The most underrated player on the Kansas City Chiefs’ roster is also maybe one of the most underrated DPOY contenders.
After two seasons that saw both the MVP and Defensive Player of the Year races won early in the season, those races are still largely up in the air in 2020. The MVP race is tight, with Russel Wilson technically leading in the sportsbook, but Patrick Mahomes is the analyst favorite to win the award with Aaron Rodgers, Kyler Murray, and even Tom Brady not far behind.
The Defensive Player of the Year race is much closer then that. There is no definitive leader in the race, with many outlets just going with Aaron Donald due to his past performances. However, so many other names have claims to the title, like Minkah Fitzpatrick, Budda Baker, and Myles Garrett.
According to the average betting odds of prominent sportsbook, only one Chief is even remotely close to the award, with Tyrann Mathieu currently sitting at +5300 odds to win the award. It seems odd that L’jarius Sneed is not also on that list, because, despite his injury having kept him off the field for four and a half weeks, he is still only two interception behind the current interception leader.
However, the Chief that most deserves a spot on that list is none other than the Chiefs’ most underrated talent, Daniel Sorensen.
A 2014 undrafted free agent out of BYU, Sorensen has spent his entire seven-year career with the Kansas City Chiefs. Many fans will remember his performances in the playoffs last year, having the play that helped set up the Chiefs come back in the divisional game against the Houston Texans, and dealing many of the finishing blows on the Tennessee Titans’ offense in the championship game. He is known in the locker room for how well researched he is on opponents and how clutch he can be on the field.
Daniel Sorensen and Tyrann Mathieu’s stat lines look very similar, despite the fact that Daniel Sorensen is not a starter and Tyrann Mathieu is (Tyrann also plays either 100% of snaps or close to it, which is many more then Sorenson).
Both have two interceptions and both have returned one for a touchdown. Sorensen has one forced fumble, Mathieu has one recovered fumble. Mathieu has three pass breakups, Sorensen has one. Sorensen has 57 tackles, which is significantly more than Mathieu’s 42, while Sorensen has two tackles for loss which is one more than Mathieu.
When compared against other DPOY contenders, Sorensen continues to stand out. He has just as many interceptions as Budda Baker, Trevon Diggs, Malcolm Butler, and Marcus Peters, and one more than Minkah Fitzpatrick or Marlon Humphrey. No non-offensive player has more than one touchdown, so he technically is tied for most defensive touchdowns as well.
He is not without his downsides, primarily how he has given up 21 receptions on 29 targets. Compare that to Mathieu’s 19/32 or Stephon Gillmore’s 15/24, and it becomes clear that Sorensen does have some shortcomings in coverage.
So, sure, he is not hands down so far ahead of any other player that he is the obvious award contender, but he is up there with every other player considered a contender, that he could very easily put him in a position to win the award.
During last year’s postseason, Daniel Sorensen elevated himself to an elite level of play and it looks like in 2020 he picked it up right where he left it. Maybe with a few great games, he can be rewarded with a DPOY trophy.