My 3 Things: 3 Chiefs That Need to Break Out This Year

The Kansas City Chiefs are attempting to achieve the unfathomable: win three straight Lombardis. As long as the Chiefs have the trio of Patrick Mahomes, Andy Reid, and Brett Veach at the helm, the option will always be on the table to be a Super Bowl Contender. However, this year is special, due to the preceding circumstances. The Chiefs are in a position they may never be in again, but to complete the trifecta, three players must step up. 

#1 Trent McDuffie

McDuffie is still looking for his first career interception, but the lack of the prestigious stat is not necessarily connected to a lack of talent. The stat is notable simply because the ball is not thrown in his direction very often because of his elite talent. McDuffie is entering his third NFL season, showing an elite track record, having not finished short of a Lombardi in his short career. The argument could be thrown out that his rings were gifted by an elite offense run by Patrick Mahomes, but the defense silenced those who hold that opinion, putting together a spectacular year in 2023-24. #22 played a huge role in that, cementing a resume that earned him his first All-Pro selection. The Chiefs have put a lot of trust in him and will now test that relationship in the upcoming campaign. On the other side of the defense last year for the Chiefs, stood Ljarius Sneed, who also put together an impressive resume. It became too impressive that the Chiefs could no longer financially retain him, and had to send him to Tennessee in exchange for draft picks. Now, Trent McDuffie slides over to the #1 CB spot and will have the responsibility of shutting down, or at least limiting the damage of, a handful of elite wide receivers Kansas City will have to face off with this year. If Trent can step up, that defense will be taken to another level once again. 

#2 Jawaan Taylor

In the 2023 offseason, the Chiefs signed former Jacksonville Jaguar Jawaan Taylor to a four-year, $80 million contract. Heading into the 2023 playoffs, Jawaan Taylor sat as the most penalized player in the entire NFL, with seventeen infractions. Offensive Tackle was a huge question mark last year and is an even bigger question this upcoming year with Donovan Smith’s absence. Jawaan Taylor has to play more disciplined than he did last year, and you can be sure the concept will be instilled into his mind at training camp. Three of Taylor’s mistakes were illegal formation penalties. The comforting realization about those penalties is that Taylor will have an entire offseason to better prepare himself for the Chiefs’ offensive formations. In contrast, the 2023 season was Taylor’s first year in Andy Reid’s system, a detail that could have impacted the infractions. Taylor will return to the left side, which means he will have one of the hardest duties in all of sports, protecting the quarterback, in this case, Patrick Mahomes, and their blind side. Taylor has to step up and prevent the mistakes made last year. 

Charlie Riedel/AP Photo

#3 Isaiah Pacheco

This one is pretty simple. An offense that has a good running back usually does well. An offense with Patrick Mahomes and a good running back usually excels. Pacheco has been a hidden gem revealed over the last two years following his 7th-round draft selection. His angry runs and powerful bursts make him one of the most explosive weapons on the Chiefs offense. Andy Reid decided to use Pacheco at an increased rate last season, and it was due to the constant struggles for the pass catches, specifically, the drops. Pacheco stepped up, and while the offense wasn’t as potent as years past, it still proved to be a significant threat every game. For Patrick Mahomes to have success at his full potential, the defense needs to be thinking about more than just him. For starters, they need to begin to worry about the receivers, because that was not of much concern last season with the continuous struggles. If Pacheco can add his name to that mix of threats, it could be deadly. That, combined with a similar defense to last year, could make this the best Chiefs team that has ever graced Kansas City. 

Adam Hunger/AP Photo

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