Tom Pelissero was on “Good Morning Football” last week and was asked which division will be the toughest in 2021.
“All right, is it blasphemous if I say the AFC West will be the most competitive division in the NFL? And I’m not suggesting this is going to be a fall off for Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs,” Pelissero said. “They’re set up for success for years to come. When you look at that Chargers team, adding guys like Corey Linsley, you have a bright young quarterback in Justin Herbert, you’ve got all those high picks on defense from Joey Bosa to Derwin James, if he can stay healthy, and (coach) Brandon Staley coming in who’s a really bright defensive mind. They should be much improved on that side of the ball.
On learning from defeat: ‘It drives you to be better’
When you lose on a football field or if you invest in a company that doesn’t work out, or whatever it is, I think that helps you out more because it drives you to learn from your mistakes. It drives you to be better the next time.
I just continue to try to make myself better. I think that’s been the biggest thing that I’ve done my entire life: No matter the success or the failure that I have the previous season, I just try to continue to make myself better every single day.
That’s all you can do.
If you’re not getting better, you’re getting worse. I know it sounds cliche, but it’s true.
3. Tony Gonzalez, tight end
1997 NFL Draft: Round 1, No. 13 (California)
The history of first-round tight ends is not all that great — especially in recent years. But the Kansas City Chiefs landed a true gem when they took Tony Gonzalez at No. 13 overall back in 1997.
At the time he retired, Gonzalez was arguably the greatest tight end in NFL history. He’s still the all-time leader among tight ends in both receptions (1,325) and receiving yards (15,127, more than 2,000 ahead of the next-closest player), and he’s second in receiving touchdowns (111, just five behind Antonio Gates).
A monster-sized (6-foot-5, 247 pounds) target over the middle of the field, Gonzalez was just about as unstoppable as it gets for well over a decade. He made 14 (FOURTEEN!) Pro Bowls in 17 years, an all-time record at tight end and tied with Tom Brady and Peyton Manning for the most ever among offensive players. His six First Team All-Pro berths are also the most among tight ends, and he added four Second-Team selections on top of them.
Zaven Collins EDGE
Kansas City picks up a linebacker that can fly across the field and make big hits. Between Willie Gay and Collins, the Chiefs have some really talented linebackers to develop.
- Forty-one of the Chiefs’ 57 fifth-round picks went on to play for Kansas City, combining to appear in 1,324 contests.
- Defensive end Mike Danna, who the Chiefs selected with the No. 177 overall pick in 2020, tallied six quarterback hits, four tackles-for-loss and 2.5 sacks last season.
- Former wide receiver Carlos Carson, who was inducted into the Ring of Honor in 2017, played in the most games (120) in a Chiefs’ uniform of any fifth-round pick in franchise history.
31 Kansas City Chiefs
Notre Dame · OT
Eichenberg may need to start immediately at left tackle after all the turnover along the O-line. It’s a big ask to protect the blind side of one of the league’s top QBs.
Around the NFL
Enshrinement ceremonies are set for Aug. 5-9 for the 2020 and 2021 classes and the Centennial class — Hall of Famers chosen as part of the league’s 100th anniversary. The ceremonies for the Class of 2020 and the Centennial class were canceled last year due to COVID-19 restrictions.
But eight members of the 20-person Centennial class — Bobby Dillon, Winston Hill, Alex Karras, Steve Sabol, Duke Slater, Mac Speedie, Ed Sprinkle and George Young — and Bill Nunn from the Class of 2021 will be honored posthumously April 28 at the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
The bronze busts for those nine enshrinees will be placed in the Hall by family members. The ceremony will air as part of a 90-minute show May 1 on NFL Network and May 4 on ESPN2.
The 31-year-old Smith adds to what was already a deep collection of edge-rushers in Seattle. The Seahawks re-signed Carlos Dunlap and Benson Mayowa, added Kerry Hyder and return L.J. Collier, Alton Robinson, Rasheem Green and Darrell Taylor.
After being reinstated from an indefinite suspension that lasted from 2016 to 2019 for multiple off-field incidents and violations of the NFL’s substance abuse policy, Smith joined the Cowboys in 2020 on a one-year deal worth up to $4 million based on certain incentives.
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How he fits in Kansas City: Basham has a skill set that Brett Veach has shown a desire to acquire for his defensive coordinator. Spagnuolo and Veach believe the pass rush starts with power players and Basham is just that. He is dense and stout at the point of attack in the run game.
Basham hasn’t always shown enough juice or flexibility to win up the arc, he showed a lot more promise inside at the Senior Bowl. While in Mobile, Basham looked more explosive than he did his final year with the Demon Deacons. He was a handful for just about any interior offensive lineman he matched up against. He won with quickness, a surprising first step and was able to operate through the chest of a lot of linemen as well.
That versatility should really intrigue the Chiefs — who love to kick a bigger base end inside on rushing downs. Basham affords them that flexibility and could add some much-needed juice to the pass rush rotation. There’s a clear path to success for Basham in the NFL — pairing good effort and power to set a good edge on early downs and trying to disrupt next to Chris Jones inside. It would not surprise me if it’s the Chiefs — and while I would disagree with the value it could be as early as pick 31.
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