Teams like the Kansas City Chiefs are difficult to prepare for. Incidentally, those teams are also known for their roster depth and players that fill specific roles. So far, we have seen astute pass coverage on the outside from the cornerbacks, as well as gladly found pass rushers from the UDFA class. Today, we will hit on some underrated Chiefs players that have surprised so far and why they will be important for the team’s second half stretch.
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Bashaud Breeland, Cornerback
We saw an inspiring start from rookie fourth round pick L’Jarius Sneed. Unfortunately, a collarbone injury halted his impressive September. The Chiefs were pleased to get Bashaud Breeland back from a four game suspension. He has easily exceeded expectations.
Just in pass coverage, Breeland has the best completion percentage allowed on Kansas City’s defense (47.6%). Meanwhile, Pro Football Focus has him ranked second among cornerbacks in passer rating allowed (24.3). He can be an asset in man coverage, because of his physical style and length. Even against the run, Breeland is one of the Chiefs better tackling defensive backs. Last year we saw glimpses of how important he could be on the outside from time to time. However, this season has seen more steady play. Breeland has been less penalized in pass coverage reps, and his game changing plays have been more consistent. In order to continue his hot start, the Chiefs must continue to let Breeland stay on top of routes. Whether it is in man or zone, he can clamp on a route sufficiently, as long as he uses his length and keeps his feet active.
Tershawn Wharton, Defensive Tackle
If the nation does not know about Tershawn Wharton, they may get to learn about him soon enough. Coming out of small school Missouri S&T, he turned heads in training camp due to his effort and technique. Even a tad undersized, Wharton has shown superior athleticism against opposing blockers. Not only has he won reps with the pass rush, but Wharton has also been essential in the Chiefs slightly improved run defense.
Across the last three games, he has registered seven total tackles, a tackle for loss, a sack, a fumble recovery and a forced fumble. Pro Football Focus has noticed this stellar play, and even named Wharton to their Midseason All-Rookie Team.
Here is what they wrote about him. “Wharton has been quite the find for the Chiefs this season as a sub-package player. The undersized defensive tackle has received a bigger role in the past three weeks and responded with eight pressures over that span. He plays with terrific leverage and already has 10 stops in the run game on 91 run defense snaps, as well.”
The team has also praised Wharton for his work ethic and understanding of the defensive scheme. In order to continue his hot start, the Chiefs need to continue to give him increased snaps. Having that added pass rush presence to worry about, along with Chris Jones and Frank Clark, could open up plenty of continued opportunities for pressuring opposing quarterbacks.
Daniel Sorensen, Safety/Linebacker
While it took an extended period of time, Daniel Sorensen has found a role in the Chiefs defense. He is primarily used as a buck linebacker. Overall, Sorensen’s instincts and anticipation have been a part of his game that has rapidly improved. Think back to the AFC Divisional Playoff Game from last January. Sorensen was able to read and react swiftly on a Houston fake punt attempt. That largely got the Kansas City Chiefs rolling in a miracle comeback win.
This season, Sorensen has surprised quarterbacks with how he’s read or jumped onto certain routes. While teams provide a lot of weapons to stop on his plate, the BYU product has continued to improve in his underrated role in the box, or near the line of scrimmage. In order to continue his hot start, the Chiefs would be wise to let Sorensen work close to the line of scrimmage and in the box. Teams will want to test him deep, but let that role be given upon some other defensive backs. Down low, Sorensen can use his awareness to clog up throwing windows in zone coverage, an area that Kansas City is looking to improve in during the second half.
Nick Allegretti, Guard
The former seventh round pick out of Illinois, Nick Allegretti, has responded well to increased playing time. Ever since Andy Reid shook the offensive line up following the loss to the Raiders, Allegretti has improved week to week. His presence when run blocking has resulted to constant movement up the field against defensive linemen.
His power and athletic ability combine for a strong depth piece, following the loss of Kelechi Osemele due to injury. Allegretti has rarely been penalized, and his pass blocking reps are improving. The length and added leverage was missing once Osemele went down. Largely, Allegretti has been the perfect man for the job. In order to continue his hot start, the Chiefs must ride him in the running attack late in games. Let Clyde Edwards-Helaire or Le’Veon Bell have easy decisions to make, by letting Allegretti continued to show off his athletic ability with kick out or pulling action. Lastly, Allegretti can be a versatile piece in pass blocking assignments.
Be on the lookout for more FPC Chiefs articles during the week. For more great sports and NFL content, stay tuned to Full Press Coverage.
– Braden Holecek is the Kansas City Chiefs managing editor for Full Press Coverage. He covers the NFL. Like and follow on Follow @ebearcat9//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js Follow @FPC_Chiefs//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js and Facebook.