3 Ways the L'Jarius Sneed Trade Could Backfire on Chiefs

L'Jarius Sneed allowed just a 54.2 passer rating when targeted in 2023
L'Jarius Sneed allowed just a 54.2 passer rating when targeted in 2023 / Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
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L'Jarius Sneed is no longer a Chief as his trade and contract extension with the Tennessee Titans is official. Kansas City now must replace one of the NFL's best defenders as the organization tries to become the first in league history to win three consecutive Super Bowls.

There are plenty of intriguing options in the upcoming NFL Draft as well as free agents that could be brought in, though filling Sneed's outsized shoes is no easy task.

Brett Veach has a thin tightrope to walk, but what if things don't go according to plan? While I'm optimistic overall, there are reasons to be concerned that this trade could blow up in the Chiefs' face.

3 Ways the L'Jarius Sneed Trade Could Backfire

1. The Chiefs' Young Secondary Falters

Kansas City expects to lean heavily on Joshua Williams, Jaylen Watson and Nazeeh Johnson to replace Sneed initially. I anticipate the team will add at least one cornerback in the draft, though it'll take time for that player to develop, so that young trio will have the initial task of replacing Sneed.

All-Pro Trent McDuffie will take over as the No. 1 corner, though Sneed's ability to shadow opposing No. 1 receivers allowed McDuffie to roam freely and create big plays. If he's now forced to shadow or if Williams, Watson or Johnson get that task and fail, the Chiefs' secondary will be susceptible to passing attacks more than they were last year.

Williams was a fourth-round pick and seems likely to get the first crack at the starting job, though he played less than half the snaps that Sneed and McDuffie did last year. Watson and Johnson were both seventh-round picks, and there's a lot of pressure on a group of unproven players.

It's reasonable to expect the Chiefs to take a step back defensively a bit, though Williams has been impressive when on the field.

That being said, there's a big difference between being impressive in limited snaps and taking on the large role that Sneed played. If Williams struggles in shadow coverage, that'll force McDuffie to change his role and take away from what he does best.

We'll see what happens, but the play of these young players will have a major impact on Kansas City's defense in 2024-25.

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