The folks at NFL.com annually publish their all-star team of players under 25 years old, and while young players such as quarterback Patrick Mahomes (who made the team in 2019 and 2020), wide receiver Tyreek Hill (2018), defensive tackle Chris Jones (2018) and kicker Harrison Butker (2018 and 2019) have aged out of joining the squad this year, the Chiefs were still represented.
"Around the NFL" writer Nick Shook, who put the team together, slotted Chiefs' defensive back L'Jarius Sneed in the "flex" spot of the all-star team's secondary, identifying the 24-year-old playmaker as one of the top young defensive standouts in all of football.
Here's what Shook had to say about Sneed:
"Sneed was a weapon for the Chiefs in his first season, one capable of being deployed in a variety of situations and producing a positive outcome. Line him up on the line and watch him register a QB pressure. Move him into the slot and wait for him to make a play on a pass over the middle. Move him outside if you need to, and he might just haul in an interception. He did so three times as a rookie while recording seven passes defensed, 41 tackles, two sacks and three quarterback hits. The guy can do it all -- including shutting down the passing attack. He allowed the third-lowest completion percentage (46.5%) among all defenders (minimum 30 targets). And to think, 2020 was just his first season."
A fourth-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, Sneed quickly established himself as an absolute steal and an immediate playmaker. He tallied interceptions in each of his first two professional games, and despite an injury that forced Sneed to miss six games midseason, the Louisiana Tech product seemed to pick up right where he left off upon returning.
The advanced analytics crowd was equally impressed, too. Here's what Pro Football Focus had to say about Sneed earlier this offseason:
"The grades, stats and tape all agree: No rookie held a candle to Chiefs' cornerback L'Jarius Sneed."
That collective performance prompted CBS Sports to select Sneed at No. 7 overall in their re-draft of the 2020 class, making him the top defensive back selected and the second defensive player taken overall if the league was to do things over again.
Luckily for the Chiefs, Sneed isn't going anywhere.
For a look at the rest of Shook's team, click here.