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2020 Chiefs positional preview: quarterback

The Chiefs have the best quarterback in the NFL, but what’s happening behind him?

Super Bowl LIV - San Francisco 49ers v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images

As training camp progresses over the next few weeks, the AP Nerd Squad continues to break down the Chiefs roster position by position. We’re working from the top of the depth chart to the bottom, briefing you on how we think each position group will play out.

Let’s sort out all of the uncertainty and competition the Chiefs have for their starting quarterback position (LOL).

“The guy”

We should pull the quotation marks from the headline. The guy — the man, the legend, the best football player on the planet — Patrick Lavon Mahomes.

His highlight reel for Canton is already better than some who have already received their gold jackets — and he’s two years into what will be a long and illustrious career in Kansas City. No one has had a better 2020 than Mahomes — he earned a $503 million contract, bought a piece of the Royals and did all this after earning Super Bowl MVP in February.

It’s hard to believe Mahomes is just scratching the surface, but it’s true. Unmatched work ethic led him to the mountaintop in an adversity-filled season. The biggest obstacle — the first ring — has been defeated.

The pressure is off, and that should scare the rest of the league. Mahomes is now in legacy mode, and he is one of the few with a legitimate chance to achieve greatest-of-all-time status if his career goes how is expected to. I can’t wait to see what the next step looks like for Mahomes.

New kid on the block

Jordan Ta’amu has more starts under his belt in the year 2020 than Mahomes.

The XFL star is likely not to earn many reps in practice, but he is a candidate to stick around Kansas City on the practice squad. Ta’amu was an intriguing prospect coming out of Ole Miss with some impressive splash plays. Getting the opportunity to compete in the XFL was perfect for Ta’amu — reps as the starter for an organization. He undoubtedly grew in his time there, and it will serve him well in his pursuit of an NFL job. He’s not positioned to dethrone Chad Henne or Matt Moore for time this year — but a year in the organization could set him up as a potential backup for Mahomes in 2021.

Sleeper candidate

Don’t sleep on Mahomes yet again changing what we know to be possible on the football field.

I’m not putting anything past Mahomes — a behind the back pass is not out of the realm of possibility this year. We saw no-look passes dominate storylines during his league MVP season in 2018. After overthrowing Travis Kelce in Week 1, we saw less of that skill during the year. We could see more of that in 2020, but it also appears to be a completely viable skill to throw behind the back based on what we saw in that clip.

Best battle

There is no battle in Kansas City, but there is a score to settle for Mahomes against the rest of the league. His peers voted him the fourth-best player in the world. They’re wrong — and Mahomes is about to make them pay.

Make no mistake about it — Mahomes is a stone-cold savage. He’ll find edges wherever he needs. The word complacency isn’t in his vocabulary. The legacy chasing starts now — and he’s out to separate himself further from the rest of the league.