Given the questions at cornerback, it makes sense that the K.C Chiefs secondary isn’t ranked among the top teams in the National Football League. That said, we’re a bit surprised to see Pro Football Focus rank the Chiefs secondary as low as No. 18 overall in their annual secondary rankings.
The Chiefs are the odds-on favorites to win the Super Bowl in 2021, and while the bulk of that optimism stems from the fabulous offense at work under head coach Andy Reid and quarterback Patrick Mahomes, the Chiefs are not without their own defensive stars. The Chiefs boast one of the league’s best safeties in Tyrann Mathieu and the trio of Mathieu, Juan Thornhill, and Dan Sorensen form a fearsome core.
The downside to the secondary comes in the form of questions at cornerback and it’s likely the Chiefs would have been bumped up into a top 15 or so score if they’d retained Bashaud Breeland as a free agent. Instead, the Chiefs watched him sign with the Minnesota Vikings and are now relying on a lot of younger players to improve with experience.
Fortunately the Chiefs seemed to strike gold last season with the emergence of fourth round pick L’Jarius Sneed as an impact performer from Week 1. Sneed played well both on the boundary and inside, so his versatility should allow the Chiefs to position guys where they perform best elsewhere. Mathieu’s own versatility will help a lot there as well.
The Chiefs secondary has been ranked at No. 18 overall by Pro Football Focus.
Beyond Sneed, Charvarius Ward should be highly motivated in a contract year, while former first round pick Mike Hughes is hoping a change of scenery can improve his stock before he hits free agency as well. Deandre Baker is also a compelling young player who was the first corner taken in the 2019 NFL Draft, although he is working his way back from a broken leg. Rashad Fenton is also around as a slot corner coming into his third season.
The problem with this group is that there are questions around each player. Baker faces health concerns. Hughes has never looked the part. Ward’s performance is inconsistent. Sneed is a one-year wonder. Fenton has never been tasked with serious responsibility. Others like BoPete Keyes are even greater question marks.
That doesn’t mean the Chiefs aren’t better than their ranking, but they are going to have to prove themselves if they want to not only earn greater respect as a unit but perform well enough to play in a third consecutive Super Bowl.