The Kansas City Chiefs are off this week, giving us the perfect time to reflect on the first nine games of the season. Who is the team MVP? OPOY? DPOY?
No Chiefs football this week, but it has been a successful start to the season as the team heads into the bye week with an 8-1 record. They have dominated the season thus far, and lead the AFC West by nearly three games, while being just a half-game back of the first seed, behind only the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers. Here are the player awards so far this season.
MVP: Patrick Mahomes
This shouldn’t’ be a surprise to anyone at this point in the season, especially after the last two weeks. The Chief started vanilla early on but Mahomes has lead the way for the Chiefs and should be leading the way for league MVP as well. With 25 touchdowns, 2,876 passing yards, and just ONE interception with a RTG of 115.9, he has been elite. No question who this award goes to.
Offensive Player of the Year: Tyreek Hill
I had a lot of debate about whether to choose Hill or Travis Kelce on this pick but I chose Hill after much thought just due to his dynamic style of play. Travis Kelce is the best tight end in football and Mahomes number one target, but Hill has a team and league-high nine receiving touchdowns so far, to go along with one rushing touchdown.
Hill can go deep at any time, but it has been the creative way Andy Reid has used him this season that has opened up plays for everyone else in the offense. For example on a lot of the Chiefs successful run plays a lot of it has to do with Hill motioning like he is about to take the reverse.
Defenses must respect this just due to how explosive he is, but it has been an underrated area of the Chiefs so far this season. We have also seen Hill use not only his deep routes to create problems for defense but this year more than any other he has worked a variety of out routes, dig routes, and other shorter routes to counter how deep teams play off of him. His ability to do this has reopened back up the Chiefs’ deep passing attack.
Defensive Player of the Year: Chris Jones
This might be the best season Chris Jones has had rushing the passer yet and might be his best year overall as a Chief. 5.5 sacks through nine games isn’t bad at all, but when looking at his pressure rates, it’s even more impressive.
Pro Football Focus has Jones rated at a 91.8 overall pass rush rate on the season and is giving him an overall grade of 86.3. From the film I have studied, this has been accurate. Even in games in which he hasn’t recorded a sack it has been easy to see the impact he has made on the interior defensive line for Kansas City.
This has also been one of the best seasons of his career at defending the run. This past week vs the Panthers PFF also had him a 77.1 grade for defining the run. Consistent overall play and consistent production are enough for me to believe he is the Chiefs DPOY at this point.
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Clyde Edwards-Helaire
The only Chief rookie to see extended amounts of playing time this year has also made an impact on the team and is the player the Chiefs wanted him to be when they drafted him. 810 all-purpose yards through the first nine games of the season and three touchdowns, Edwards-Helaire is a bowling ball with some juice. That meaning he can run through anyone, but he can also use simple movements and jukes as well as hesitation moves to create extra yards in space. The Chiefs have had a history of great running backs, it looks like they just found their next one.
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Tershawn Wharton
The biggest surprise for the Chiefs this year has been the emergence of undrafted rookie free agent Tershawn Wharton out of Missouri S&T. Some were surprised to see he made the roster, but he wasted no time showing that he belonged on the field.
With the injury to Khalen Saunders, Wharton was asked to fill in off the bench and he has excelled so far this season. He has been a stout run defender and a big-time hustle player for the Chiefs. So far he has 20 total tackles, 11 solo, nine assists, one sack, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery. His ability to take on double teams and not get moved at the line of scrimmage has been his best trait. He is going to be in KC for a while.