2022 is a unique year for Kansas City Chiefs safety Juan Thornhill. Why? Because it marks the first year since he entered the NFL that he has undergone the entire offseason fully healthy.
As a second-round pick in 2019, Thornhill had a strong rookie campaign before he was placed on injured reserve following Kansas City’s Week 17 game against the then-San Diego Chargers due to a torn anterior cruciate ligament. He then spent the entire 2020 offseason rehabbing back from that injury. So, the 2022 offseason was the first in which Thornhill was able to participate in the Chiefs’ offseason program with no physical ailments.
Being healthy for the entirety of the offseason has Thornhill confident about what’s to come in Year 3. So much so that he has made a bold prediction regarding his expectations for the 2022 season.
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Thornhill Predicts All-Pro Season for Himself
Speaking to the media after Day 1 of mandatory minicamp in Kansas City, Thornhill was asked how it feels to be fully healthy and what he expects from himself moving forward.
“I’m having an All-Pro season. I’m putting that out there,” he said on June 14.
This prediction made by Thornhill falls in line with a series of Tweets he posted in May, which expressed how good he feels this offseason.
With Tyrann Mathieu and Dan Sorensen no longer with the Chiefs, Thornhill is projected to be a starter alongside Justin Reid in Kansas City’s secondary next season. If Thornhill is able to capitalize on the starting opportunity by producing at a high level, then earning All-Pro status isn’t out of the realm of possibility, although it is a rather tall feat for the third-year defender.
Jerick McKinnon Re-Signs With Chiefs
In other Chiefs-related news: Veteran running back Jerick McKinnon has re-signed with the Chiefs on a one-year deal, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler on June 13.
After a strong 2017 campaign in Minnesota in which McKinnon accumulated 991 yards from scrimmage as a change-of-pace back, he signed a four-year, $30 million deal with the San Francisco 49ers in March of 2018, per Pro Football Reference.
Several injuries forced McKinnon to be sidelined from September of 2018 until 2020, which is when he played his final season with the 49ers. That season, he registered 572 yards from scrimmage and six total touchdowns.
The Chiefs first united with McKinnon in 2021, when Kansas City signed him to a one-year deal on May 1. He wouldn’t see much action during the first month of the 2022 regular season but saw an increased role when Clyde Edwards-Helaire landed on injured reserve in October. He finished the regular season with 169 yards from scrimmage and 1 receiving touchdown in 13 games played.
McKinnon Led Chiefs Backfield During Playoff Run
McKinnon’s role further increased during the playoffs, when he accumulated 150 rushing yards on 34 rushing attempts (4.4 yards per carry) and caught 14 passes on 17 targets for 165 receiving yards in three games for Kansas City.
His best game during the playoff run was during the Wild Card Round against the Pittsburgh Steelers when McKinnon caught six passes on six targets for 81 yards and 1 receiving touchdown and added another 61 rushing yards on 12 rushing attempts.
McKinnon, 30, re-joins a Kansas City backfield in 2022 that includes Edwards-Helaire, Ronald Jones II, Derrick Gore, Isiah Pacheco, and Tayon Fleet-Davis.
The presence of CEH and Gore on the roster, bundled with the additions of Jones, Pacheco, and Fleet-Davis this offseason makes McKinnon’s role for the Chiefs offense moving forward murky. That’s mainly because he will have to compete for a spot on the roster this summer before he can even try to earn a role offensively come the regular season.
However, in the event that he does manage to make Kansas City’s 53-man roster, McKinnon will likely slot into a role similar to what he had early in the 2021 season: a receiving back with a very limited workload.