With the 2021 NFL Season right around the corner, there are plenty of players who are coming into the season with zero expectations and will suprise everyone.
With how good the Kansas City Chiefs are, a lot of players are seen as overrated by the media and other fanbases. Many think Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce are only good because they only play with Mahomes, or Mahomes benefits from playing Hill and Kelce. But an underrated player is a tough task on a team that everyone thinks is overrated. With that in mind, one of the most underrated aspects of the Chiefs was the defensive side of the ball.
I am choosing L’Jarius Sneed as the underrated Chief who will shock the NFL in 2021. I bet you were expecting a Dirty Dan or Jarron Reed take, but this should be no big surprise that Sneed is underrated.
In the 2020 draft class, no corner had a better season than L’Jarius Sneed and he missed most of the season with a broken collarbone against the Ravens in Week 3. He had one of the best coverage grades of any of the rookie defensive backs in 2020, he also was able to blitz effectively. He had a sack in both of the playoff games and had an interception in his first two career games, he had an incredible rookie season that should translate to the next season.
With the loss of Brashaud Breeland in free agency, Sneed should be CB1, barring any setbacks, as we head towards preseason and the 2021 season. Steve Spagnuolo loves to use a zone blitzing scheme and has a knack for getting his defensive backs involved in the blitz. L’Jarius Sneed has good size at six-foot-one, 193 pounds, and likes to get involved in the running game as well, I can’t wait to see him fully healthy.
The reason he’s going to be underrated is going to be because he wasn’t fully healthy last season and is a part of the defensive back unit that isn’t seen as great outside of Tyrann Mathieu. This should play in Sneed’s favor, he should be seen as a way for him to get involved in the discussion to make a Pro Bowl roster. With no high expectations outside of his own, Sneed will look to have the same impact he did last year and that should mean a lot of highlight or smart plays that result in losses or turnovers.
Sneed will also have the expectation of the Chiefs defense which are pretty high, he will have to keep up with those expectations. The Chief’s defense will want to maintain the edge it had in the AFC Playoffs. They were able to stop what the other team was good at in both playoff games. They held Nick Chubb to 69 yards on the ground in the Divisional Round and were able to dial up pressure against Mayfield all night with complex zone blitzes.
In the AFC Championship Game, the Chiefs were able to sack Josh Allen four times and were able to hold the league leader, Stefon Diggs to 77 yards. They will look to repeat the success of the past couple of seasons and that should carry over to the young Sneed. He was invaluable in both of those games with his coverage and blitzing capabilities.
I really do think Sneed can provide the lockdown corner the Chiefs defense needs as they head into a season where they play a lot of great teams. He will have to make the leap in his second season, but he will be the best corner on a good defense. He is very reminiscent of Marlon Humphrey with his size and nose for the football. Sneed is going to be underrated as we head to the 2021 season, but he will be able to prove that he is a great corner on a great team.