As we enter the 2021 NFL season, plenty of position groups have gotten older without fans realizing it. It seems like one day, a team has a 24-year-old player just entering his prime, and then the next year they are 29 and fans and pundits alike start talking about his retirement.
Let’s take a look at which position groups on the K.C. Chiefs may have gotten older overall without us realizing and some other position groups that have plenty of good years left.
Led by last year’s first-round pick at No. 32 overall, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, the Chiefs have gotten much younger in the backfield with an average age of 25 years old. With the oldest running back on the team being the newly acquired Jerick McKinnon at 29 years old, Kansas City boasts one of the youngest running back groups in the entire NFL. While year-to-year productivity remains to be seen due to their age, their ceiling is incredibly high.
With perennial All-Pro Travis Kelce highlighting the tight end room, this position group is on the older end of the spectrum as Kelce, 31, and Blake Bell, 30 are among the elder statesmen on the offensive side of the ball. However, the tight ends aren’t all a bunch of old head since the Chiefs also recently drafted Noah Grey, who is 22, and have Jody Fortson, who is 25. Both give the position group youthful upside.
With the drafting of Noah Gray, we can see the front office being proactive about Kelce’s age. Of course, Kelce isn’t going anywhere, and he has given no reason to doubt his offensive production. However, it would be a disservice to not mention Kelce getting older.
Led by Mike Hughes, Charvarius Ward, and L’Jarius Sneed, the Chiefs boast one of the youngest secondary groups in the NFL. With an average age of 24 years old among the top 4 corners in Ward, Sneed, Hughes, and Fenton, there is room for growth among the corners in Kansas City. That’s not including Deandre Baker and BoPete Keyes who are also younger than that.
While they may not have much pedigree or experience, we shouldn’t rush to judgment towards a group that should really play well given some time together. Which is great, because time is on their side.
Led by sack artist and pocket disruptor Chris Jones, the Chiefs have a solid young group of defensive linemen for the years to come. With the oldest among the starters being Frank Clark and Jarran Reed, there are plenty of good years left for players who would be considered “veterans” and prime years to come for the younger defensive lineman.
With Derrick Nandi and Khalen Saunders at just 25 years old, this defensive group should have some strong seasons in front of them if they all stay healthy (and signed). Given that most of this group are “tweeners”—not too old and not too young—we can expect the Chiefs to continue the influx of youth as well as look for veterans to give this young line some competition.
Like any team in the NFL, there is a mix of veterans of rookies. However, it does us good as fans to take stock of position groups and who is on the rise as well as players to make sure and catch a glimpse of before they hang it up for good.