Chiefs are in class of their own in AFC after draft
The Kansas City Chiefs have enjoyed a terrific offseason, putting them in position to make history come the 2021 NFL season.
Only three teams have ever reached three straight Super Bowls. The Kansas City Chiefs appear poised to become the fourth.
Kansas City entered the offseason fresh off a 31-9 humbling at the hands of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl LV. The Chiefs watched as superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes played behind a battered offensive line and was pummeled as a result.
In both free agency, the trade market and the draft, it became clear general manager Brett Veach wasn’t going to watch that unfold again in 2021.
The Chiefs spent lavishly on guard Joe Thuney on the opening day of free agency’s tampering period, giving him a record-setting five-year, $80 million deal. Kansas City also locked up veteran guard Kyle Long on a one-year deal as he comes out of retirement, while guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif and right tackle Lucas Niang are returning from their COVID-19 opt-outs.
Then Veach went great guns over the past two weeks.
First, the Chiefs traded this year’s first, third and fourth-round picks, along with a 2022 fifth-round selection, to the Baltimore Ravens in exchange for left tackle Orlando Brown, a second-round choice and a ’22 sixth-rounder. Brown, 25, is a two-time Pro Bowler who didn’t allow a sack last year in more than 800 snaps as a left tackle in 2020.
In the draft, Veach found both quality and value along the line. The Chiefs landed second-round center Creed Humphrey out of Oklahoma, the top pivot man by many estimations in the class. Kansas City also took Tennessee guard Trey Smith in the sixth round, who fell for medical reasons but plays like a first or second-round talent.
All told, Kansas City now has one of the best and deepest lines in the league. What was the obvious issue for the Chiefs last year and even at times in their championship campaign of 2019 is now a clear strength.
The odds in Vegas show just how impenetrable Kansas City appears in the AFC. The Chiefs are +225 to win the conference, while the Buffalo Bills (+500) and Baltimore Ravens (+600) are the top challengers. Overall, Kansas City is +550 to win it all, with the Green Bay Packers (+900) and Buccaneers (+1000) round out the top three.
The Chiefs aren’t the perfect team. They could use another edge rusher, a cornerback for depth and better linebackers.
But they’re the closest to perfect there is in the AFC (at the worst), and that could mean history this season.