4 Chiefs defenders who could be nice surprises in 2024

The Chiefs have a number of players who could step up and surprise on the defensive side in 2024.

Kansas City Chiefs v Los Angeles Chargers
Kansas City Chiefs v Los Angeles Chargers / Ric Tapia/GettyImages
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It's hard for any team to remain competitive year after year in the National Football League. Players age and get injured. Rosters lose players to free agency and retirement. There's a time to replenish those losses, yes, but the variables involved make it difficult to count on anything.

That's even true for the Kansas City Chiefs despite their sustained run of success. Things might look easy for Andy Reid and Brett Veach, but the truth is that a lot of hard work is put into making sure the team can withstand the losses from one season to the next.

This year, the Chiefs defense has taken some more significant hits—from the trade of L'Jarius Sneed to the injury of Charles Omenihu to the departure of Willie Gay. We wanted to profile the next wave of players who could surprise us and help fill those gaps.

B.J. Thompson, edge

To be honest, we have no idea how this one is going to turn out.

For the last few years, fans of the Kansas City Chiefs have waited for Joshua Kaindoh to turn into something on the edge after being selected in the fourth round of the 2020 NFL Draft. After three seasons of little-to-no productivity, the Chiefs finally told him he was out of chances and turned the page on the experiment. Then they introduced a new one.

B.J. Thompson is the new Kaindoh, although the circumstances are radically different. Kaindoh looked the part in every way yet never quite played it, except for a very early stint at Florida State. Thompson, on the other hand, has put up the production albeit at a questionable competitive level and needed significant work to fill out his body and look the part.

After years of Kaindoh, Chiefs fans are glad to try something new but so far not much is known about Thompson. He was an older prospect at 24 coming out of Stephen F. Austin, not exactly a haven of NFL talent, and he only put up 5 sacks during his final season. He also weighed only 238, which made him a situational body at best.

But Thompson showed off elite burst and speed during the pre-draft season and his performance in the Shrine Game turned heads all over the NFL. By the time the draft was coming into view a year ago, several NFL teams were requesting visits—including the Chiefs. A few weeks later, they took him in the fifth round.

Can Thompson turn into something after sitting all of last season as a healthy scratch on the active roster? Unless the Chiefs find a way to bring back Mike Danna, the window should be open for a guy like Thompson to get his reps. And for the sake of the pass rush, it'd be a welcome surprise to see Thompson generating something.

The Chiefs are well-positioned for another deep run and you can get ready for it with FanDuel Sportsbook's $200 sign-up bonus available now! New users who bet $5 or more (with a $10 deposit) with their first wager will get an extra $200 in bonus bets if the wager wins. Click here to sign up for FanDuel now!