3 Underrated Chiefs Stepping Into Huge Roles in 2024

Leo Chenal had six tackles and a sack in the Super Bowl win over the 49ers
Leo Chenal had six tackles and a sack in the Super Bowl win over the 49ers / Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
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The Chiefs managed to keep most of their key contributors from last year's Super Bowl team, though there were some inevitable departures leaving holes that must be filled.

Kansas City has done a tremendous job in recent years identifying young talent that can step up, and this season we'll see some of those players step into their own in a larger role. L'Jarius Sneed and Willie Gay Jr. are both gone, with several other key changes prompting adjustments as well.

Even if not every face is the same, the goal is. Here's a look at three underrated Chiefs who need to step up for the team to make history:

3 Underrated Chiefs Stepping Into Huge Roles

1. Leo Chenal - LB

Nick Bolton and Drue Tranquill figure to lead the linebackers in snaps, but someone needs to replace Willie Gay Jr. and Leo Chenal is the next man up. He came on strong at the end of the season and should be a major factor for Steve Spagnuolo's defense.

The 2022 third-round pick out of Wisconsin had six tackles and a forced fumble in the Super Bowl despite playing only 31% of the snaps. In a larger role, he could wreck havoc like he did with 10 tackles and a sack against Denver in Week 8 with a season-high 69% of snaps.

On the season, Chenal piled up 65 tackles, seven QB hits and three sacks. He allowed 16 catches for 126 yards in coverage though added 11 pressures.

His college profile from Wisconsin suits the Chiefs well. During his junior year, Chenal compiled 115 tackles with 8.5 sacks in just 11 games. He's been waiting in the wings and now gets an opportunity to deliver on the promise that made him the No. 103 pick.

Tranquill signed a three-year contract extension in the offseason, though Bolton is a pending free agent. I'd guess that Kansas City re-signs Bolton but a breakout season for Chenal could change that calculus.