Deandre Baker, CB
Deandre Baker didn’t make much of an impact during his first season with the Chiefs in 2020, playing in only two games. But he got more time on the field last year, when he recorded 16 tackles in eight games, which included making a Week 4 start against the Philadelphia Eagles.
It wasn’t the largest sample size of work, but Baker did well enough to receive a qualifying contract from Kansas City earlier this offseason, which he signed as an exclusive rights free agent. That doesn’t guarantee him a spot on the Chiefs’ 2022 roster, though, which is something Baker will have to earn in camp.
Kansas City replenished its cornerback group during the 2022 draft, adding Trent McDuffie (first round), Joshua Williams (fourth) and Jaylen Watson (seventh). McDuffie has a good chance of being a Week 1 starter alongside the returning L’Jarius Sneed. The Chiefs also return Rashad Fenton and acquired Lonnie Johnson Jr. in a trade with the Houston Texans.
It’s a crowded mix, and there will be quite a few corners needing to stand out in order to secure a roster spot. Baker doesn’t have a proven track record, so he’ll be among that group. If a bunch of rookies perform well and others take up spots, Baker could be on the roster bubble later in camp.
7. Kansas City Chiefs: +900 (bet $10 to win $100 total)
The Chiefs are in the toughest division in football, they lost their game-breaking offensive weapon (Hill) and tight end Travis Kelce turns 33 in October. There’s not a lot of room for error. Patrick Mahomes will need to be great.
Every year, the folks at ESPN select a date in the midst of the summer doldrums to highlight the past 12 months of the sports calendar with the annual ESPY Awards ceremony and gala that brings together some of the world’s greatest athletes in order to pay tribute to their accomplishments of the last year
This year, the ESPY Awards will feature a number of big-name presenters, including Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, who was announced as a participant on Monday.
Anthony Hitchens, LB
Off-ball linebackers often fly under the radar unless they really rack up the tackle numbers or find their way into the Pro Bowl. Anthony Hitchens has never been an all-star and has topped 100 tackles only once in his career.
However, Hitchens can be a valuable asset in run support. He has tallied no fewer than 78 tackles in any of the past six seasons and missed only 10 games during that span. In addition, Hitchens was quite adept in coverage in 2021.
Last year with the Kansas City Chiefs, Hitchens allowed an opposing passer rating of only 83.4 in coverage and was credited with only four missed tackles.
Around the NFL
While the football world spent its collective energy wringing hands over the ongoing Kyler Murray situation in Arizona, another issue surfaced in the desert when center Rodney Hudson didn’t show up for mandatory minicamp last month.
Hudson’s absence was unexcused, signaling a divide between the Cardinals and the veteran lineman. That conflict has apparently been resolved. Hudson has informed the team he is returning for the 2022 season and will be with veterans when they report to training camp on July 26, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported on Monday.
Ryan Switzer, a former standout receiver at North Carolina who had a five-year career in the NFL, has retired from football.
Switzer, who has not appeared in an NFL game since 2019, announced his decision Monday on Twitter.
Switzer spent the last two seasons in Cleveland, where he was on the practice squad while battling injuries.
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
Once again, the Kansas City Chiefs’ Travis Kelce is the top-rated tight end as a 98 overall player. That leaves only a small margin for Kelce to get back into the 99 Club, where he started (and stayed all season) last year for the “Madden 22” game.
Top 15 TEs in Madden NFL 23:
Travis Kelce: 98
George Kittle: 97
Mark Andrews: 93
Darren Waller: 91
TJ Hockenson: 89
Kyle Pitts: 87
Mike Gesicki: 86
Dallas Goedert: 85
Hunter Henry: 84
Zach Ertz: 84
Dawson Knox: 83
Tyler Higbee: 83
Dalton Schultz: 82
Noah Fant: 82
Evan Engram: 81
— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) July 18, 2022
Kelce is one year older, likely leading to his rating decreasing slightly. Kelce is still one of the better pass-catchers in the game, with a catching rating of 96.
Kelce is ranked as the third-best pass-catcher in the game, period — behind only Davante Adams and Cooper Kupp. There are only five players ahead of Kelce with a better catching rating in Adams, Stefon Diggs, Terry McLaurin, DeAndre Hopkins and Hunter Renfrow.