The folks at the Pro Football Writers of America compiled their annual "All-Rookie" team for the 2021 season on Tuesday, and unsurprisingly, the Kansas City Chiefs were well represented.
Three members of the Chiefs landed on the squad, including center Creed Humphrey, guard Trey Smith and linebacker Nick Bolton. Kansas City matched Cleveland and Miami for the most selections on the team.
Kansas City selected Bolton with the No. 58 overall pick last spring out of the University of Missouri and has reaped the benefits in the time since, as Bolton tallied a team-leading 112 tackles and 11 tackles-for-loss on the year. His efforts made him just the ninth rookie since at least 1999 to record 110+ tackles and 10+ tackles-for-loss in a single season, and among those players, Bolton was the only one to also find the end zone defensively.
Bolton made some critical plays in Sunday's victory over Buffalo, too, recording two defensive stops on short third-down rushes that forced a pair of punts. In a game that was decided by the slimmest of margins, Bolton's performance was invaluable.
Humphrey and Smith, meanwhile, were two of the best interior offensive linemen in the league this season regardless of rookie status. In fact, according to the metrics compiled by Pro Football Focus, Humphrey was the top center in the NFL this year and the fifth-best offensive lineman overall. Pro Football Focus was impressed with Smith as well, grading him as the No. 11 overall guard in the NFL – and the top rookie – among players with at least 1,000 snaps. To make matters even more remarkable, Kansas City acquired Smith with the No. 226 overall pick of the Draft.
All three players were integral parts of Kansas City's fourth-straight march to the AFC Championship Game, and with another Lamar Hunt Trophy at stake on Sunday, the Chiefs will need each of their tremendous rookies to be at their best.