Six Kansas City Chiefs made CBS Sports writer Pete Prisco’s top 100 NFL players of 2020 list, with quarterback Patrick Mahomes taking the top spot. As it turned out, all six Chiefs who made it were within the top 50.
Let’s go through the Kansas City selections:
1. QB Patrick Mahomes: This was an easy choice. He missed time last season, which hurt his MVP chances, but he will be right back in the race this year. He’s the best player in the league.
20. TE Travis Kelce: He led all tight ends with 95 catches and with 1,229 yards. He also had five touchdowns and 65 catches that went for first downs. His blocking isn’t as good as Kittle’s, which is why he’s behind him.
After the way last year’s postseason played out — with Lamar Jackson and the Ravens losing in the divisional round and Mahomes winning the Super Bowl — it has become a bigger surprise when Mahomes doesn’t top a list like this than when he does.
I’m not sure I agree with Prisco’s blocking take, but even if you want to surrender that, until Kittle proves to be as consistent a producer as Kelce, he should be the highest tight end on the board.
34. S Tyrann Mathieu: He started slowly last season, but by the end of the season and into the playoffs he was playing at a Defensive Player of the Year level. His versatility is a big part of the Kansas City defense.
36. DT Chris Jones: The postseason, even battling through injuries, showed what a force he could be. The Chiefs did the wise thing to put the franchise tag on him this season.
As Prisco notes, there is a case to be made that Mathieu was the game’s best defensive player throughout the second half of last season. Without Mathieu’s play and him raising the level of play among his teammates, the Chiefs do not win the Super Bowl.
That last comment about Mathieu also fits with Jones. Jones’ pass deflections in Super Bowl LIV were pivotal in getting the ball back into the hands of Mahomes, who led the Chiefs to their comeback championship victory.
41. RT Mitch Schwartz: He’s consistently been one of the best right tackles in the league and the best of the Chiefs offensive linemen. He excels in pass protection, but he’s also good in the run game.
43. WR Tyreek Hill: He was limited to 12 games last season because of injury, but he remains one of the scariest down-field threats in the game. See the Super Bowl. He averaged 14.8 yards per catch last season, but wasn’t healthy until the playoffs.
Maybe there has been a shift this offseason, in which Schwartz will begin to get some of the attention and recognition he has deserved for so long. Mitch in the Kitch has been named an All-Pro four times yet still hasn’t been voted to a Pro Bowl. Perhaps a campaign is in order next year?
The 43rd rank is not nearly high enough for Hill. If he plays 16 healthy games as Mahomes’ primary receiver in 2020, he is as good a bet as anyone to lead the league in receiving yards.