The K.C. Chiefs have featured one of the most prolific offenses the NFL has ever seen ever since Patrick Mahomes took over as their starting quarterback. Every highlight, ever video package, every think piece is about how good this offense is, and how it is the backbone of a Chiefs team that has dominated the AFC for the past three seasons.
The other side of the ball for Kansas City is mostly an afterthought. More often than not, the only time you will hear about the Chiefs defense is after a loss. Rarely do they get the spotlight as a unit. Sure, every now and then Tyrann Mathieu and Chris Jones will get some personal media shine. They deserve it, of course, and they are also the first to talk up their fellow defenders. Outside of that, the attention is on the offense.
That doesn’t mean that the Chiefs defense doesn’t have room to grow, or that the criticisms don’t have any merit. DVOA is a decent tool, and they had Kansas City ranked as the 22nd defense in the NFL, which is one spot behind the New York Jets. Most of that has to do with a run defense that was ranked 31st overall by DVOA.
Kansas City has the most room to grow on the defensive side of the ball, and the hope is that newcomers like linebacker Nick Bolton and defensive tackle Jarran Reed can step in and offer quality snaps on a defense that could obviously use the help, especially in the run game.
We should also not forgot about players already on the roster that can contribute as well including players like Juan Thornhil, who looks to get back to form after a full season under his belt after a torn ACL. Of course, there is also Willie Gay, a rangy and athletic linebacker who will be trying to make a big impact on the defense this year.
That is who I will be spotlighting in today’s Sophomore Surge, a series where I take a close look at how and why every draft pick from 2020 will improve, and what to reasonably expect from them going into the 2021 season. If you want to check out last week’s piece on Clyde Edwards-Helaire, I go into detail on just why he is primed for a big 2021. Today, I will do the same for Willie Gay, giving you the biggest reasons why I think he will have a Sophomore Surge. (See what I did there? It is like when they say the movie title in the movie.)