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3 Chiefs named to PFWA All-Rookie team

It’s another indicator that Kansas City drafted well in 2021.

Las Vegas Raiders v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images

The Pro Football Writers of America released its NFL All-Rookie team roster on Tuesday.

While Dallas Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons and Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase won the big honors, three Kansas City Chiefs made the 2021 All-Rookie team: center Creed Humphrey, left guard Trey Smith and linebacker Nick Bolton.

Selected in the second round (63rd overall) in last spring’s NFL Draft, Humphrey is already among the league’s top centers. His Pro Football Focus overall grade of 92.2 for the season easily topped all centers — and ranked fourth among all offensive linemen. The Oklahoma product was also reliable, starting every game of his rookie season and missing just 10 offensive snaps — and committing only four penalties — over 17 regular-season games.

Also taken in the second round (five spots before Humphrey), Bolton started a dozen regular-season games in 2021 — but was on the field for only 56% of the team’s defensive snaps. Still, he led the team in total tackles (112), solo tackles (70), tackle assists (42) and tackles for loss (11). The former Missouri star also collected three quarterback hits and three passes defensed — and made one of the season’s biggest defensive plays when he recovered a fumble and returned it 86 yards for a touchdown during the fourth quarter of the season-ending game against the Denver Broncos, playing a big role in preserving the team’s second postseason seed. His overall PFF defensive grade of 70.7 is second only to Parsons among rookie linebackers, fifth among all rookie defenders and ninth among all linebackers.

Immediately upon being drafted in the sixth round (226th overall), Smith was seen by many as one of the biggest steals of the draft. During his rookie season, the former Tennessee offensive lineman has only reinforced that perception, starting all 17 regular-season games and becoming the only Kansas City player to be on the field for every offensive or defensive snap (not to mention 20% of the special-teams snaps) while committing only nine penalties. His overall PFF grade of 72.2 ranks first among rookie guards, fourth among rookie offensive linemen and 14th among all guards.

With three of their six draft selections making this list of the NFL’s 27 best rookies, it’s pretty clear that the Chiefs had an exceptional draft last April — and these players, at least, should be among the team’s anchors for years to come.

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