On Thursday, Pro Football Focus writer Sam Monson published an article noting the biggest strength (and weakness) for each NFL team. For the Kansas City Chiefs, both choices were in the trenches.
Kansas City Chiefs
Biggest Strength: Offensive Line
Obviously Patrick Mahomes is the strength of this team. Tying him down to a decade-long contract means the Chiefs are perennial contenders, but it feels wrong to ignore just how good of an offensive line they have assembled in front of him. Creed Humphrey was the best-graded center in the NFL as a rookie, with Trey Smith proving to be a steal as a sixth-round pick. Orlando Brown Jr. and Joe Thuney each played well in their first season with the team, making the biggest question mark of the unit right tackle Lucas Niang, whose play was solid across 524 snaps last year.
Biggest Weakness: Edge Rushers
The Chiefs will be hoping this changes with the addition of George Karlaftis in the draft, but the trade for Frank Clark has been disastrous and left them with almost nothing in terms of pressure coming off the edge. Clark hasn’t had a PFF pass-rushing grade above 64.3 since being traded to Kansas City after never falling below that mark in four seasons with Seattle. Melvin Ingram exceeded every Chiefs edge rusher except Clark in pressures last season, and he didn’t arrive on the team until Week 9. Chris Jones was arguably their best edge rusher, and he’s a 310-pound interior lineman.
Choosing Kansas City’s pass rush as the team’s biggest weakness is hardly a surprise; that’s the same answer that would be given by a large number of Chiefs fans. What’s less clear is whether the team feels the same way. Does general manager Brett Veach still have a trick up his sleeve, or is he satisfied with selecting defensive end George Karlaftis in the first round of the draft and making the largest offseason investment he’s ever made in the secondary?
If it’s the former, the next few weeks could be very interesting. If it’s the latter, Veach is making a big gamble — but one that could pay off. It’s not beyond the realm of possibility that an improved group of defensive backs could make a big difference in the effectiveness of the team’s pass rushers.
Monson’s selection of the offensive line as the team’s greatest strength is also solid. It may seem strange — it’s been a while since Kansas City fans could think of the team’s offensive trenches in that way — but Monson isn’t off-base.
You could argue that for the foreseeable future, quarterback Patrick Mahomes is (and will remain) the team’s greatest strength — but if that’s true, putting him behind a top-flight offensive line is a very smart move. And with each passing day, the team’s 2021 efforts to improve the line look better and better.
Ironically, one year ago it would have been reasonable to say that the line was the team’s biggest weakness. That we can now characterize it as the team’s greatest strength is pretty incredible.
How to you feel about PFF’s choices?
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Half right and half wrong
Completely off base