There are nine games in the books — with eight more to go. The Kansas City Chiefs are taking their bye week in Week 10, 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 17 contributors voting, so there will be 17 votes tallied for each award. In this post, we’ll reveal our best defensive player to this point of the season.
CB TRENT McDUFFIE
VOTING: CB Trent McDuffie (12), DT Chris Jones (2), LB Drue Tranquill (2), DE George Karlaftis (1)
The 2023 Kansas City Chiefs are a markedly different version of the team than fans have recently become accustomed to seeing. The team’s defense has helped carry the team to its 7-2 record at the bye week, and cornerback Trent McDuffie’s standout play in the secondary is a major factor in the team’s defensive resurgence.
The second-year cornerback out of Washington has elevated his play this season to become one of the top defensive backs across the NFL. McDuffie currently has 50 total tackles (third in the NFL among cornerbacks) on the season. He has also delivered for the Chiefs in creating turnovers, forcing four fumbles (tied for the league lead across all position groups).
McDuffie has rebounded from a strong rookie season, albeit one in which he missed six games due to a hamstring strain, to become a lockdown cornerback. According to Pro Football Focus, in 315 coverage snaps this season, he has allowed only one touchdown. He currently leads the Chiefs’ defense in solo tackles (40) and turnovers created (4) at the bye week.
Along with the honors of being Arrowhead Pride’s Defensive Player of the Year at the bye, he is graded as one of the most elite defensive backs in the NFL, and was named to PFF’s Midseason All-Pro Team this week. In just his second NFL season, McDuffie has a legitimate chance to earn All-Pro honors at the conclusion of the season, should his strong play continue.
In addition to his consistency throughout the season, McDuffie continues to improve and might just be warming up. He is coming off one of his best games as a pro. In Week 9 against the Miami Dolphins, McDuffie had 10 total tackles and helped hold the vaunted Dolphins’ offense to under 200 yards passing. He also had a forced fumble (of former Chiefs’ wide receiver Tyreek Hill), resulting in the scoop—lateral—defensive touchdown, which is the Chiefs’ highlight at the halfway point of the season.
McDuffie has developed into a true leader in the young Chiefs’ secondary. His strong play has helped the Chiefs’ defense to undoubtedly become the best of the Andy Reid era. The team defense is currently ranked fourth in total yards allowed, fourth in passing yards allowed, and second in scoring.
McDuffie’s game-changing ability to create turnovers, as well as his knack for locking down receivers from the slot or on the outside, has been a major factor in the Chiefs’ defensive success. He has evolved into an elite cornerback, one the Chiefs can count on, with tough receiver matchups looming for the remainder of the season.
Who is the Chiefs’ best defensive player at the bye week?
This poll is closed