The Chiefs’ defense is a top-12 unit overall
Let’s get this out of the way. The Chiefs’ 2022 hopes ride on the offense. If injuries hit too hard or the offense cannot gel, then the season is likely gone. Kansas City is not going to magically become a defensive team over the course of one off-season. But, Chiefs fans have to like what the defense has shown lately.
From top to bottom, this Chiefs defense looks different, nastier, and overall better than in previous years. The defense did end the 2021 postseason on a high note, being PFF’s second-highest rated unit in that span. The 2021 regular season was a mixed bag, as the early-season defense was historically bad, while the remaining season was filled with good, if not average, defensive play. The Chiefs invested heavily on the offensive side of the ball, signing safety Justin Reid and defensive end Carlos Dunlap while using four of their first five draft selections on defensive players.
First-round rookies George Karlaftis and Trent McDuffie have been as good as advertised, but their counterparts have been this season’s surprise. Cornerback Jaylen Watson has been a standout this preseason, while cornerback Joshua Williams and safety Bryan Cook could be Week 1 contributors. Overall, this is likely one of the deepest defensive units the Chiefs have fielded in many years.
PFF graded the Chiefs’ defense as the league’s 12th-best in the 2022 preseason, including all the second- and third-team reps. If the Chiefs can carry that uniform success into the regular season, then that certainly bolsters the team’s overall projection.