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Pro Football Focus names Chiefs’ most improved player for 2021

Cornerback Charvarius Ward recorded 67 tackles, 10 passes defensed and two interceptions this past season.

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AFC Wild Card Playoffs - Pittsburgh Steelers v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

The football analytics website Pro Football Focus has named the Kansas City Chiefs’ most improved player for the 2021 season: it’s cornerback Charvarius Ward.

Here’s what PFF writer Anthony Treash had to say about Ward:

PFF Grade change from 2020 to 2021: 64.3 → 71.2 (+6.9)

Ward was picked on more in 2021 than in any other season of his career — he was targeted on 17.9% of his coverage snaps, the 14th-highest rate among NFL corners. Despite that, Ward held his own and recorded a career-high PFF grade. He generated 0.37 PFF WAR, which ranked 16th among NFL corners and was over seventh-tenths more than his previous career-best.

As recently discussed on these pages, an interesting point to watch for the Chiefs is how they will handle Ward, who will become an unrestricted free agent this offseason. His strong fit in Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s scheme led to 56 regular-season games, including 43 starts, over his last four years in Kansas City. That’s not so bad for a “fringe” player the Chiefs acquired at the end of 2018’s training camp in exchange for offensive lineman Parker Ehinger.

“Charvarius has done a nice job for us,” said general manager Brett Veach during his season wrap. “He’s another guy you throw in that mix of the guys that are up that we’d like to talk with. I thought he has progressed every season, and our staff has done a great job with Charvarius.”

Whether the Chiefs retain Ward will depend on his market value, which he is likely to have an opportunity to test. The Chiefs have many defensive positions to address this offseason.

Around the AFC West: PFF named Denver Broncos center Lloyd Cushenberry III, Las Vegas Raiders pass rusher Maxx Crosby and Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert as those teams’ respective most improved players.


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