Current Hall of Fame “lock”? No, but he’s closer than you think
Tyrann Mathieu, Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill are also enjoying solid starts to their careers. But I couldn’t go against Mahomes, who last year became the first player to win league and Super Bowl MVP honors before his 25th birthday. Already considered the best player in football today, another MVP/Super Bowl season may be all Mahomes needs to earn early consideration as a future Hall of Fame player. Gale Sayers and Terrell Davis only needed four healthy seasons to earn their place in Canton. Mahomes, whose early career success rivals both legendary players, is entering his third season as the Chiefs’ starting quarterback.
RB Priest Holmes (2001-2007)
Accolades with the Chiefs:
Three consecutive Pro Bowl’s (2001-2003). Three consecutive First-Team All-Pro’s (2001-2003). NFL Offensive Player of the Year (2002). 2001 NFL rushing yards leader (1,555). 2002 NFL rushing touchdown leader (21). 2003 NFL rushing touchdown leader (27). Set the NFL record for yards from scrimmage per game in 2002 (163.4). 15th in NFL history in rushing touchdowns (86).
The biggest argument against Holmes’ claim to the Pro Football Hall of Fame is longevity. Still, his first three seasons in Kansas City represent perhaps the most dominant stretch by a running back in NFL history. That alone should merit a conversation about Holmes having an opportunity.
4. Kansas City Chiefs
DT: Chris Jones
DE: Frank Clark
LB: Anthony Hitchens
S: Tyrann Mathieu
We pretty much know what we’re going to get from Kansas City’s offense — points, and plenty of them — so it’s on the playmaking defense to hold up its end of the bargain in the Chiefs’ bid to repeat. Clark and Jones give the unit a hard-hitting duo up front that wears opponents down with a barrage of body blows. The combination of up-the-gut pressure from Jones and pocket-crashing from Clark makes quarterbacks wilt by the end of a 60-minute game. Hitchens is a steady player in the middle with a rock-solid game as a run stopper. He isn’t a top-50 player in the league or anything, but his consistent presence, superb communication skills and consistency within the box make him a perfect fit for the Chiefs. Mathieu is the ideal complement to a disruptive pass rush as a Swiss Army Knife defender with box-area skills. He remains a standout playmaker against the pass, but his ability to also make plays against the run elevates the performance of the defense. Moreover, Mathieu’s leadership skills and toughness give K.C. an edginess that’s needed in the rough-and-rugged AFC.
Biggest weakness: Cornerback. It would be inaccurate to deem this a glaring issue. After all, the Chiefs had a superb overall pass defense last season. Their run defense was often the sore spot. They improved on both fronts in the back half of the season, which surely contributed to their three double-digit comebacks in the playoffs. Still, the CB position wasn’t exactly star-studded. With limited cap space, chasing the big-ticket cornerbacks in free agency wasn’t really an option, but you’d have thought Kansas City would snag a cover man earlier in the draft than Day 3. A corner group headed up by Bashaud Breeland, Charvarius Ward and Rashad Fenton is likely no better than serviceable.
San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle earned the top spot in the Madden NFL 21 position rankings with a 98 overall rating.
Kittle was followed by the Kansas City Chiefs’ Travis Kelce, Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Rob Gronkowski, Philadelphia Eagles’ Zach Ertz and Cleveland Browns’ Austin Hooper in the ratings released Friday on ESPN’s SportsCenter:
Which receiver gets the most targets?
Let’s start on the outsides. Tyreek Hill’s nickname is “Cheetah.” That should tell you everything you need to know about how fast he is. Mecole Hardman runs 4.33 in the 40-yard dash and is a blaze in the open field. Even though Sammy Watkins is officially an elder statesman in the receiving group, he can still also break away from most defensive backs to take the top off of a defense.
If you think you can take away all of those weapons, try taking care of arguably the best tight end in the NFL in Travis Kelce. Too fast for linebackers and too strong for defensive backs, Kelce also has breakaway speed for the tight end spot. Kelce has taken on the role of being Mahomes’ favorite third-down target.
Daniel Sorensen – Four-years, $16 million
Sorensen saw minimal playing time during his first two years with the Chiefs before experiencing a breakout season in 2016. The Colton, California, native tallied 63 tackles that year, including one sack, to go along with three fumble recoveries and three interceptions. Kansas City promptly offered Sorensen a four-year, $16 million extension that keeps him tied to the Chiefs through the upcoming season. Sorensen has continued to impress since then and was a key part of Kansas City’s 2020 playoff run and Super Bowl win.
Around the NFL
What we don’t know about the 2020 NFL season
3. Details aren’t clear on how the NFL will account for what could be significant roster churn based on infections and isolation time. Expanded active rosters and bigger practice squads are both in play. The league and the union are discussing establishment of a new, coronavirus-specific injured reserve list that would allow a player to return after a short period of time, such as three weeks.
Any dread in Dallas this week may be a harbinger of what’s to come. The Cowboys were overwhelmingly blessed to stumble into Tony Romo, who they nearly cut anyway, and Prescott in back-to-back quarterback cycles. Prescott, by the way, was not Dallas’s preferred choice there. If you’ll remember, they coveted both Paxton Lynch and Connor Cook. And because of their draft status (or lack thereof in Romo’s case), the Cowboys were afforded major salary cap savings in the early parts of their careers. They also avoided the NFL purgatory that is searching for a franchise quarterback when you don’t have one, and they never had to spend draft capital picking an early-round QB or, even costlier, trading up for one. But despite all this, they may soon exit this era without much to actually show for it.
“We are pleased to see Washington’s decision to change their team name and visual identity,” an EA representative said in a statement. “We are quickly working to update Madden NFL 21 to feature a generic Washington team, while we await final word on the updated team name and logo design.”
“From the day that he joined our organization nine years ago, A.J. Green has been an outstanding player and a class act,” said Bengals executive vice president Katie Blackburn in a press release. “We are pleased that he will be part of the team this year, starting with the first practice. By signing, A.J. puts himself and the team in the best position to have a great season together, and we look forward to the opportunity at the end of the season to discuss keeping him here long-term. He has been an integral part of our team, and we expect this year that he will be the same impact player he has always been.”
In case you missed it at Arrowhead Pride
99% of snaps from 2019 are returning
The 20 snaps that former Chiefs wide receiver De’Anthony Thomas took in 2019 were probably already forgotten by most. They were the only receiver snaps taken by a player that isn’t still on the roster. The group is young, still improving and continuing to build trust with the best quarterback in the NFL. There are no newcomers that Mahomes has to build an on-field chemistry with over this virtual offseason.
That continuous relationship comes to fruition on the football field in multiple ways. Head coach Andy Reid can add more plays and concepts, knowing that the wide receivers have all been in his system for at least a year. The familiarity with Mahomes comes in handy when a play breaks down and becomes a scramble drill.
No matter who is lining up out wide in 2020, there’s reason to believe Mahomes will trust them.
A tweet to make you think
They aren't perfect, but the #Chiefs have really come up when it comes to Madden ratings— Robert Rimpson (@Rimpsanity) July 17, 2020
Rookie year rating: 73
Madden 21 rating: 97
Rookie year rating: 65
Madden 21 rating: 96
Rookie year rating: 76
Madden 21 rating: 99
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