Until the 2020 season officially starts on September 5th, the Kansas City Chiefs are your Super Bowl Champions. After a 50 year drought, the Chiefs finally managed their way back to the big game and won their second Super Bowl title after going 12-4.
2019 was a season of controversy as franchise quarterback Patrick Mahomes dealt with injuries early on in the season, inconsistent offensive line play, and a string of comeback wins in the playoffs left fans on the edge of their seats until the very end. However, it is time to look forward to this coming NFL season and hand out some hardware to the players that I think will make a difference for the 2020 Kansas City Chiefs and keep them atop the AFC West.
MVP: Patrick Mahomes
Mahomes is easily the most valuable player on this roster and could even make his case once again for MVP of the entire NFL. Mahomes is coming off a 2019 season that saw him hobbled with a nagging ankle injury through the majority of the first half of the season, and a dislocated kneecap put the finishing touch on a rough first half of the season. Even with these injuries, Mahomes still put up performances that kept him in the MVP talks late in the season and tallied 4,031 yards and 26 touchdowns to five interceptions.
With an offseason to rest and recover, and on offense that has reloaded, Mahomes could once again put up some crazy numbers. His ability to extend plays outside the pocket, along with his developments inside the pocket, is what makes Mahomes such a highly-touted quarterback. If he continues to make incremental improvements this offseason, Mahomes could be in the running for another league MVP title and help bring the Chiefs another Lombardi Trophy.
Offensive Player of the Year: Tyreek Hill
Besides Mahomes, Hill is likely the most dominant weapon on the Chiefs offense. Speed is a massive bonus with Hill, and his ability to vertically stretch and get behind a defense is top-notch. However, the past two seasons have showcased a more polished route runner and a player with the capabilities to serve multiple roles in the Chiefs’ offense.
Hill missed four games in 2019 due to a shoulder injury during the earlier parts of the season. Give Hill another full season working with Mahomes, and the numbers that this duo could put up would resemble that of 2018 where Mahomes surpassed 5,000 yards passing, and Hill fell just short of 1,500 receiving yards. Hill defines the phrase “speed kills,” and his ability to pull away from defenders is incredible to watch. If Hill stays healthy, he could return to his 2018 ways.
Defensive Player of the Year: Tyrann Mathieu
When looking for the piece that will make this defense work in 2020, look no further than Mathieu. In 2019 Mathieu led the Chiefs defense in interceptions, passes defended, and solo tackles. Mathieu also put up two sacks and three tackles for loss for good measure. Steve Spagnuolo moved him all over the formation last season, where Mathieu saw snaps playing high safety, shadowing tight ends, dropping down into the nickel position, and serving as a box safety. There wasn’t much that Mathieu didn’t do.
2020 should be an interesting one for the Chiefs defensive backfield. With a shortage of talent, the stars will have to step up on defense, and Mathieu will likely once again be asked to serve multiple roles and will be a big part of why this defense stays in the top half of the league in 2020.
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Clyde Edwards-Helaire
Edwards-Helaire put up big numbers in his final season for the LSU Tigers in their championship-winning season. He totaled 1,867 yards from scrimmage paired with 17 total touchdowns. Edwards-Helaire averaged 6.6 yards per carry and was also efficient through the air putting up 453 receiving yards. This kind of versatility made the Chiefs use their first-round draft pick on the LSU running back.
While Damien Williams has had late-season heroics over the past couple of seasons, Edwards-Helaire brings with him a consistency that the Chiefs backfield has seemed to lack recently. He should be taking a majority of the snaps as he is an excellent three-down running back. Edwards-Helaire could flirt with 1,500 yards from scrimmage and around 17 total touchdowns in his rookie season with the Chiefs.
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Willie Gay, Jr.
Gay likely will be the only rookie on the Chiefs defense that sees a considerable amount of snaps in 2020. After three seasons at Mississippi State, Gay had racked up 99 tackles and six sacks, which isn’t bad considering he missed nine games in 2019 due to suspension. While the Chiefs did take a calculated risk in drafting a player with potential character concerns, the Chiefs organization could not be a better place right now for a player trying to regain his footing.
Gay also brings a lot of talent to a linebacker room, which needed another playmaker. Gay brings speed and an ability to get after the quarterback in blitz packages and defend against the run. Spagnuolo loves to have guys who he can move all around the formation, so look for Gay to potentially be that player in 2020 for the Chiefs defense. Gay also joins Anthony Hitchens and Damien Wilson, who should make a solid linebacker trio for the Chiefs.
Biggest Surprise: Taco Charlton
Charlton will be entering his fourth NFL season in 2020, playing for his third NFL team. This isn’t a good look for the former first-rounder as his first three years have been disappointments. However, there isn’t a better team that could help a potential draft bust turn around his career. Spagnuolo’s defense is all about getting after the quarterback, and Charlton is a prototypical Spags defensive end.
On top of this, Charlton will be around a talented defensive line room with the likes of Frank Clark, Chris Jones, and Alex Okafor. Charlton will most likely serve as a rotational defender for most of the year. If healthy all season, Charlton has the potential to be a star and could prove the doubters wrong and put up seven to nine sacks in 2020.
Biggest Disappointment: Darwin Thompson
Thompson showed some flashes in 2019 after the Chiefs took him in the sixth round of the 2019 NFL Draft. Unfortunately for Thompson, he most likely will be limited once again in 2020 and will be fighting for the final roster spots at the running back position. With the Edwards-Helaire pick and the signing of DeAndre Washington, Thompson’s impact will only lessen as he starts to get buried on the Chiefs roster.
In 2019 Thompson saw ten percent of the offensive snaps for 37 rushes and 128 yards. I, for one, really like the potential of Thompson, and the value of picking him up in the sixth round was off the charts. Fans saw the flashes from Thompson early and called for him to get more touches. Unfortunately, 2020 will likely be no different for Thompson unless the Chiefs exercise a potential trade with running back Williams.
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