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Tyrann Mathieu named one of the NFL’s best safeties

In a new ranking, Kansas City’s All-Pro safety is listed second — but that doesn’t tell his whole story.

Divisional Round - Cleveland Browns v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

On Wednesday, CBS Sports analyst Tyler Sullivan published his ranking of the NFL’s top 10 safeties. Kansas City Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu was ranked second — just behind the Denver Broncos’ Justin Simmons. The Pittsburgh Steelers’ Minkah Fitzpatrick, Cincinnati Bengals’ Jesse Bates III and Cleveland Browns’ John Johnson II rounded out Sullivan’s top five.

2. Tyrann Mathieu, Chiefs

The Honey Badger continues to be arguably the game’s best safety. He’s a jack of all trades within Kansas City’s secondary and has been the face of that defense throughout this run of Super Bowl appearances, while also proving to be extremely clutch in those high-pressure moments. He was an All-Pro for his efforts last season where he allowed a 62.7 completion percentage and just a 60.2 passer rating when targeted. Mathieu also notched a career-high six interceptions, while also defending nine passes. Similar to Fitzpatrick, Mathieu is a straight-up playmaker.

On a strict player-to-player comparison, it’s hard to argue with Sullivan placing Simmons ahead of Mathieu — but that ignores the effect Mathieu has on his teammates. He’s clearly the main leader of Kansas City’s defense, spending a great of his time and energy focusing on helping those in the defensive room play to their potential. Perhaps more than any other safety in the league, Mathieu is focused not just on his own performance, but on those around him.

“He’s such a great leader on this team — and obviously a special football player,” said Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes on Thursday. “You want him to be here for the long run — and you can tell that Chiefs Kingdom is really behind him as the leader of that defense and a leader on this team. Definitely want him to be here as long as he can — and as long as I’m here.”

This is why a new contract extension for Mathieu should be — and likely is — one of the team’s main priorities before the season begins.

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