The Chiefs have a roster filled with stars but there are some players that get more credit than they may deserve.
I feel like phrase “overrated” and “underrated” might be some of the most misunderstood words in media today. Any time we hear the phrase “overrated” we automatically think that whatever is being discussed is awful, trash, and not good at all… likewise, “underrated” does not mean: elite, great, or better. Both terms simply mean that the item at hand is being over or under valued. So saying something like “Odell Beckham Jr. is overrated,” doesn’t mean he’s a bad player, or wouldn’t be a great addition to any roster. It just means that the reputation might not match the production or the perceived value. Last week we examined the three most underrated Chiefs which can be found here.
It’s hard to call a player overrated or underrated until we have seen something to rate as well. So saying “Nick Bolton is overrated,” Is kind of a lost point at this time, you can believe he was over drafted, but he hasn’t proved anything good or bad at the NFL level, yet. Also, it’s easy to recognize that situations matter to players. Good players can struggle in bad situations and bad players can look better in good situations. We don’t know what the Chiefs version of Joe Thuney, Orlando Brown or Jarran Reed will look like, so calling them overrated is a little too early to tell.
#3- Clyde Edwards-Helaire
When the Chiefs drafted Clyde in 2020 it was viewed as the final piece to making the Chiefs offense the best the NFL had ever seen, perhaps. We dreamed about the 2018 offense with Kareem Hunt and how CEH could make the 2020 offense just as deadly. “The thing that makes Clyde different is we know he can be split out wide like a receiver” was the common thing said by fans and analysts alike. Clyde drew comparisons to Brian Westbrook and Christian McCaffery. While his NFL debut was a huge success he largely failed to meet most expectations placed on him and his draft slot.
Edwards-Helaire finished 19th in rushing yards in the league despite being 17th in attempts even after missing 3 games in 2020. Even more disappointing is his 297 yards receiving which also placed him 19th in the league among running backs. Even more concerning is the fact that 37% of his rushing production came in two games where he received 51 rushing attempts against the 32nd and 17th overall rush defenses. The biggest concern with him is he hasn’t displayed a particular trait that makes him dominant. He’s not quick enough to hit the home run touchdown, (longest rush was 31 yards) he’s not physical enough to break tackles inside the box consistently. He’s not been a strong enough pass catcher to make defenses worry about him in the passing game, and he struggles to pass protect as well.
Look, I’m not telling you that Clyde can’t be better in 2021 or that he is a bust moving forward. I expect and hope that he will take a big step forward in 2021, but so far the results have not matched the hype. The biggest concern with him is making him a true three down back, thus far the Chiefs have preferred Darrel Williams in that role. This is also what limits him as pass catcher as well. With the emphasis being placed on protecting Patrick Mahomes in the off-season, Edwards-Helaire is not immune to this either.
#2- Byron Pringle
I’m going to do my best to be level headed about this as possible, but frankly the fact that this has to even be addressed is ridiculous. The amount of hype and projecting going on for a 27 year old undrafted free agent is insane in Kansas City. Chiefs fans need to come to terms with reality that Byron Pringle is nothing more than a third or fourth wide receiver and a special teams player. Pringle has had a few flashes of strong play, but nothing about his overall play, development or track record suggest he should be counted on at all. Chiefs fans seem to be expecting him to step up into Sammy Watkins role or even more in 2021. Pringle has been on the Chiefs roster for 2 years now and still has not accumulated 340 career yards.
Look if you want to project Cornell Powell or Mecole Hardman to take big steps forward in 2021 that makes sense, They are both young and still have upside. Pringle on the other hand will be 28 by the start of the new season and is older than: Chris Jones, Patrick Mahomes, Orlando Brown, and Tyreek Hill. Can Pringle improve in 2021? Sure. Can he replace Sammy Watkins? Absolutely not. Improving on 130 yards and 1TD for an entire season is a pretty low bar to clear. To be fair, I don’t think most Chiefs fans expect Pringle to be a pro-bowler, but expecting him to be the second wide receiver in 2021 is overrating his ability.
#1- Frank Clark
It can be really easy to look at the end result of every choice and come to a conclusion that it worked. Just because the Chiefs won the super bowl the year Clark was acquired does not make it a good move. In 2021 Frank Clark will have the largest cap hit of any non-QB in the league. The Chiefs gave up two draft picks and a massive contract to a player who has drastically under performed what they gave up for him. Jamal Adams (a safety!) has more sacks and only two less QB hits than the Chief’s pass rusher. Additionally, Clark is a below average run defender (50.8 PFF grade) and has struggled to stay on the field as well. Clark is perceived as a leader in the clubhouse by many, of course we as fans may never know how much of leader he really is.
The biggest defenders of Frank will say that he steps up in the playoffs, when the lights shine the brightest. There is no denying that Clark was a key piece to the Chiefs back-to-back super bowl appearances; however the question needs to be asked is he the only person who could have done it? A large majority of the sacks accumulated in the playoffs by Clark have been coverage sacks (3.5 seconds or longer). Frank Clark has played in as many playoff games as any other player since he came to the Chiefs (6 games) he has had ample opportunity to achieve his playoff stats.
It can be pretty easy to conclude that if “wasp” falls incomplete, and the Chiefs never win a super bowl, the Clark trade is looked at as an epic failure. Clark carries the reputation as a dominant edge rusher, who shuts down the run and requires double teams from opposing offensive lines. When in reality he has been below average, locked up by single tackles, and had the advantage of playing next to one of the best interior pass rushers in football.
It was pretty obvious who #1 would be. #2 too me would be Hitchens. While he did do better last year, he still isn’t living up to what was expected. I’ll go along w/ Clyde as #3, for now. Hopefully w/ a new o-line he’ll be more productive this year, but I still wish they had kept Damian Williams. Williams had breakaway speed, while Clyde does not.