2. Juan Thornhill, Safety
Juan Thornhill is probably the player on this list that gets the most respect outside of Chiefs Kingdom. He started all 16 games as a rookie and was beginning to click on all cylinders down the stretch. Thornhill’s improved play down the back half of the season is a big reason why the Chiefs defense allowed the least amount of points per game to opposing offenses in weeks 11-17.
Thornhill, down the stretch, had really turned himself into one of the Chiefs’ best defenders. Unfortunately, he was hurt early on in the Chiefs’ final regular-season game of 2019 causing him to miss the playoffs. He finished the regular season with three interceptions and five passes defended.
Thornhill’s play onfield speaks for itself, but the reason why he is so good and the reason why he has superstar potential is his incredible athleticism. At last year’s NFL Combine Thornhill ran a blazing 4.42 40-yard dash and his 11’9″ broad jump tied him for the best of 2019.
The most incredible measurement of Thornhill’s combine, however, was his 44-inch vertical, which was within an inch of the all-time record. Additionally, of the six defensive backs to ever post a 44-inch vertical, none of them matched Thornhills 21 bench press reps.
These crazy athletic traits are often displayed on the football field. Thornhill often shows elite range at the free safety position, which is a result of being one of the most athletic safeties in the league. Thornhill, if at 100 percent health, will undoubtedly be pushing himself into the conversation with the league’s top safeties sooner rather than later.