2. S Juan Thornhill
This one comes with a bit of a disclaimer. That’s because a torn ACL suffered in the team’s Week 17 home win over the Chargers shelved one of the league’s top rookie defenders for the entire 2019 postseason.
A second-round pick last April from the University of Virginia, safety Juan Thornhill was a 16-game starter for the eventual Super Bowl LIV champion Chiefs. But that aforementioned knee injury kept him out of the entire postseason and the former Cavalier is now on the mend. Via NFL Network’s James Palmer, the team is expecting him to be ready for the start of 2020.
As for his performance this past season, he was a 16-game starter for Andy Reid’s team. He finished fifth on the team with 57 tackles, totaled five passes defensed and came up with three interceptions – including a 46-yard return for a touchdown in Kansas City’s 40-9 win over the visiting Raiders in Week 13.
It took a little while for the Chiefs’ defense to get their act together in 2019 but this unit was much better overall than the previous year. Reid’s club allowed only 308 points this past season, quite the improvement from their 2018 campaign (421). And Thornhill was one of many big reasons for that improvement.