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Chiefs’ young linebacker unit breaks into top 10 in PFF rankings

The Chiefs’ top two linebackers are 22 (Bolton) and 24 (Gay), yet Pro Football Focus finds the Chiefs to be among the top 10 units in the league.

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NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

On Tuesday, the football analytics site Pro Football Focus continued with its offseason series ranking NFL players. Arguably, in somewhat of a surprise, PFF’s Seth Galina ranked Kansas City’s young linebacker corps among the top 10 units in the league.

Unlike previous position rankings for PFF, the linebacker list did not include a tier system. Instead, it was a straight list of the 32 teams.

Let’s go to Galina’s commentary on the Chiefs:

9. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS

A position of concern and potential weakness heading into last season has become a real strength for Kansas City. Nick Bolton and Willie Gay are two young linebackers who came on strong last season. Bolton, then a rookie, produced one of the highest individual grades for a linebacker. Gay hasn’t graded as well but possesses the characteristics to become a top linebacker.

Takeaway

Maybe the top 10 breakthrough for Kansas City’s linebackers from PFF is to be expected, considering the publication had Bolton at No. 15 in its individual rankings in the NFL in late May.

Folks in Kansas City are high on the 2022 outlook for the tandem of the 22-year-old Bolton and the 24-year-old Gay, but this confirms they are garnering a bit of national attention, too.

With veteran Anthony Hitchens out of the mix, Bolton will take over the MIKE for the Chiefs, and the limited experience he received wearing the green dot in 2021 should help in that transition. As Gay zones in on the WILL position, look for veterans Elijah Lee or Jermaine Carter — or rookie Leo Chenal — to work in at SAM in the base on early-down looks.

I’m high on both Bolton and Gay and the promise of the other linebackers in the room, but, to be fair, the ninth-place ranking feels a little high for me right now.

What do you think?

Poll

How do you feel about PFF’s ranking of the Kansas City linebackers?

This poll is closed

  • 14%
    Too low
    (248 votes)
  • 15%
    Too high
    (263 votes)
  • 69%
    Just right
    (1165 votes)
1676 votes total Vote Now