In a draft that saw Kansas City take a running back with their first pick, the Chiefs had an amazing off-season with their additions from the draft.
Due to Kansas City winning the Super Bowl last season, they had the last pick in the first round. With that pick, they took maybe the best running back in the draft in Clyde Edwards-Helaire from LSU. Many thought the selection was a bold move, but it has worked out well for them.
The second rookie selected was Willie Gay Jr, a linebacker from Mississippi State with tremendous potential. While he has not played much, Gay has shown what he can bring to this team in the future as an all-around player. Despite that possible talent, he probably has not played enough to be considered as the Chiefs’ rookie of the year.
At the 96th pick, Kansas City picked new Chief’s rookie Lucas Niang from TCU. Niang is a tackle who has yet to play a game in the NFL. The 6’6″ 22-year-old opted out before the season started due to the pandemic and will not make an appearance this seaso.
Maybe the biggest steal of the draft for Kansas City came in the fourth round at the 138th pick, where Chiefs’ rookie L’Jarius Sneed was selected. The 23-year-old from Louisiana Tech has undoubtedly played outstanding on defense. Sneed is already one of the better defensive backs on this team and will only get better.
Michael Danna and BoPete Keyes were the last two Chiefs rookies selected in the past draft. While Danna has made significant strides this season with some good performances, Keyes has not had a ton of time to prove himself, taking hin out of the Chiefs’ rookie of the year race altogether.
Danna has had some great games as a rookie, including week 14 against Miami. Danna played 39% of defensive snaps in that matchup and finished with a sack and a few quarterback pressures. If Danna had played closer to a full amount of snaps this season, he would have made it a closer race, but because of those limited snaps, he cannot win the Chiefs’ rookie of the year award. The winner has not been a full-time participant all year, but since he has been inserted into the lineup he has definitely left his mark.
Chiefs’ Rookie of the year: L’Jarius Sneed
Sneed has been nothing short of amazing for this Kansas City defense. The fourth-rounder has proven he is in the NFL for a reason and has stepped up to the plate while doing so. Despite not being asked to play a large role until week seven, Sneed has been one of the team’s most productive defenders.
Overall, L’jarius has produced some great numbers in his rookie season. The 6’0″ cornerback has allowed only one touchdown all season, coming last week against Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints. His average completion percentage on the season is at 54%, allowing only 24 completions on 44 targets. The Chiefs’ rookie of the year has also allowed only 216 yards on the season in his eight games.
However, his best game came last week, when Sneed showed out against a good Saints offense. He allowed two completions on eight targets and even had an interception, bringing his pick total to three on the season. Not to mention, Sneed also registered the only sack of the game for Kansas City.
The Chiefs’ star rookie may end up being the steal of the entire draft and will surely be a key piece for this team moving forward. When you have a great veteran on your team like Tyrann Mathieu, one can only expect a young player like Sneed to get better behind a great player like that.
If he can turn into an All-Pro caliber cornerback, the Chiefs’ rookie of the year will be a phenomenal addition to a team that will compete for years to come. This will most assuredly not be his last award in the league.
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