There are seven games in the books — and 10 more to go. While we may not be right at the halfway mark of the 2021 regular season, the Kansas City Chiefs are taking their bye week in Week 8, so it's a good time to dish out some midseason awards.
The Arrowhead Pride writing staff members each had one vote for our seven midseason awards. There are 11 contributors, so there will be 11 votes tallied for each award. In this post, we'll reveal our best defensive player to this point of the season.
DT CHRIS JONES
VOTING: DT Chris Jones (8), LB Nick Bolton (2), CB L'Jarius Sneed (1)
Kansas City defensive tackle Chris Jones hasn't only been the best pass rusher on the Chiefs' defense every season for the last half of a decade; he's also consistently been the best defensive player on the field. Like tight end Travis Kelce on the offensive side of the ball, Jones is the one position player on the Chiefs' defense that you have to scheme for in order to attempt to limit his success.
Here's the thing: everything opposing offensive coordinators do to try to stop Jones is typically done in vain. Through seven games this season, Jones has been an unstoppable force that tears through opposing offensive lines like a grizzly bear playing "Red Rover" against a group of mannequins. He is No. 1 in the league in pass rush win rate (23%), fifth in quarterback pressures (18), third in batted passes (3) and fourth in sacks with (*6).
Here is the crazy part: he is doing all this while being doubled-teamed over 60% of the time.
Presenting these numbers, it's no wonder that Jones is currently the highest-graded player on Pro Football Focus, with a grade of 92.9. He's the only defensive player in the NFL with an 80-plus grade in both pass rush and run defense.
Over the last couple of seasons, the one area of Jones' game that could use improvement has been his missed tackle percentage: he missed 20.0% of his tackles in 2020 and 12.1% of them in 2021. But this season, he has cut that number down to 7.1%.
Numbers only tell part of the story of the importance that Jones plays on this defense, he is a vocal leader both on and off the field that can regularly be seen on the sideline imploring the Chiefs fans to get louder during crucial points of the game. It's not often that a player who carries a $29 million cap hit feels like he is worth the money, but, so far this season, Jones is worth every penny.
*We're counting the horrible roughing the passer call from the Las Vegas Raiders game as a sack.
Who is your bye-week defensive player of the year?
This poll is closed