Center: Creed Humphrey, Chiefs
Not a single sack allowed in 2022 for PFF’s highest rated center. But because he was a second-round pick just two years ago, 30 players at that position make more than Humphrey. That will almost certainly change as soon as this season.
Edge Defenders: Nick Bosa, San Francisco 49ers / Montez Sweat, Washington Commanders
Bosa is one of the most obvious no-brainers on this list. The 2022 Defensive Player of the Year is just the 41st-highest paid cornerback in the NFL. One more strong season and he’ll likely become the highest-paid defenseman in league history, and it’s even possible that will come before he hits the open market next season. Sved isn’t of the same caliber entering his own contract year, but only Bosa and Maxx Crosby had more quarterback hits than him last year, and he’s a consistent edge threat. He will make $11.5 million on his fifth-year option in 2023, but his deal still averages just $2.9 million per year.
Kansas City Chiefs: CB Trent McDuffie
As long as Patrick Mahomes is at the helm of the offense, the Chiefs will be dangerous. As long as they keep hitting on defensive drafts, they can win Super Bowl.
Trent McDuffie appears to be the latest good addition for the Chiefs through the draft. While Chris Jones is a superstar making superstar money, the rest of Kansas City’s defense consists of strategic veteran additions and young players on rookie contracts.
However, McDuffie looks set to get another contract one day. After missing games 2-8 with a hamstring injury, he returned to the starting lineup and played 95 percent of the snaps on a defense that won it all.
His physicality plays well in the Chiefs system and allowed him to hold opposing passers to a 52.9 percent completion percentage. He was also an effective tackler, missing just 4.3 percent of his attempts.
That’s a good conversion rate for a player under 200 pounds and a good example of why he could be a cornerstone of the Chiefs defense for a long time.
While attending teammate Marquez Valdes-Scantling’s softball tournament in early June at the KC Monarchs’ Legends Field, James’ gaze scanned from right to left as he saw red-clad Chiefs fans in every direction.
“It’s been amazing. It’s obviously different. Everyone’s showing up, as you can see,” James told The Star. “This is one of the craziest fan bases I’ve seen, been a part of. I love it .”
James, who had a career year with New York Giants in 2022 after four seasons with San Francisco, he said he didn’t expect this — more than 4,000 tickets were sold for the event — when he arrived as one of more than 40 Chiefs in attendance.
“Come on. A charity game…it’s sold out,” James said. “You don’t see that too often.”
How much Chiefs fans should expect from James in 2023 remains an open question as the team prepares for training camp in mid-June.
9. Kansas City Chiefs
After letting go of Frank Clark, Veach added defensive end Charles Omenihu, a soon-to-be 26-year-old who was a rotation piece on the San Francisco 49ers’ top-ranked scoring defense (16.3 points allowed per game), fueled by 2022 Defensive Player of the Year Nick Bosa. He will be a starter for the Chiefs after signing a two-year, $16 million deal in free agency. Omenihu recorded career highs in sacks (4.5) and quarterback pressures (54) in that part-time role, and now he will line up next to 2022 All-Pro defensive end Chris Jones in an aggressive, multiple front scheme under defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. Kansas City also added another pass rusher down the road Kansas StateFelix Anudike-Uzomah with their first round pick. Those two, on top of last season’s 30th overall pick George Karlaftis, signal a youth movement on the defensive line around All-Pro defensive tackle Chris Jones. That’s smart considering the team is figuring out how the budget will keep him happy with another extension.
About the NFL
The greater spotlight has created greater expectations, and White himself is aiming to end a Tampa Bay drought on the ground.
“My expectation is really just to do my job,” he said Friday Good morning football. “Be the guy (general manager) Jason Licht wants me to be, but really just be myself. Go out there, have fun, hang loose. Obviously, the Bucs haven’t had a 1,000-yard rusher in about eight years or so. So of course I want to eclipse that.”
White, who impressed with 129 carries for 481 yards plus another 290 yards on 50 receptions during his rookie campaign, will have his work cut out for him if he is to hit 1,000 yards rushing as a Buccaneer for the first time since Doug Martin did it. i.e. in 2015.
Arizona Cardinals safety Budda Baker plans to attend training camp next month despite a trade request, his agent told NFL Network.
NFL Network quoted Baker’s rep, David Mulugheta, in detailing Baker’s plan to join the team for the start of camp, though he wants a deal that shows he’s a “long-term part of the team.”
He participated in mandatory minicamp in June but did not practice.
First-year head coach Jonathan Gannon said the situation is an “organizational thing.”
Baker, a five-time Pro Bowl Selection, signed a four-year, $59 million deal in 2020 and is under contract through the 2024 season. He is the seventh highest paid safety in the NFL. Arizona has already picked up the team option for ’24.
In case you missed it at Arrowhead Pride
Chiefs Roster: 3 Underrated Players Ahead of 2023 NFL Season
Defensive end Mike Danna
The Chiefs’ defensive end room has been bolstered with offseason acquisitions like Charles Omenihu and first-round draft pick Felix Anudike-Uzomah, but the addition of these types of players could make veteran Mike Danna’s role even more important in 2023.
Breaking down the group, Danna is the only one with more than a year of experience in defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s system. The two offseason additions are clearly in their first year, while the leader of the group — defensive end George Karlaftis — is only in his second year.
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