Three under-the-radar Chiefs who could make a big impact in 2021

We know what to expect out of stalwarts Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill, Chris Jones, and Tyrann Mathieu. As training camp officially starts, we ponder and speculate on who could not only make the roster, but a few Chiefs that might come to surprise us and the rest of the NFL this regular season.

Taco Charlton

This may just be wishful thinking for the fifth year pro, with just 74 career tackles and 11 career sacks. The former first round selection of the Dallas Cowboys has always shown signs of promise, yet always falls short on production because of injury.

Last season, he was having a surprisingly good season as a pass rush specialist before an LCL sprain in week six followed by the season ending ankle fracture in week nine. All indications out of camp have shown that Taco has fully recovered and is ready to take a step forward in this defensive end rotation.

This defensive line is one of the more veteran groups on the roster. Alex Okafor, Frank Clark, Chris Jones, and Jarran Reed can all be relied on, so there really is no pressure for Charlton to be a headliner. I firmly believe if Taco can take care of himself and stay healthy the value from the edge he brings to this roster is immense. A true pass rush specialist that can reek havoc especially late in games can and will be the difference between the Chiefs traveling in January and the Lamar Hunt trophy running through GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium.

Bold Predictions Stats: 44 tackles, 8.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, and 1 interception

Darrel Williams

Inappropriately nicknamed the other Williams, behind Damien, I feel Darrel is on the verge of having a strong season in the backfield. Darrel seems to always be on the verge of securing the primary back up role on this team before a baggage carrying veteran comes into town, only to disappoint.

To Williams credit, he has always shown up, put in the work, and has answered the call when his name is hollered. Garnering only 25% of the offensive snaps over the last two seasons, I fully expect Darrel Williams time on the field to go up this season as the Chiefs primary number two option out of the backfield.

Though Clyde Edwards-Helaire is cemented as the number one option at running back for the red and gold, Andy Reid and Eric Bieniemy have never used their running backs in a work horse like capacity. With the expanded 17 game schedule, a much improved run blocking offensive line, and a full camp for the aforemention CEH, it’s easy to see a big step forward for Williams.

I feel that the trust shown in a clutch situations from this coaching staff for Darrel over the last two seasons bodes well for him as the Chiefs will become more reliant on the running game as they try to close out opponents this upcoming season.

Bold Prediction Stats: 70 attempts, 357 yards, 19 receptions, 247 yards receiving, 7 total touchdowns

Juan Thornhill

The most integral piece of the Chiefs secondary is Tyrann Mathieu’s ability to line up in multiple positions and that piece is only successful if Thornhill is healthy and can man the deep center of the field. When the Chiefs defense gelled after the Mexico City game in 2019, it was because of the trust of every one knowing their role at all three levels on the Chiefs defense. When Thornhill tore his ACL in the season finale against the Chargers, it forced the defense to rely more heavily on the pass rush.

Very few times last season did it look like Thornhill was ever at 100. The speed looked diminished, the fearlessness was gone, he looked lost at times and the trust from the defensive coaching staff was gone as well. Thornhill has been very candid about all of this this offseason and says he is back to 100% and is ready to take over where he was in December of 2019, playing at nearly a Pro Bowl level.

Thornhill is an uber smart defensive player. He makes the defense as whole play better when they can play off of the Honey Badger. With a healthy Thornhill, the Chiefs safety rotation is as good as it gets in the NFL. Don’t be surprised if the Chiefs have two All Pro safeties at the end of the season.

Bold Prediction Stats: 68 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, and 5 interceptions