Assigning first-quarter letter grades to the Kansas City Chiefs

Some Chiefs are getting off to a hot start and some have plenty of room to grow. Let's divvy out some grades through the first four weeks of the season.

Detroit Lions v Kansas City Chiefs
Detroit Lions v Kansas City Chiefs / David Eulitt/GettyImages
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Grade A

  • Running back, Isiah Pacheco
  • Defensive tackle, Chris Jones
  • Cornerback, Trent McDuffie
  • Kicker, Harrison Butker
  • Linebacker, Drue Tranquill
  • Defensive end, George Karlaftis

Isiah Pacheco solidified himself in the Chiefs' last game against the Jets. He carried the team to the tune of 158 all-purpose yards. Historically the Chiefs have not lived by a ton of balance to the offense, but Pacheco adds a different element to this team. His 270 rushing yards have him on pace for well over 1,000 for the first time in his career. He also already has 90 yards receiving after accumulating 130 all of 2022.

Chris Jones was already an “A” player, but after sitting out the entire offseason and Week 1, he has not skipped a beat. He went right into being the player he was who carried the defense through their Super Bowl run. He already has 3.5 sacks in three games played. 

Trent McDuffie is PFF’s second-rated corner in the NFL so far this season. We all knew he could play after 2022, but I am not sure anyone saw this coming as fast as it has. He still probably is not getting enough credit nationally. He is incredibly sticky in coverage, but it is his toughness and tackling ability that has been a game changer. He has tallied 17 tackles and has forced two fumbles already this season. 

Harrison Butker has not been talked about much this season, which is exactly what you want in a kicker. They are only talking about you if you are doing poorly and Butker has been perfect so far this season. He has made all 19 of his extra point and field goal attempts and it seems like they all go right through the middle. 

Drue Tranquill has been a phenomenal addition to this linebacking core, especially when you consider he only signed for 3 million bucks. Nick Bolton has missed the last two games and Tranquill filled in at the mike linebacker and has made Bolton’s absence largely unfelt. Can you imagine missing Bolton last year and having a guy like Darius Harris fill in? Defenses would have gashed the middle of the field. Tranquill has also forced a fumble this year and has only missed two tackles. 

George Karlaftis, according to PFF, has a 16 percent pressure rate so far this season, and to put that in perspective, that is higher than Chris Jones in 2022. He is not always getting home, but that pressure results in others coming down with the sack or knocking the quarterback off his rhythm. If he can end those pressures in sacks at a higher rate, he can eclipse 10 sacks this season.