A look at the Chiefs’ group of young and talented defensive backs


One of the familiar faces remaining in the Chiefs’ secondary, Thornhill is entering his fourth season with Kansas City in 2022. He appeared in all 17 games last year (12 starts) while recording the third most defensive snap of all team players. (850). He had 64 tackles, three passes defended, one interception and one forced fumble during that span.

Thornhill was terrific as a rookie in 2019, earning a spot on the PFWA All-Rookie Team after the season. He had some bad luck when he tore his ACL in Week 17 of that year, but to his credit, the former second-round pick fought through rehab and came back for the week 1 of the 2020 campaign.

He is now two years out from injury, and at 26 the best could very well be yet to come for Thornhill.

This group includes a handful of players entering camp as undisputed starters, including Sneed, Reid and Thornhill. Many more, however, will fight for a spot on the team. Kansas City has infused an abundance of talent and youth into its secondary this offseason, adding 10 players who weren’t with the organization last season. The reality is that some good players will likely find themselves on the outside following roster cuts due to the volume of competition, which is a good problem to have from a team building perspective.

The Chiefs have retained 10 defensive backs on the active roster in each of the past three years, providing a solid indicator of how many Chiefs can retain for the 2022 season. That leaves room for just over half of that. current group to make the squad, and with several intriguing players in the roster bubble, there should be stiff competition for the final three to four spots.

In terms of specific camp stories to watch, the progression of McDuffie and Cook will be particularly intriguing due to their status as high draft picks. Each of these players will likely have the opportunity to play an important role in defense early on, but it will be up to them to take advantage of it.

Additionally, it’s worth mentioning that defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo often features three safeties at once. Former safety Daniel Sorensen, for example, totaled 699 defensive snaps last season in that role. That means if Justin Reid and Juan Thornhill come into the season as the Chiefs’ starting safeties, there’s plenty of reason to watch whether Bryan Cook – or another player, like Deon Bush – can grab that third safety spot. coveted.

There’s also the matter of replacing the production left behind by former cornerback Charvarius Ward, who was on the field for 751 defensive snaps last season. It’s reasonable to assume that Rashad Fenton and Trent McDuffie are candidates for the role, but it’s also possible that a player like Williams – who has impressed at organized team activities – could earn a few shots. Others – including DeAndre Baker, Lonnie Johnson and Dicaprio Bootle – could also be on board.

Simply put, the Chiefs are showcasing a bunch of talent at defensive back heading into 2022, and although they’re a very young group, it’ll be fun to watch them grow as a unit. during camp.

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