August 25, 2021, the first AP Poll of the season dropped and the defending national champions, Alabama, sat there at No. 1 with dreams of a repeat dancing around. Their conference foe, Georgia, debuted at No. 5 with big-dance aspirations of their own. After a 10-3 victory over then No.3 Clemson in Week 1, the Bulldogs were catapulted into the second slot right behind Alabama. Those were the best two teams in the nation according to the rankings for over a month until the Crimson Tide stumbled against Texas A&M. Georgia laid claim to the No. 1 ranking in the country and stayed right there until they were dethroned by, you guessed it, Alabama in the SEC Championship.
After 15 weeks and two respective playoff games, the only two teams to be ranked No.1 will all season long will meet for the second time in almost a month to determine who is the undisputed champion of college football. Seeing how this story finally closes after the dust settles is enough to tune in but there are players across the board who will be gracing NFL fields on Sundays next season. Quite a few should be on the Chiefs radar so let’s dive into the ones who will be competing this Monday. We will maintain our focus on the prospects who are realistically in Kansas City’s draft range so no Evan Neal (Alabama OT) or Jordan Davis (Georgia DL).
Jameson Williams - Wide Receiver
The Crimson Tide just keep cranking out these first-round receivers. To be fair, Williams spent the first two seasons of his career in Columbus, Ohio but when his name is inevitably called on draft night, the commissioner will say “From the University of Alabama”. It is possible - likely actually - that Williams will be before the Chiefs have a chance. However, if anything is certain about the NFL draft, it is it’s unpredictability.
Jordan Battle - Safety
The safety spot is going to be an intriguing one to keep an eye on this offseason. With Tyrann Mathieu’s contract expiring, a decision on what is next for the Honey Badger is still looming. Dan Sorenson is also set to hit free agency if not re-signed so depth pieces are a must anyway. Battle is a veteran of the ‘Bama secondary and is NFL-ready. He brings versatility along with an aptitude for playmaking.
Christian Harris - Linebacker
The nickel linebacker has been debated recently and with the Chiefs current personnel, Christian Harris might be a prospect Brett Veach is closely watching. Harris is a great athlete who excels in coverage but isn’t a liability when stopping the run. He fits in with Coach Spagnuolo’s scheme plus has that type of football pedigree you often find in champion-caliber players.
Henry To’o To’o - Linebacker
Here is another one to watch who could play in the Chiefs nickel set. To’o To’o is a transfer from Tennessee but has become an impact player for Nick Saban’s defense. He has recorded over 100 tackles this season and is a high-energy player. He has special teams ability as well so he has plenty of value.
Phidarian Mathis - Defensive Line
The defensive line is talented and deep in Kansas City but two of its more important pieces are pending free agents. Jarran Reed and Derrick Nnadi are each in need of new contracts for 2022 so depending on where money is allocated, the defensive trenches could be on the list of team needs. Phidarian Mathis is a force at 6’4 and 315 pounds who has disrupted the line-of-scrimmage all season long.
Travon Walker - EDGE
The Chiefs like to move their defensive lineman around and Travon Walker can play along any spot. He would be an every-down defensive end for Coach Spags but he has the power and size to rush from the inside in certain packages. He could learn a thing or two from Chris Jones when it comes to hand usage but the raw talent is there.
Nakobe Dean - Linebacker
The best linebacker in the country will be on the field for the Bulldogs as Nakobe Dean will look to add some more hardware to his trophy case. He already has the Butkus Award but now wants a National Championship trophy. Dean is a epitome of a ‘football player’ and makes his presence felt in multiple spots.
George Pickens - Wide Receiver
George Pickens would already be a household name had he not suffered an injury that nearly sank his entire 2021. Pickens has played in three games so far, tallying 55 yards on four catches. His involvement in the game plan for the title game is unclear but he has a unique blend of size, speed, and soft hands.
Nolan Smith - EDGE
There were a lot of high expectations surrounding Nolan Smith when he chose Georgia as his collegiate destination. Not to say he has underwhelmed, but he may get lost at times in such a talented defense. He brings a lot to the table in terms of getting after the quarterback so while he still needs to polish his game up a tad, he still has room to become a starter at the NFL level.
James Cook - Halfback
Some of the most productive ball carriers in the NFL recently are former Bulldogs. Nick Chubb, D’Andre Swift, and Sony Michel all were impact players for their respective teams in 2021 and all three played for Georgia. James Cook has potential to work his way into a starting role himself. He currently shares time with Zamir White who are both NFL-caliber backs.
There are plenty of future NFL starters that will be on the field competing in Indianapolis and the Chiefs could be in play for a number of them. The concentration of talent among these two squads is mind-boggling. Fans of football should be rejoicing as the future is going to be fun, the future just happens to be playing a football game on Monday night.