The football analytics site Pro Football Focus has completed publishing its offensive player rankings in advance of the 2023 season. Let’s see which members of the Kansas City Chiefs’ offense PFF has named among the top 32 at their positions.
1. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs
Mahomes is the standard by which all NFL quarterbacks are now measured. With Manning and Brady now names of the past, Mahomes is the new benchmark pushing the boundaries of what we have seen previously. Since coming into the league, he has 191 big-time throws including the postseason, the most in the NFL. He has also passed for 8.1 yards per attempt, a figure only quarterbacks playing for Kyle Shanahan have surpassed over the same span.
Mahomes is the painfully obvious choice. This is the fourth consecutive year that PFF has ranked him as the league’s top quarterback. (Going into 2019 — when he had been named the NFL’s MVP in the previous season — Mahomes was ranked third behind Tom Brady and Drew Brees).
21. Isiah Pacheco, Kansas City Chiefs
A seventh-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, Pacheco had one heck of a rookie season. Not only did he eventually earn the starting running back job, but his numbers were comparable to many other starters in the league. He averaged 4.9 yards per carry thanks to 510 yards after contact. He’s not the type to make defenders miss, as he finished the season with just 17 missed tackles forced. But he runs tough through contact and is the kind of physical presence who can salt away a game (like the Chiefs need, as they often have the lead).
PFF ranked former starting running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire 28th going into the 2021 season but didn't place him among the top 25 for 2022 — so Pacheco making his debut at No. 21 is a nice surprise. That’s especially true since his rookie season was half gone before he became the team’s starter. Right now, there’s no doubt he will once again be the starter in 2023. What’s unclear is when he will be fully recovered from his offseason surgery. Until then, it looks like Edwards-Helaire will be the workhorse.
1. Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs
Kelce has been a dominant force at the position for almost a decade and arguably just had the best season of his career. He and Patrick Mahomes have the best chemistry in the NFL, and Kelce shows no signs of slowing down. His 91.6 receiving grade in 2022 was the best at the position, as were his 25 missed tackles, 39 explosive plays and his 2.24 yards per route run (at least 50 targets).
Yet another no-brainer. Over his 10-year career, Donna Kelce’s second son has had to stand behind players like Rob Gronkowski and George Kittle. But now, he’s finally being recognized as the league’s best tight end — which he’s probably been for quite a while. Now the only question is how long this 33-year-old star can continue to crank out 1,000-yard seasons — and whether he’ll ever be considered the greatest tight end in league history. Right now, few are betting against him.
No Kansas City players listed among top 32
This is not a surprise, right? You’ve probably heard a lot about a certain wideout who was traded to the Dolphins — and that two of Mahomes’ wide receivers from last season have gone elsewhere. Neither of them, however, is on this list of the league’s top 32 wideouts. So why should we care? With his “no-name” wide receiver corps in 2022, Mahomes passed for a career-high 5,250 yards — while leading the league in touchdown passes, touchdown pass percentage and QBR. It would certainly be nice for the team to acquire a “name” wideout... but there’s not a lot of evidence that one is really required. And who knows? Maybe the next one is already on the roster.
24. Jawaan Taylor, Kansas City Chiefs
Taylor’s grading profile is one of the most interesting at the position. He earned a 75.9 PFF pass-blocking grade in 2022 that tied for 30th and a 39.7 PFF run-blocking grade that was the worst among starting offensive tackle.
It’s true. This is interesting. Essentially, Kansas City swapped a left tackle who was better at run blocking than he was at pass blocking for a right tackle who is better at pass blocking than he is at run blocking. Meanwhile, the team’s new left tackle Donovan Smith isn’t on this list after an off year with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But going into 2022, PFF ranked him 24th.
5. Joe Thuney, Kansas City Chiefs
Thuney’s 88.9 PFF pass-blocking grade ranked first in the NFL last season, a deserved mark after he allowed just 20 total pressures from 799 pass-blocking snaps in the regular season and playoffs. He’s yet to have a season with a PFF pass-blocking grade below 70.0 in his seven-year career, and while he’s not an elite run blocker, he’s been more than adequate in that facet, with PFF run-blocking grades between 67.0 and 71.0 in each of the past six seasons.
13. Trey Smith, Kansas City Chiefs
An instant starter for the Chiefs as a sixth-round pick out of Tennessee in 2021, Smith has two really solid seasons to his name in the NFL. Like Meinerz above him on this list, consistency is the one thing lacking from his game. His 2022 campaign included five games with a sub-60.0 PFF grade but six games above 75.0.
No one can argue that the Chiefs don’t have very solid players on the interior of the offensive line. If Smith and Taylor can play well on the outside, then look out — because...
1. Creed Humphrey, Kansas City Chiefs
Humphrey has been in the NFL for two seasons and has earned elite PFF run-blocking grades in both years. He just edged Jason Kelce in PFF grade last season (89.9 to 89.4) and when factoring in age heading into the season, it’s a fair projection to have him above the Eagles great.
There’s no point in getting worked up over two grades that are 0.5 apart; essentially, PFF sees Kelce and Humphrey as equally-skilled players. And since one of them is a five-time All-Pro (and the other is a third-year player taken in the second round), that’s good to see. Humphrey is anchoring what could easily turn out to be the league’s best offensive line in 2023.