Which Kansas City Chiefs Need To Make a Jump the Most in 2021?

Heading into this season, there are plenty of Chiefs who would benefit from stepping their respective games up.
Publish date:

There's always room to improve, no matter how successful you are. The same concept applies to the Chiefs, a team that's reached the highest of highs in the sport within the past couple of years. While Andy Reid's bunch was able to get back to the Super Bowl last season, they couldn't quite finish the ultimate job. 

Expectations, for some, can be crippling. Others rise to the occasion and show what they're truly made of when needed most. Hopefully for the Kansas City Chiefs, the latter proves to be the case for some of their young players.

Some have underachieved relative to their draft positions. Some dealt with nagging injuries. Some simply haven't seen the field often enough to make a huge impact. At any rate, Arrowhead Report's Conner Christopherson joined me on today's Roughing the Kicker podcast to list a few Chiefs who are in desperate need of better 2021 seasons. 

On offense, Mecole Hardman is facing as much pressure as anyone on the team. The third-year wide receiver is an explosive threat but hasn't yet been able to establish himself as a reliable down-to-down option. He might get that chance this season and if he does, his progression will be put under a microscope.

Safety Juan Thornhill, drafted just seven picks after Hardman in 2019, is heading into a huge season as well. After rehabbing from a torn ACL and looking sluggish early in the 2020 campaign, he looked much more comfortable down the stretch. As the Chiefs attempt to piece together a formidable secondary, Thornhill will be a major component of that group.

As far as sophomores go, running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire and linebacker Willie Gay Jr. should benefit from some added experience in their respective systems. Edwards-Helaire's rookie season was an up-and-down year, and Gay didn't play as many snaps as some had initially hoped. Both players could be in for much more successful 2021 seasons. 

No matter how much veteran star power the Chiefs have, they'll always need contributions from recent draft classes. Some members of the 2019 and 2020 units are locked in, healthy and provided with golden opportunities to thrive in 2021. Pressure creates diamonds, and it could generate career-best production from some of the team's brightest young talents. 

Read More: Patrick Mahomes on LeBron/Jordan Comparisons with Tom Brady: 'It's Still Early'

For more daily Kansas City Chiefs coverage, subscribe to the Roughing the Kicker Chiefs Podcast on your preferred streaming platform.

Subscribe to Roughing the Kicker on YouTube for exclusive content and previews of each episode before they drop.

Want to get involved in the RTK community? Tweet using #RTKPod with questions and comments.