2024 NFL Season Preview: Kansas City Chiefs

Patrick Mahomes

Kansas City Chiefs (Last Year: 11-6)

Season Summary:
Dynasty. The Chiefs became the first repeat champion in 19 years, winning a Super Bowl for the third time in five years.

2024 NFL Season Preview:

Veteran Additions:
QB Carson Wentz, WR Marquise Brown, TE Irv Smith.
Early Draft Picks:
WR Xavier Worthy, OT Kingsley Suamataia, TE Jared Wiley, S Jaden Hicks, C Hunter Nourzad. Chiefs Rookie Forecast
Offseason Losses:
WR Mecole Hardman, WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling, OT Donovan Smith, G Nick Allegretti, LB Willie Gay, CB L’Jarius Sneed, S Mike Edwards, P Tommy Townsend.

2024 Kansas City Chiefs Offense:
The Chiefs are known for their explosive attack, but their offense was plagued by constant drops and false starts last year. The result was a meager 21.8 points-per-game average for the regular season. This result was far worse than the figure the Chiefs had maintained during Mahomes’ other five years as a starter, which were 29.2, 28.2, 29.6, 28.2, and 35.3. To their credit, the Chiefs were able to be more productive in the playoffs, but their postseason average (23.8) was still far worse than the numbers from 2018 to 2022.

Despite the Super Bowl victory, the Chiefs knew that they had to fix their offensive woes. Addressing the receiving corps was crucial, especially in the wake of Rashee Rice’s legal issues. Thus, Kansas City signed Marquise Brown and then used its first-round pick on Xavier Worthy. Both Brown and Worthy are explosive downfield threats, and they’ll provide an enormous upgrade over Marquez Valdes-Scantling. Assuming Rice isn’t slapped with more than a six-game ban, the Chiefs figure to have a trio of capable receivers in 2024. There’s also Travis Kelce, whose performance declined tremendously during the regular season prior to his explosive playoff performances. Kelce could continue to play well, but his age (35 in October) is becoming a concern.

Blocking on the edge was also a problem last year. Donovan Smith and Jawaan Taylor resembled human turnstiles at times, with Taylor being especially poor with his constant false starts. Unlike the receiver position, the Chiefs didn’t address this area with multiple players, but they used a second-round pick on Kingsley Suamataia. The BYU product is raw, but has plenty of upside. He could potentially unseat Taylor. Meanwhile, 2023 third-rounder Wanya Morris figures to start on the blind side. Morris started some games as a rookie, but wasn’t any better than Smith. Perhaps he’ll improve with some experience.

Kansas City’s offensive line isn’t poor despite the problems at tackle. This is because the Chiefs’ interior blocking is outstanding. Kansas City possesses a pair of terrific guards in Joe Thuney and Trey Smith. They sandwich Creed Humphrey, arguably the best center in the NFL. The Chiefs lost a key depth player in Nick Allegretti, who signed with the Redskins. Fifth-round rookie Hunter Nourzad is expected to replace him.

The Chiefs’ stellar interior blockers will continue to blast open holes for Isiah Pacheco, who rushed for 935 yards and seven touchdowns last year. Pacheco showed great improvement as a receiver, hauling in 44 passes for 244 receiving yards.

2024 Kansas City Chiefs Defense:
With the offense sputtering throughout the regular season, the defense had to pull its weight. It did exactly that, surrendering just 17.3 points per game, down from 21.7 in 2022. The stop unit was even better in the playoffs, limiting the opposition to 15.8 points per game despite battling Tua Tagovailoa, Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson in the three games leading up to the Super Bowl.

There’s some concern that Kansas City’s defense won’t be as potent in 2024. That’s because L’Jarius Sneed is gone. Sneed often shut down opposing No. 1 receivers, so much so that No. 2 receivers were overly productive against the Chiefs. Sneed has joined the Titans, so there are some question marks about the outside cornerbacks, with Joshua Williams and Jaylen Watson slated to start in those spots. Williams is a fourth-round pick from the 2022 NFL Draft who has some potential, but he didn’t play many snaps last year. Watson did, but was just mediocre in coverage. The best cornerback will be third-year Trent McDuffie, who was stellar in the slot last year.

Kansas City will return its two starting safeties, with Bryan Cook and Justin Reid reprising their roles. Cook missed the final third of the 2023 season with a gruesome leg injury, so his presence will be enormous with Sneed gone. Reid will need to do a better job in coverage because he was burned often last year.

The Chiefs’ secondary will at least have strong support from the defensive line. The front is spearheaded by Chris Jones, arguably the best defensive tackle in the NFL now that Aaron Donald has retired. Jones missed the opening-week battle against the Lions, a game that showcased how important he is to the success of the team. The Chiefs don’t have much else at the position, but they possess a couple of talented edge rushers in George Karlaftis and Mike Danna. Karlaftis produced 10.5 sacks in his second season and should continue to improve. Danna, meanwhile, is another young player with upside. He had 6.5 sacks in 2023.

Rounding out the defense is a capable linebacking corps comprised of three solid players in Nick Bolton, Drue Tranquill, and Leo Chenal. Bolton is the best of the trio, though he missed a chunk of the 2023 season with an injury. Tranquill is better in coverage than run support, while Chenal is the opposite. Bolton and Chenal are 24 and 23, respectively, so there’s a ton of potential with this group.

2024 Kansas City Chiefs Schedule and Intangibles:
The Chiefs needed to bring back the Arrowhead magic that existed prior to 2007. Since that year, Kansas City was a dreadful 20-37 as a host heading into the 2014 campaign. However, Kansas City is now 70-25 at Arrowhead over the past nine seasons. This includes the seven victories in the playoffs leading up to Super Bowls LIV, LV, LVII, and LVIII.

Harrison Butker has drawn the ire of cat ladies this offseason, but there’s no denying his kicking talent. He was 33-of-35 last year, including 5-of-5 from 50-plus. Harrison Butker aprons are available for sale by clicking the link.

Punter Tommy Townsend led the NFL in net average in 2022, but was just in the middle of the pack last year. He didn’t do a good job of pinning the opposition inside the 20. The Chiefs decided to replace him with the ultra-talented Matt Araiza.

The Chiefs have a mixed schedule. They have to battle some difficult non-divisional conference opponents like the Ravens, Bengals, Browns, Bills, and Texans. However, they get to beat up on the NFC South teams as well.

2024 Kansas City Chiefs Rookies:
Go here for the Chiefs Rookie Forecast, a page with predictions like which rookie will bust and which rookie will become a solid starter.

2024 Kansas City Chiefs Positional Rankings (1-5 stars):
Offensive Line
Running Backs
Defensive Line
Special Teams

2024 Kansas City Chiefs Analysis: Can the Chiefs become the first team in NFL history to win three consecutive Super Bowls? It certainly appears so. The offense will improve with two new receivers, while the defense should still be potent despite L’Jarius Sneed’s departure. As long as Andy Reid is coaching the team, and Patrick Mahomes is healthy, the Chiefs will be one of the top contenders in the league.

Projection: 12-5 (1st in AFC West)

2023 Projection: 13-4. 2023 Actual Result: 11-6.
2022 Projection: 11-6. 2022 Actual Result: 13-4.
2021 Projection: 16-1. 2021 Actual Result: 12-5.
2020 Projection: 13-3. 2020 Actual Result: 14-2.
2019 Projection: 13-3. 2019 Actual Result: 12-4.
2018 Projection: 11-5. 2018 Actual Result: 12-4.
2017 Projection: 11-5. 2017 Actual Result: 10-6.
2016 Projection: 10-6. 2016 Actual Result: 12-4.

2024 Fantasy Football Rankings

More 2024 NFL Season Previews

NFL Draft Team Grade:

A- Grade

Goals Entering the 2024 NFL Draft: Wide receiver was a huge weakness for the Chiefs last year. They signed Marquise Brown, but with Rashee Rice facing a possible suspension, the position must still be addressed. The offensive line must be upgraded as well, and finding a replacement for Travis Kelce in the near future must be considered, too.

2024 NFL Draft Accomplishments: The Chiefs attacked all of their areas of need. They began by trading up for a receiver, landing Xavier Worthy, who broke the combine 40 record with a 4.21. Patrick Mahomes had Marquez Valdes-Scantling as his deep threat last year, and now he’ll be able to throw to Brown and Worthy, which is a colossal upgrade for him. I personally don’t think the Chiefs needed to trade up for Worthy, but there’s no doubt that he’ll provide Mahomes with an element that he didn’t possess last season.

The offensive line was next, with the Chiefs landing a major steal at No. 63 with Kingsley Suamataia. The BYU product was considered a possibility at No. 32, yet Kansas City acquired him at the end of the second round. The team also added a couple of other value blockers as well, securing Hunter Nourzad in the fifth round and C.J. Hanson in the final frame.

Kelce’s future replacement, meanwhile, could be Jared Wiley, taken in the fourth round. Two picks later, Kansas City obtained another major steal in safety Jaden Hicks, who was thought as a possible second-rounder by some.

It’s no surprise that the Chiefs had a strong draft overall. They made seven picks, and none scored worse than a C+. They filled their needs with dynamic athletes and great values, so Kansas City fans couldn’t ask for much more.

NFL Draft Individual Grades:

28. Xavier Worthy, WR, Texas – C+ Grade

No one should be surprised that the Chiefs selected a receiver. It was already a need before Rashee Rice got into trouble. However, I don’t see why the Chiefs needed to trade up for Worthy. There are so many solid receivers still available, and almost all of them would have been available at No. 32, so a trade like this doesn’t seem very necessary.

63. Kingsley Suamataia, OT, BYU – A+ Grade

This is terrific value. I thought the Chiefs would consider Kingsley Suamataia with the 32nd-overall pick, yet they got him at No. 63! With receiver addressed, tackle became the team’s great need, and Suamataia could be a big upgrade.

131. Jared Wiley, TE, TCU – B Grade

A future replacement for Travis Kelce? Jared Wiley was a very productive and greatly sized player from TCU. Dr. Wiley makes sense late in the fourth round, so this is a decent pick all around.

133. Jaden Hicks, S, Washington State – A+ Grade

What a great value here for the Chiefs at the end of the fourth round. Jaden Hicks is a play-making safety prospect who easily could have gone in the second round. Adding more talent to the secondary makes sense, given all the great passing offenses in the AFC.

159. Hunter Nourzad, C, Penn State – B Grade

I like Hunter Nourzad as a fourth-round prospect going in the fifth. The Chiefs have a terrific center, but they lost a key backup this offseason, so they needed an insurance policy. This is a good one.

211. Kamal Hadden, CB, Tennessee – B Grade

Kamal Hadden bounced around schools, but settled in at Tennessee. He played well last year and was seen as a mid-Day 3 prospect, so this is a logical choice for the Chiefs to make, especially given how many lethal passing offenses exist in the AFC.

248. C.J. Hanson, C/G, Holy Cross – B Grade

C.J. Hanson didn’t surrender a single sack at Holy Cross last season. He also has good versatility, being able to play both center and guard. The Chiefs lost a key backup, so I understand why they’d draft a versatile blocker.

Season Summary:
Dynasty. The Chiefs became the first repeat champion in 19 years, winning a Super Bowl for the third time in five years.

Offseason Moves:
  • Titans acquire CB L’Jarius Sneed from Chiefs for 2025 third-round pick and seventh-round pick swap

    Team Needs:
    1. Two Wide Receivers: Kansas City’s wide receiver corps was a mess the entire year. Aside from Rashee Rice, no one performed well. Two new wideouts are needed. Signed Marquise Brown

    2. Two Offensive Tackles: Patrick Mahomes’ pass protection must improve as well. The tackle play was poor last year as well.

    3. Two Defensive Tackles: Only one defensive tackle is needed if Chris Jones is re-signed. Keeping Jones is obviously imperative. Re-signed Chris Jones

    4. Cornerback: L’Jarius Sneed is another major free agent who will need to be retained. Finding a new No. 1 cornerback will be difficult.

    5. Tight End: The Chiefs need to think about bringing in a future replacement for Travis Kelce as well, given that Kelce looked decrepit for most of the season.

    6. Backup Quarterback: Blaine Gabbert will be hitting free agency, but the Chiefs may want a better backup quarterback anyway.

    7. Punter: Tommy Townsend is set to hit free agency as well. Signed Matt Araiza

      Follow me @walterfootball for updates.

    2024 NFL Free Agent Signings:

    Kansas City Chiefs Free Agents:

    Salary Cap: TBA.

    NFL Free Agent Tracker:
    QB | RB | FB | WR | TE | OT | G | C | DE | DT | OLB | ILB | CB | S | K/P | FA Grades | FA Rumors

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