develop into one of many league’s greatest pass-catchers in any facet of the sport. Whether or not he’s within the slot, aligned on the surface or popping out of the backfield, Hill strikes concern into opposing defenses by simply being on the sphere — whether or not he will get the ball or not.
Final 12 months, Hill broke the Chiefs’ report for single-season touchdowns by a large receiver; he scored 17 occasions — 15 by way of the air and two on the bottom. He averaged a acquire of 14 yards each time he touched the ball on offense.
He’s a constant participant: there have been solely three regular-season video games final season the place he failed to attain. He’s additionally a risk to explode for historic numbers: in Week 12 in opposition to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Hill totaled 269 receiving yards and three touchdowns — and most of that manufacturing got here within the first half!
He earned first-team All-Professional in 2020, and don’t be stunned when he places up the numbers to earn the accolade once more.
2. Travis Kelce
For me, it was a extremely powerful alternative between Kelce and Hill for the No. 2 spot. That stated, Kelce led the group in targets final 12 months, has been as sturdy as any Chiefs participant over the last few seasons and is the receiver that Patrick Mahomes depends on probably the most.
Final season, Kelce casually broke a number of data: the single-season receiving yards report for a decent finish with 1,416 yards, the primary tight finish to have a number of 100-catch seasons and probably the most catches by any participant in a convention championship sport with 13. He additionally turned the primary tight finish to have 5 postseason video games with 100 or extra receiving yards.
On probably the most essential conversion makes an attempt, it appears to all the time be Kelce that finally ends up with the ball. Kelce led the group in targets, receptions, yards and first-down conversions on third and fourth downs final season. Within the pink zone, Kelce led the group in targets, receptions, yards, and touchdowns. Actually, he had the third-most pink zone targets and scores within the NFL in 2020.
Kelce is as dependable as any NFL pass-catcher right now.
1. Patrick Mahomes
I do know there’s no shock right here: the MVP, the Tremendous Bowl LIV MVP, the quarterback that threw for five,000 yards and 50 touchdowns in his first season as a starter. Mahomes would maintain the highest spot on an all-time checklist of Chiefs gamers — and he’s nonetheless solely 25 years previous.
Everyone knows the abysmal play in Tremendous Bowl LV wasn’t Mahomes’ fault. He really performed nicely, contemplating the stress he needed to face and his receivers failing him in just a few other ways. It doesn’t matter, although: Mahomes is taking that 22-point loss personally, and it’s going to be an issue for the remainder of the league in 2021.
Not a lot else to say apart from some recommendation: Get to the closest sportsbook and wager on Mahomes to win MVP in 2021. I consider we’re about to witness the very best season of his younger profession.