The Kansas City Chiefs put together one of the best seasons in franchise history in 2018, and unsurprisingly, it landed seven players in Pro Football Focus’ annual “Top 101” rankings, which singles out the top performers from the year.
In fact, the Chiefs had six players named in the top 40.
Here’s a look at who made the list.
No. 3 – Quarterback Patrick Mahomes
Mahomes checks in as the third player in PFF’s rankings, trailing only Los Angeles Rams’ defensive tackle Aaron Donald and Houston Texans’ wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins.
Here’s what the folks at PFF had to say about Kansas City’s young quarterback:
“Our MVP award was a two-man race for the vast majority of the season, but the big separator though between Mahomes and Drew Brees was consistency. Mahomes produced game in and game out in a high-volume passing offense. He didn’t have a single-game grade below 60.0 all season long, and he only had three below 70.0. His 49 big-time throws were six more than anyone else in the NFL, and he also broke PFF’s single-season deep passing yardage record with 1,514 yards on passes of 20 or more yards downfield- and that’s with three dropped deep balls on the year.”
Mahomes put together one of the best seasons in the history of the position in 2018, becoming the first player in franchise history to earn the AP NFL MVP award last weekend.
No. 15 – Defensive End Chris Jones
Jones put together the definition of a breakout season during his third year as a professional, tallying a sack in an NFL-record 11-consecutive games from Week 5 to Week 16. He finished with 15.5 sacks on the year, which ranked as the third-most in the NFL behind only Donald and Texans’ defensive end J.J. Watt.
Here’s more on Jones from PFF’s staff:
“Jones’ ascent to the upper echelon of interior defenders has been incredible and judging by his most recent performance; he’s only getting better. Jones ranked fifth among his peers with an elite overall grade of 91.0 this year, and his 79 quarterback pressures were behind only Aaron Donald (106) and Fletcher Cox (101).”
No. 23 – Tight End Travis Kelce
Making his third appearance in PFF’s annual rankings is Kelce, who just completed one of the best seasons ever by a tight end. The veteran set a franchise record for catches in a season (103) while amassing the second-most receiving yards (1,336) by a tight end in league history.
Here’s what PFF had to say about Kelce:
“Kelce’s dominance at the tight end position helped round out one of the best receiving corps in the NFL this season. En route to an overall grade of 88.6 and receiving grade of 90.4 – both ranking second at the position – Kelce hauled in 113 receptions for 1,467 yards, the most among tight ends. Including the playoffs, he generated 2.28 yards per route run and a 118.6 passer rating when targeted, again, both ranking second at the position.”
No. 25 – Wide Receiver Tyreek Hill
Joining Kelce just a few spots down on the list is fellow pass-catcher Hill, who completed the most prolific season by a receiver in franchise history in 2018 with 1,479 yards through the air.
PFF was understandably impressed with Hill’s electric performance this past year.
“To the surprise of nobody, the Cheetah was a big play waiting to happen in the 2018 season. Hill generated 1,593 yards on 96 receptions during the regular season with 754 of those yards coming on passes that traveled 20 or more yards downfield, first among receivers. Hill also demonstrated his versatility by averaging 8.1 yards per attempt on 23 rushing attempts.”
No. 35 – Offensive Tackle Mitchell Schwartz
A member of the AP First-Team All-Pro squad for the first time in his career in 2018, Schwartz continued to be a model of consistency last season. The veteran hasn’t missed a single offensive snap as a professional – spanning more than 7,000 plays – assembling by far the longest active streak in the NFL.
Here’s what PFF had to say about Schwartz:
“Mitchell Schwartz had the highest-graded year of his career in 2018. His overall grade of 82.9 ranked fifth out of 85 qualifying offensive tackles, and his pass-blocking efficiency rating of 98.1 ranks sixth.”
PFF named Schwartz as the recipient of the Bruce Matthews Award following the season, which they annually give to the top offensive lineman in the NFL.
No. 37 – Linebacker Dee Ford
Ford wreaked havoc on opposing offenses all year long last season, tallying a career-high 13.0 sacks and an NFL-most seven forced fumbles.
The advanced metrics further put Ford’s season into perspective:
“Dee Ford had a breakout year in his fifth season as a pro, the first season in which he earned an overall grade higher than 65.0. His overall grade of 88.6 ranked 11th among edge defenders in 2018, and his pass-rush grade of 91.0 ranked first. Ford led all edge defenders with 77 total pressures (45 hurries, 17 hits, 15 sacks).”
No. 80 – Linebacker Justin Houston
Houston, a five-time member of the PFF Top 101, rounds out this year’s group of Chiefs included in the rankings after recording 9.0 sacks and five forced fumbles in 2018.
Here’s what PFF had to say about Houston:
"As part of one of the best pass-rushing trios in the NFL, Houston once again did damage to opposing passing attacks. He ended the year with a pressure rate of 13.3% and a win rate of 19.3%, which respectively ranked 24th and fifth among the league’s edge rushers.”
All seven players put together seasons to remember in 2018, helping the Chiefs reach the AFC Championship Game for the first time in more than two decades while providing a glimpse into an exciting future.