The Kansas City Chiefs should expect a significant step up from last season’s rookie class with a full year of experience under their belt.
During every draft broadcast, it doesn’t take long for some analysts to note that teams like the Kansas City Chiefs are always thinking a year out as they make their picks. They do this because they know the ability to leap from the college ranks to the NFL level is so difficult. Consequently, it can be the second season for most players before fans really see what the front office was envisioning.
For the Chiefs, that means that the 2021 draft class is ready to make the leap. For some players that means becoming even greater than they already are. For others, it’s hoping they can start to make their mark on the roster. However, the Chiefs should feel good overall knowing that the draft class has already proven to be so successful even after year one.
Let’s take a look at last year’s rookies and what it means for them to take the next step in 2022.
It seems almost unfair to think about Creed Humphrey as a rookie last season. The man has already been called the best center in professional football, and others who need more convincing will still list him in the top 2-4.
Humphrey came into last season as a pro-ready center out of Oklahoma without any real weaknesses. Other than the oddity of being left-handed, Humphrey had years of experience, near-perfect technique, incredible instincts, a strong work ethic, and a love for the game. Somehow he lasted all the way into the bottom of the second round and the Chiefs scored big in the process.
Looking ahead to this season, Humphrey will now have a full year under his belt of seeing the competition within the division. He also has a year of chemistry with new teammates and a working relationship with Patrick Mahomes. Consider all the minor mental checks he had to make last year as a starting rookie for a contending team with a complex offense. Much of that will now come to him instinctually, which will allow him to process and play that much faster.
For those in the know, Humphrey was already a top performer in the league, but the primetime appearances for the Chiefs should lead to Humphrey becoming a household name in ’22. Together with Joe Thuney and Trey Smith (we’ll get there), this interior is among the franchise’s best ever—and they’re just getting started.