After winning the Super Bowl in February, the Kansas City Chiefs have had to make some difficult decisions — whether that’s letting a key contributor walk in free agency or releasing a veteran team leader like Frank Clark.
These are moves that successful franchises have to make in order to stay successful, but they also have to draft well and find talent on the cheap. According to a recent Pro Football Focus prediction, KC general manager Brett Veach has done that heading into 2023.
PFF’s Jim Wyman detailed the site’s “All-Breakout Team” for the upcoming season, and two key Chiefs pieces made the list — wide receiver Kadarius Toney and cornerback Trent McDuffie. The former was acquired for far less than his original draft status in a trade with the New York Giants, while the latter was traded up for in round one of the 2022 NFL Draft. And both should be integral toward Veach’s plans moving forward.
Chiefs WR Kadarius Toney & CB Trent McDuffie Make PFF’s All-Breakout Team in 2023
Toney was one of three wideouts to make the roster, as Wyman chose to “reflect the way the modern NFL is played” with a three-WR set and a nickel CB look on defense. The other two were Drake London and Christian Watson, of the Atlanta Falcons and Green Bay Packers.
“With all the noise surrounding Toney’s departure from the New York Giants and his Super Bowl run with the Chiefs, it’s hard to believe he’s entering just his third season in the NFL,” the PFF analyst noted. “Toney wasn’t able to make it work in New York, but he seemed to be more at home in Andy Reid’s offense, as he put up an 80.4 receiving grade in his limited time with the Chiefs.”
“With a lack of high-end receiving options in Kansas City and a full offseason to get acclimated to the system, Toney could be in for a big year,” Wyman voiced.
“While seventh-rounder Jaylen Watson received a lot of attention for his explosive plays as a rookie, McDuffie was quietly the more reliable rookie corner for the Chiefs amidst their Super Bowl run,” Wyman explained while talking about the 22-year-old defensive back.
“After returning from a hamstring injury that knocked him out of action for six weeks, McDuffie started every game and put up a 74.9 defensive grade and 75.1 coverage grade,” he went on. “McDuffie’s versatility to play both outside and in the slot (536 snaps outside vs 247 as a slot corner) will make him a valuable member of the secondary as the Chiefs attempt to defend their Super Bowl title.”
Health Will Be Key for Potential Chiefs’ Breakouts Kadarius Toney & Trent McDuffie
Needless to say, health will be paramount to both their chances of making good on Wyman’s offseason prediction. Ironically, the hamstring is the greatest concern for each.
That’s the muscle that kept McDuffie out from Week 2 through 7 in 2022, and it’s also the muscle that has flared up on Toney numerous times throughout his early NFL career. So, keeping those hammys loose will be priority number one around Chiefs camp this summer.
If Toney and McDuffie manage to stay healthy, it’s hard to envision a world where either of them totally flops on the field. The talent is clear as day for each prospect, and having pieces around them like Andy Reid, Patrick Mahomes II and Steve Spagnuolo certainly helps their chances.