With the additions of players such as Davante Adams, Chandler Jones, Khalil Mack, and Russell Wilson to the AFC West, there’s some pessimism regarding how the defending division champion Kansas City Chiefs will fare in 2022.
While the Chiefs did lose Tyreek Hill and Tyrann Mathieu, they added several playmakers and still have Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, and Chris Jones, to name a few. That’s why players like second-year center Creed Humphrey, PFF’s highest-graded center in the NFL last season, are embracing the increased level of competition in the division heading into the 2022 season.
“Everybody’s added some really good pieces and it’s going to be a blast,” Humphrey told SiriusXM NFL Radio about the AFC West on July 2. “It’s a tough division already and when they’ve added these pieces, it’s just going to be even tougher. That’s fun for us.
“We embrace the competition, so we’re really excited about it. There will be some tough games. But you know if you’re coming out of there, you have a chance to really be able to compete with anybody. So, we’re really excited about it.”
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Even though every other team in the division added high-profile players this offseason, there’s one thing that the Las Vegas Raiders, Los Angeles Chargers, and Denver Broncos don’t have that the Chiefs do: experience from the team’s core players.
Kansas City has made deep playoff runs every season since Mahomes took over as the starting quarterback in 2018. That in turn has not only padded the resumes of the Chiefs’ tenured veterans, but it has also given those players familiarity when it comes to winning the division, making extended playoff runs, and most importantly, winning a Super Bowl. That’s something that none of the other three AFC West teams have.
Because of this, the Chiefs, who are coached by Andy Reid, one of the winningest head coaches in NFL history, should still be the favorite to win the division until proven otherwise.
Report: DE Linked to Chiefs ‘Still Deciding on Best Fit’
Kansas City’s pass rush unit wasn’t what it needed to be last season. During the 2021 season, the Chiefs defense tallied 31 total sacks, which ranked 29th in the entire NFL, per StatMuse.
Defensive tackle Chris Jones (86.7) and defensive end Melvin Ingram (70.6) were the only pass rushers on Kansas City’s roster that graded out above a 70 for pass rush by PFF for the season. Defensive end Frank Clark, one of the highest-paid players in Kansas City, registered 4.5 sacks — his lowest sack total since his rookie season — and didn’t record his first sack until Week 8.
That is why gaining help in the edge rush department was of the utmost importance this offseason for the Chiefs, especially with a young secondary in place.
The team drafted defensive end George Karlaftis with the 30th overall pick this offseason. He will help off the edge in a big way in Kansas City. The defending AFC West champions could, however, still use another edge rusher to put themselves in a position to potentially be elite in that department this upcoming season.
That’s why one NFL insider is suggesting that the Chiefs sign one particular defensive end still on the free agent market ahead of training camp.
Kyed: Chiefs Should Sign Carlos Dunlap
PFF NFL insider Doug Kyed recently named one player that each team in the NFL should sign or trade for before training camp is underway in late July. For the Chiefs, Kyed suggested they sign free agent defensive end Carlos Dunlap.
“The Chiefs lost Melvin Ingram III to the Dolphins in free agency and are currently set to start Frank Clark and rookie George Karlaftis on the edge,” Kyed wrote on June 29. “They could use another rotational rusher, and Dunlap, 33, was efficient for Seattle last season with a 72.1 overall defensive grade, 15.3 percent pass-rush win rate.”
Kyed then dropped a little nugget at the end of his writeup on Dunlap.
“He’s received interest on the open market and is deciding on the best fit,” per a source.