While every team needs an elite player in their lineup, they also need a good core to back them up. Of course, the stars come up in the clutch; however, football is a team game, and you need good cores to lead you to a championship. Without them, teams would lose a lot more games than they should. And, that’s what the Chiefs have done.
The Chiefs have many good cores coming into this year; hence why they have gone to two consecutive Super Bowls. Now, before the season begins, it’s time to give the medals out to the best cores heading into 2021 from Bronze to Gold, just like the Olympics. Nevertheless, let’s hop right into it.
In terms of the defense, the safety core of the Chiefs is arguably one of the best on the defense, and for good reason. Firstly, Tyrann Mathieu, an arguably top-five safety in the league, is a force to be reckoned with. Last season, he made Pro Bowl and First-Team All-Pro honors, allowing a 60.2 QB rating in his zone and a 62.7 completion percentage. He was also a ball-hawk in the secondary, picking off six passes with two against Denver in Week 13. He is easily one of the best players on this whole Chiefs’ roster.
Right beside him is former 2019 second-round pick Juan Thornhill, who has had a good first two years in the league. While Thornhill did digress in his second year (largely due to his Torn ACL he suffered in Week 17 of 2020), he did put up solid numbers in eight games starting. He had 41 total tackles, having one interception and three pass deflections. He had an average pass completion percentage in his zone at 64.5%, which landed him 31st on PFF Top 32 Safeties heading into 2021.
The Chiefs have solid backups as well. ‘Dirty’ Dan Sorensen led the team in tackles with 91 total last season; and while his coverage grade wasn’t the best, he always did come up in clutch situations, including a forced fumble versus Cleveland in the Divisional Round last season. Armani Watts provides solid usage when he is on the field; moreover, the Chiefs newest edition to the safety core, Will Parks, is looking to make an impact.
Silver: Tight Ends
Silver, without a doubt, goes to the tight ends. I mean, when you have THE best tight end of the 2020 season in Travis Kelce (or Kels; I still feel betrayed by how he says it), it’s obvious he has to be up there. When posting 1,416 receiving yards (new TE record), 105 receptions, and 11 touchdowns, it’s not hard to see why it’s already one of the best cores with just him.
In terms of backups, Blake Bell has come up when he’s needed, catching 11 of 15 passes thrown his way for 110 yards. He’s a proven vet-backup that has fixed his drop problem from 2019. In 2019, he had three drops, and last season, he had none, improving his catch percentage to 73.3%. They also have a new tight end in Noah Gray, which they can use in a lot of areas and could prove to be a solid long-term backup until Kelce retires.
It’s Patrick Mahomes; of course, quarterbacks are going to take the Gold medal in this. When you have a top-three quarterback starting, it’s practically no argument that it’s THE best core on the roster. Even the stat’s alone don’t 100% argue on how dominant Mahomes is as a quarterback.
To add to this, backup QB Chad Henne came up in the clutch against the Browns in the divisional round. So, all the more reason to give the quarterbacks the gold medal.
Just Missed The Mark:
We all know Hill is a top-ten talent at WR, so this has nothing to do with him. However, when we go into every other receiver on the roster, there lie reasons why they didn’t snag the Bronze medal. When you look at the safeties, their starters are above the split percentile (50%) and at least breach the top-32. When it comes to the WRs, everyone outside of Hill doesn’t even scratch that mark, or even the top-45.
The closest, Mecole Hardman, scratches near, at, or a little past the top-50 with margin-of-error in between. He is not at that half mark or is either exactly there when it comes down to other WR2s or WR3s. Yes, I know he isn’t utilized as much, but still, I don’ see it as a top-three core at this moment. Also, Watkins leaving hurt the rankings too.
Powell is truly an unknown, Pringle hasn’t had enough production to be considered, and Robinson is 50/50 when he gets onto the field. To add on, while Hill is a top-ten talent, Kelce and Mahomes are in the top two no matter how you shake it, which gives them an edge in terms of placement.
Solid core, but I’d say they are fourth place overall for the Chiefs’ cores.
While the offensive line has gone through major improvements, I can’t place them high because they haven’t played a game together. Almost every player is brand new to the Chiefs, and until they play an ample amount of games, they can’t be ranked as of this moment. Once the mid-season comes around, then they might be able to be argued on this list.
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