Frank Clark trade looks even better in retrospect for Chiefs
By Matt Conner
Given that Frank Clark is now installed as a defensive cornerstone for the next half-decade for the Chiefs, anything beyond that would be extra. However, Khalen Saunders looks the part of a lot more than that.
Not much was expected from Saunders in his first NFL season given that he was making the leap from Western Illinois to the pro level. Considered the “Aaron Donald of the FCS,” Saunders looked the part due to his incredible stature and athleticism, but the leap in competition, the speed of the pro game, and the complexity of learning a new system on a new team was just going to be a lot for Year 1.
That’s what they thought at least.
Saunders sat as a healthy scratch for the first month of the season, but it wasn’t long before injuries and his natural ability forced the Chiefs to put him in the rotation along the defensive interior. Xavier Williams was placed on injured reserve on October 9 with an ankle injury and Saunders’ playing time increased accordingly.
In 10 games, Saunders has been credited with 19 total tackles, 2 quarterback hits and 1 sack. He also has a batted pass. Even around those plays, it’s clear that Saunders is a rare blend of size, speed and strength that provides the Chiefs another building block in the middle with a ceiling that will interesting to watch. There are moments when Chris Jones comparisons seems clear, but only time will tell here.