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Analyst Ranks Chiefs' L’Jarius Sneed as a Top 5 Cornerback in the NFL

Andy Benoit of The 33rd Team has high praise for Sneed, the Chiefs' steady defensive back chess piece.

The Kansas City Chiefs' cornerback room was viewed as a resounding success in the 2022 season, and that was largely due to the emergence of multiple rookies in defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo's secondary. Veteran L'Jarius Sneed was also as steady as ever, though, which played a key role in Kansas City's defense improving as the year went along. Now, Sneed is receiving some praise of his own.

In a recent article ranking the top nine cornerbacks in the NFL, Andy Benoit of The 33rd Team had a somewhat surprising inclusion: Sneed. Not only did he put the 26-year-old on his list, however, but he ranked Sneed as the fifth-best corner in all of football. Here's what Benoit had to say:

Few units are as underappreciated as the Kansas City Chiefs cornerbacks, and L’Jarius Sneed is the group’s key player. Sneed can travel anywhere, playing man and zone outside (like every corner) and inside (like almost no other corners). He is a physical run defender and blitzer, leading all NFL cornerbacks with 103 tackles and 18 pressures in 2022.

Sneed is in a contract year, and the Chiefs have an outstanding trio of second-year corners in Trent McDuffie (first-round pick), Joshua Williams (fourth-round pick) and Jaylen Watson (seventh-round pick). After this season, it will be interesting to see what happens with the 26-year-old veteran.

Benoit is justified in mentioning Sneed's versatility on defense. He's capable of functioning in a variety of coverage styles and roles, doing so with proficiency in 2022. According to Pro Football Focus, the 2020 fourth-round pick spent 546 snaps in the slot, 361 on the outside, 117 in the box and 78 along the outside of the defensive line. His 18 pressures and 13 hurries were career-high marks, as were his four sacks and two passes batted down near the line of scrimmage. 

Sneed's success didn't stop there. On PFF's leaderboard of cornerbacks with at least 50% of maximum snaps played in 2022, Sneed ranked fifth in pass-rush grade. Additionally, he was 12th in overall defense, 20th in coverage and 31st in run defense. His ability to do a little bit of everything was undoubtedly a plus for Spagnuolo's unit and while Sneed is dealing with some knee inflammation during training camp and the preseason, he's expected to deliver with another big season in 2023. Benoit's ranking is a testament to Sneed's profile and upside in the biggest year of his career thus far. 

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