One of the National Football League’s preseason traditions — the annual unveiling of the NFL Top 100, which is a ranking of the league’s best players as voted on by their peers — is now underway. So far, the identities of the players ranked from 100th through 41st have been announced on NFL.com — and one of the first 60 is a member of the Kansas City Chiefs.
58. Tyrann Mathieu • FS • Kansas City Chiefs
Pop quiz: Which 2020 All-Pro safety is the only player to record at least 100 tackles and 10 picks since 2019? Yup, that’s right: none other than Mathieu himself, who tallied 62 tackles and a career-best six picks in 2020. This stat not only encapsulates the Honey Badger’s vaunted versatility, but it also showcases the two-time Pro Bowler’s incredible value to the Chiefs. Don’t let a 19-spot slide distract from the fact that Mathieu brought the heat every week, whether it was lining up as a slot corner, in the box or at free safety.
Mathieu’s presence in this list is not surprising — but the fact that he fell 19 spots from his 2020 ranking is a bit mysterious. Last season, he notched his third selection as a first-team All-Pro — his second consecutive year as a member of the Chiefs — and made the Pro Bowl for the first time since his 2015 season with the Arizona Cardinals.
But it’s also true that under certain metrics — such as those published by Pro Football Focus — Mathieu is undervalued. Who knows? Perhaps NFL players pay more attention to PFF stats and grades than we realize. In any case, his leadership skills allow Mathieu to remain one of the most valuable players on the Chiefs’ defense.