Kansas City Chiefs
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Retooled Chiefs Eye Return To Super Bowl 

 

The Kansas City Chiefs will look a little different on both sides of the ball when they take the field for the 2022 season.

Gone are franchise pillars Tyreek Hill (traded to the Miami Dolphins) and Tyrann Mathieu (signed with the New Orleans Saints) and reliable starting corner Charvarius Ward (signed with the San Francisco 49ers).

GM Brett Veach has brought in a handful of new and noteworthy faces. On offense, he signed receivers JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez-Valdes Scantling and running back Ronald Jones II. In the second round, he drafted Western Michigan speedster and wideout Skyy Moore.

On defense, the Chiefs added veteran safety Justin Reid to replace Mathieu. Veach spent his two first-round picks on Washington corner Trent McDuffie and Purdue defensive end George Karlaftis.

Mobile and online Kansas sports betting is expected to launch very soon, and there’s a hope that it will go live by the start of the Chiefs’ 2022 season. They open on the road against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 1 (4:25 p.m. EST).

Kansas sportsbooks like FanDuel and BetMGM would presumably offer risk-free bets of up to $1,000 to customers in “The Wheat State.” At FanDuel, the Chiefs are +950 to win the Super Bowl.

The Super Bowl hopeful Chiefs have several players that look destined for breakout years in 2022. Here is a look at the top three candidates.

 

Skyy Moore

The Chiefs used the No. 54 selection in this year’s draft on Western Michigan product Skyy Moore.

With Tyreek Hill no longer in the fold, Mahomes will have to spread the ball around to the likes of Moore, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Mecole Hardman, and Marquez Valdes-Scantling.  But Moore’s explosive speed and ability to stretch the field (14.5 yards per catch in his three college seasons) make him the favorite to step in as Mahomes’ new go-to target. 

Smith-Schuster will be the slot receiver, whereas Valdes-Scantling is strictly a deep threat. Moore can replace Hill as the guy that works all over the field and forces defenses to work a safety over the top.

He probably won’t take over superstar tight end Travis Kelce as the lead pass-catcher, but Moore has the tools and skill set to instantly produce like a 1,000-yard guy. 

Expect Andy Reid to build a large chunk of his playbook around Moore, who should flourish as WR1 in Kansas City’s pass-heavy offense. Consider him a sleeper for Offensive Rookie of the Year honors.

 

Nick Bolton

The Chiefs got a steal in Bolton, who was taken 58th overall in the 2021 draft.

The Missouri linebacker emerged as a do-it-all workhorse in Steve Spagnuolo’s defense. Pro Football Focus ranked Bolton as the No. 22 rookie for the 2021 regular season, and this was despite him playing just 60 percent of the team’s defensive snaps.

Bolton can expect a much heavier workload in 2022, considering how much he stood out as a rookie. Bolton had three pass defenses, 112 combined tackles, one defensive touchdown, and eight quarterback pressures last season. 

The addition of the aforementioned George Karlaftis will allow Spagnuolo to get more creative with his usage of Bolton.  An increased role and one year of professional ball under his belt will lead to Bolton enjoying a Pro Bowl-caliber sophomore year.

 

Clyde Edwards-Helaire

It’s not quite a make-or-break year for Edwards-Helaire, but he’s certainly running out of time to assert himself as the RB1 in Kansas City.

The No. 32 pick of the 2020 draft showed promise in his rookie year by recording 803 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns to go along with 297 receiving yards and one TD reception.

CEH missed seven games last season but was considerably less explosive in the 10 contests he played. He averaged a mere 51.7 rushing yards per game and earned a lackluster PFF grade of 64.3.

The Chiefs signed power runner and veteran Ronald Jones II to a one-year deal, thus providing competition for Edwards-Helaire in the backfield.

That should only motivate Edwards-Helaire to finally put it all together in year three. Furthermore, the Chiefs’ early season struggles in the passing game should remind Reid and offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy that they need to find more balance on offense.

If he stays healthy, Edwards-Helaire should break out with the first 1,000-yard season of his career.

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By Ralph Garcia

CEO NGSC Sports

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