KC Chiefs: Is this the most complete team of Patrick Mahomes era?

KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - JANUARY 23: Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs celebrates a touchdown scored by Tyreek Hill #10 against the Buffalo Bills during the fourth quarter in the AFC Divisional Playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium on January 23, 2022 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - JANUARY 23: Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs celebrates a touchdown scored by Tyreek Hill #10 against the Buffalo Bills during the fourth quarter in the AFC Divisional Playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium on January 23, 2022 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /

The Kansas City Chiefs struck gold when they drafted Patrick Mahomes in the 2017 NFL Draft and the majority of fans across the league realized that once he took the field as the team’s starter for the first time in 2018. Since then, the Chiefs have made four straight AFC Championship games and two Super Bowls, including a championship victory in Super Bowl 54 over the San Francisco 49ers. It’s been an amazing run for the organization as a whole and something Chiefs fans have dreamed of for ages.

That said, it almost does feel a little disappointing that they’ve only come away with one Super Bowl win in four trips to the AFC Championship game, especially when you think about 2018 and 2021 where they really should have won both games and probably would’ve won (or given a better game to the Los Angeles Rams). Making it to the big game only to lose in embarrassing fashion to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was also a huge stinger.

Is this the single most complete roster employed by the Kansas City Chiefs in the Patrick Mahomes era?

One thing you can take away from all of those big losses, however, is that each iteration of the Chiefs roster had some glaring holes that ultimately led to each of their demise. In 2018, it was the god-awful defense. In 2020, it was the offensive line totally collapsing. Finally, just last season against the Cincinnati Bengals, the blame is shared a little bit more than in the other two games, but the pass rush in particular really let the team down.

Some will say that the offense is to blame for that game, but they probably did just enough to win that one, and if we’re being honest, the amount of pressure that is put on Mahomes and the Chiefs’ offense over the years has been unfair. The reliance on Mahomes since he took the reigns has been a dangerous game even though it’s delivered us some incredible moments and great memories. The truth is, Mahomes shouldn’t have to play as well as he does all the time for the Chiefs to win games. That strategy ultimately came back to bite the team against the Bengals when another aspect of the Chiefs needed to step up when Mahomes started to shut down.

The Chiefs played a style of football that was only going to be sustainable for so long before they had to make some tough decisions on where to go with this roster.

The front office likely already knew this and has been trying to create a more balanced roster with better depth this offseason rather than the top-heavy roster construction they’ve had the past few seasons. They just weren’t able to do it effectively until they started to move on from some of our favorite and most notable players this past spring.

In the last several months we’ve seen Tyrann Mathieu, Tyreek Hill, etc. all depart. The most shocking move was trading Hill to the Miami Dolphins in the wake of Hill’s camp wanting top-of-the-market money. Most of us hated it at first—and some of us still do—but in the end, the Chiefs gave themselves more flexibility than they’ve had in a long time and because of that they’ve been able to build what might be the most complete team of the Mahomes Era.

Part of the process involved draft picks, most of which were acquired through the Tyreek Hill trade. Draft picks are like lottery tickets in a lot of ways but there’s no denying the Chiefs added young, cost-controlled talent at a lot of positions of need through their most recent draft and that’s a big reason to believe that this team might be the deepest in the Mahomes era. Rookies Skyy Moore, George Karalaftis, Isaiah Pacheco, and Trent McDuffie have been among the most exciting rookies at training camp and they’ll likely all contribute immediately.

When you look up and down the roster, though, there doesn’t seem to be a position that is lacking. Not that every position is perfect, but there aren’t really any gaping holes that would appear to slow the Chiefs down once the season opens like the pass rush or secondary last year.

The receiver position may have lost its top guy in Hill, but they’ve certainly upgraded their secondary pass-catchers in JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling. Moore and Mecole Hardman are also still in the mix which makes for a formidable group. Travis Kelce is still at tight end, the offensive line looks as good as ever, and the running backs look pretty solid with Ronald Jones and Isaiah Pacheco now in the fold.

The defense was a point of emphasis this offseason with Kansas City and that was a side of the ball that saw the most turnover. The Chiefs moved on from a number of aging veterans in an attempt to get younger, faster, and stronger. They drafted three cornerbacks including training camp standouts Trent McDuffie and Joshua Williams. The new-look safety group includes free agent Justin Reid and third-round draft pick Bryan Cook who aren’t afraid to hit. Speaking of that, draft pick Leo Chenal certainly looks to add athleticism and violence to the Chiefs linebacking corps that already had Nick Bolton and Willie Gay.

Until last week, the Chiefs’ defensive line seemed like the one position group that left a little more to be desired. Sure they drafted George Karalaftis in the first round, but it seemed like there was a little too much expectation being put on him to fix the pass-rush woes in 2022. A rookie along with Frank Clark and Chris Jones just felt like a repeat of last year which was never going to cut it. Suddenly, the Chiefs did what a lot of us wanted and brought in veteran edge Carlos Dunlap, who is coming off an 8.5 sack season with the Seattle Seahawks. Dunlap solidifies the pass rush and gives the Chiefs that one other guy they can trust when they need production much like Melvin Ingram last year.

Now, it really does feel like the Chiefs are a complete team. No weaknesses, no holes, no positions of need. There are still a couple of spots you could argue still need a boost, like right tackle, with the uncertainty but the Chiefs have options there that make sense.

It was a risky approach considering the Chiefs have put themselves in a position where they should be expected to be Super Bowl contenders every year. They opted to go with potential instead of the known commodity in a lot of ways this offseason, but they raised their ceiling and created flexibility for right now and way into the future.

We’ll get our first look at them this weekend when they hit the field for preseason game one against the Chicago Bears and hopefully, we’ll see all the new additions make some plays to show that the Chiefs went the right direction this offseason.

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