32. Kansas City Chiefs: Edge Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan
The Kansas City Chiefs already had questions regarding their pass rush prior to news of Frank Clark’s pending legal issues.
According to the Kansas City Star’s Herbie Teope, Clark faces one felony account of possession of an assault weapon after a June 20 arrest in Los Angeles.
Clark’s status for the 2021 campaign is now inconsequential. The Chiefs must operate as if he won’t be available.
With that situation still under investigation, Kansas City heads into next offseason without an established edge-rusher on the roster. Mike Danna, Taco Charlton and Tim Ward combined to make 5.5 sacks last season.
Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson is a prototypical defensive end. A broken leg cut last season short for the 6’6”, 269-pound defender. But Hutchinson is a true three-down lineman with the power to consistently hold the point of attack and work through tackles in their pass set.
The Chiefs must wait to solve their edge problems, yet they should have the opportunity to do so with Hutchinson being a much-needed option.
Rookie Joshua Kaindoh also has struggled with injuries that have thwarted his considerable potential.
The fourth-round pick out of Florida State is 6-7 and 265 pounds with good strength, length and speed, and Rivals.com ranked him as the best high school defensive end in the country in 2017.
His freshman year at FSU — when he had four sacks — was his best season, but he then suffered a hamstring injury in 2018, a season-ending ankle injury in 2019 and a knee injury in 2020. As a result, he has just one sack the last two years.
Kansas City Chiefs: The Offensive Line’s Starting Five
The Kansas City Chiefs made it back to the Super Bowl in 2020 but were ultimately overmatched by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The biggest issue in Super Bowl LV was Kansas City’s inability to slow the pass rush.
Not having starting tackles Mitchell Schwartz and Eric Fisher may have had a little something to do with that.
Kansas City is looking to revamp its offensive line this offseason, ideally to avoid a repeat of the Super Bowl. Schwartz and Fisher are both gone, and the Chiefs added Orlando Brown Jr., Joe Thuney, Kyle Long, Austin Blythe and rookie Creed Humphrey over the past few months.
While the new additions make the offensive line appear better, the Chiefs still have the tough task of assembling a functional starting five. Sorting out the offensive line will be a training-camp priority and an important step ahead of Week 1.
Kansas City is set to open against Cleveland and the pass-rushing tandem of Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney.
Quarterback: Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs.
Running back: Josh Jacobs, Las Vegas Raiders.
Wide receivers: Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers; Tyreek Hill, Chiefs.
Tight ends: Travis Kelce, Chiefs; Darren Waller, Raiders.
Left tackle: Orlando Brown, Chiefs.
Left guard: Joe Thuney, Chiefs.
Center: Corey Linsley, Chargers.
Right guard: Graham Glasgow, Denver Broncos.
Right tackle: Bryan Bulaga, Chargers.
Thoughts on the offense:
I had to go with two tight ends. Both Kelce and Waller deserve to be on this team as they are elite at the position. The left tackle group in this division is very strong and I considered Kolton Miller, but Brown gets the nod. I think right guard is the weakest group in this division. And, yes, the quarterback pick was a no-brainer.
As Mahomes walked up the fairway, a patron of the event said, “watch out for Justin Herbert next year.”
The former league MVP quickly responded, “I’ll see it when I believe it.” He had the phrase backwards, but it was clear what he meant.
Despite the fact that Baltimore and Tennessee find themselves in the second tier, they could both prove to be premier AFC foes for the Chiefs. The Patrick Mahomes-Lamar Jackson rivalry hasn’t gone the Ravens’ way thus far but with an offense chock full of weapons, they’ll look to establish themselves as a serious threat. How the pieces fit together will be worth watching as the season unfolds.
Speaking of pieces, Tennessee added a fantastic one this offseason in Julio Jones. They also responded to some roster turnover on defense with a flurry of additions. It will take some time before the new-look team jells together but if it does, it boasts quite the ceiling. The Titans will go as far as quarterback Ryan Tannehill takes them.
One of the issues for the Chiefs is that they don’t have close to the secondary talent to account for all of the Broncos’ playmakers. The Broncos’ offense will have much more challenging defenses to face in the 2021 season, so there’s no reason to be scared of the Chiefs, especially their eh defense.
Sure, they have some great players like Chris Jones and Tyrann Mathieu, but they can only do so much.
Continuing on, not only do the Broncos have elite weapons in the passing game, their rushing attack is quite formidable. In 2020, the Chiefs were just 21st in the league in rushing defense, allowing 122.1 yards per game.
If you couple that with the addition of Javonte Williams to the Broncos’ backfield to pair with Melvin Gordon, the Broncos have the ‘dudes’ to run all over the Chiefs’ milquetoast defense.
Around the NFL
NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported that, as of today, seven teams are above the 85% threshold for player vaccinations, per a source informed of the situation.
Teams above the threshold will have fewer restrictions once camps open. Pelissero added that 70% of players league-wide have had at least one shot.
Two weeks ahead of most training camp reporting dates, Monday was the deadline for players to get their second shot (or a single shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine) to clear the window to be considered fully vaccinated.
The Washington Football Team, which is choosing a new nickname and logo that depart from any “linkage to Native American imagery,” will not consider “Warriors” as an option, team president Jason Wright wrote Monday.
Wright made the announcement in his “weekly brief” posted on the team’s website, citing the team’s “inclusive process to listen to all voices” with a “particular emphasis to engaging, listening and learning from Native American leaders and individuals throughout the country.”
Yes, the Broncos have some interesting offensive skill position players and a defense that could easily be a top 10 unit this year, but their ceiling is capped with what they currently have at the quarterback position. Right now, Denver is gearing up for a training camp battle between 2020 starter Drew Lock and veteran Teddy Bridgewater. No matter who comes out on top and wins the starter job, it doesn’t really change my opinion on whether this team can be a viable threat in the AFC. Again, if Rodgers ends up at Mile High, it’s a totally different ballgame. But as this roster is currently constructed — particularly at quarterback — it’s hard to have much faith that the Broncos will be able to live up to some of these lofty odds that have been placed on them.
In case you missed it at Arrowhead Pride
1. Chiefs offensive linemen Orlando Brown, Joe Thuney, Kyle Long, Austin Blythe, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, and Creed Humphrey
You watched the Super Bowl, right? Remember how Patrick Mahomes was running for his life? These guys are in charge of making sure that doesn’t happen again. It’s tough to imagine any players on new teams being responsible for something more important than that.
For some of his choices, Dubin wrote multiple paragraphs. But he reserved his simplest argument for the top of his list.
And why not? Considering that the performance of the Kansas City offensive line has essentially become the main narrative surrounding Super Bowl LV, it’s hard to imagine a larger, more visible group of new players anywhere in the league — and since the Chiefs are almost universally expected to be the AFC’s top contender for the next Super Bowl, the math isn’t very hard. These offensive linemen will be protecting the league’s top quarterback as he (and his teammates) try to reach their third consecutive league championship.
A tweet to make you think
AFC West odds are here! Which team has the best chance to steal the division from the Chiefs?— Odds Shark (@OddsShark) July 10, 2021
Kansas City Chiefs -250
Denver Broncos +500
Los Angeles Chargers +600
Las Vegas Raiders +1200
(BetOnline)#NFL #NFLTwitter #AFC #SportsBetting #Chiefs #Broncos #Chargers #Raiders
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