With free company scheduled to formally open on March 17, it’s time to take a more in-depth take a look at positions of want on the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs. I’ve appeared on the offensive tackles, defensive ends, large receivers, facilities, cornerbacks, guards,linebackers, and tight ends. On this article, I’ll study the safeties.
In 2020, Mathieu led the Chiefs’ protection in regular-season snaps, taking part in 91% of them. Within the postseason, Mathieu was one among two Chiefs gamers to take each potential snap. He additionally earned the third first-team All-Professional honor of his profession by nabbing a career-high six interceptions. He was additionally fourth on the workforce in tackles (62), together with three for a loss. Within the playoffs, Mathieu added an interception and one other sort out for loss.
In addition to Patrick Mahomes, Mathieu was arguably the workforce’s most essential participant in 2020. He took each significant snap and impacted the sport in almost each approach he may have. As soon as cornerback L’Jarius Sneed grew to become snug within the slot, Mathieu might be utilized in quite a lot of positions — which is how a participant of his caliber ought to be used.
He’s shortly change into the center and soul of the protection. 2021 is the ultimate yr of his contract, however the workforce can’t enable him to check free company subsequent offseason.
My opinion: Lengthen his contract earlier than the season begins.
Thornhill performed 71% of 2020’s defensive snaps, which was the fourth-highest price on the workforce. However that doesn’t precisely depict how inconsistent his marketing campaign was; his utilization fluctuated as he struggled to completely get well from his 2019 ACL damage. Within the postseason, he noticed solely 46% of the entire snaps — together with solely 27% of the Tremendous Bowl performs.
Thornhill’s finest recreation seemed to be the AFC Championship, by which he performed 76% of the snaps and defended 4 passes. He might not have adopted it up with efficiency within the Tremendous Bowl, however it was nonetheless encouraging to see him look extra athletic and explosive on the finish of the yr.
In 2021. it is going to be essential for the workforce to carefully study his play. If he can look more healthy — and be a extra constant playmaker — he’ll have to be prolonged earlier than getting into his fourth season. The workforce wants to offer him each likelihood to show he’s value that extension.
My opinion: Belief him as the first deep security
Whereas this reserve security solely noticed 9% of the regular-season defensive snaps, Watts led the workforce in special-teams snaps — taking part in almost 81% of them. He tied a profession excessive with 17 complete tackles and one cross defended within the common season — and accounted for a sort out within the Tremendous Bowl.
2021 will probably be Watts’ fourth yr within the NFL — the final on his rookie deal. When he was drafted out of Texas A&M, there was promise that Watts may change into a playmaker. However now, he’s buried on the depth chart; he hasn’t given the workforce a cause to play him over the opposite guys they’ve had.
Proper now, he’s the third security on a workforce that likes to make use of three on the sphere on the similar time. By the point the season begins, he shouldn’t be in that place.
My opinion: Add a extra succesful security by free company or the draft.
As an undrafted free agent out of SMU, Clemons signed with the Chiefs after final yr’s NFL Draft. He earned a follow squad spot on the workforce, however was by no means elevated to the energetic roster. After the season, the Chiefs signed him to a reserve/future contract.
He had a nostril for the ball in school, incomes seven interceptions and 27 passes defended over 4 years as a starter. Within the pre-draft course of, he was labeled as an aggressive, attacking form of participant — however positively a uncooked prospect.
If Watts can not make an impression as a defender throughout coaching camp, Clemons may take his spot as a special-teams participant — giving him extra time to develop as a security.
My opinion: Give him the chance to beat out Watts.
Who they may signal
I’d be in favor or re-signing veteran Daniel Sorensen to as soon as once more fill that third security position.
It may additionally make sense to draft one other participant that matches the versatile position the Chiefs ask of their third security. Some early-round choices would come with Oregon’s Jevon Holland, UCF’s Richie Grant, TCU’s Ar’Darius Washington and Cincinnati’s James Wiggins
Attainable picks later within the draft may embrace San Diego State’s Tariq Thompson, Center Tennessee’s Reed Blankenship or Missouri’s Tyree Gillespie.