Over the past week, the football analytics site Pro Football Focus has been revealing their ranking of the NFL’s top 50 players. The unveiling concluded on Friday. A total of four Kansas City Chiefs players were included in their list, whose descriptions were written by analyst Sam Monson.
2. QB Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs
Mahomes is just different. He attempts and completes passes that no other quarterback in the game can even think about, and he regularly adds even more freakish plays to that repertoire. Including the postseason, Mahomes has compiled the highest PFF passing grade of any quarterback since he became the starter in Kansas City, and nobody has more than the 137 big-time throws the Chiefs superstar has recorded over that span.
Mahomes is a great example of a player for whom the eye test really does match up with just how talented he is. It took a complete collapse by a backup offensive line in the Super Bowl to keep him from winning back-to-back championships by the age of 25.
3. TE Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs
Kelce was nigh-on impossible to cover last season, finishing just short of the league lead in receiving yards regardless of position during the regular season.
The 6-foot-5, 260-pound tight end then set about laying waste to all in his path during a postseason where opposing defenses lined up every possible player to cover him, with even elite cover corners like Denzel Ward ending up on the turf as Kelce glided into the end zone for a touchdown. He is one of the most unguardable players in the game at any position, a true matchup nightmare for opposing defenses.
18. WR Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs
There may not be a more dangerous playmaker in football than Hill, a player with an unrivaled combination of speed and quickness. The Chiefs wideout is a threat to break off a big play and score a touchdown every single time he lines up on offense, and he changes games whether the ball comes his way on the play or not. Hill led all receivers last season with eight touchdown catches on deep (20-plus air yards) targets, two more than any other wideout.
19. DI Chris Jones, Kansas City Chiefs
Aaron Donald isn’t just the best interior defensive lineman in the NFL. He is one of the best defenders the game has ever seen. The competition to be the next-best at that position is a fierce one, however, and Chris Jones has as good a case as anybody. Over the last three seasons, Jones has the second-best PFF pass-rushing grade at the position (trailing Donald, obviously) and is just two total pressures behind Fletcher Cox for second-best. Jones has also had some of his best games on the biggest stage, including the Super Bowl.
As you might expect, Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald tops PFF’s ranking. Obviously, Mahomes and Kelce are ranked above all others in their positions. Hill is behind wide receivers Davante Adams of the Green Bay Packers (5th) and DeAndre Hopkins of the Arizona Cardinals (17th) — while among defensive tackles, Jones is next behind Donald.
You can argue about these specific rankings — but it’s noteworthy that in this top 50 list, the Chiefs have four in the top 20. So do the Green Bay Packers: Adams, quarterback Aaron Rodgers (10th), cornerback Jaire Alexander (14th) and left tackle Davis Bahktiari (15th). Meanwhile, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have just one: quarterback Tom Brady (7th). In fact, Tampa Bay has just one more player among the top 50: linebacker Lavonte David (49th).
So based on PFF star power, the Chiefs appear to the class of the AFC, while the Packers seem to top the NFC. And the Buccaneers’ fortunes would seem to be tied to their aging quarterback. That seems about right.