The Kansas City Chiefs defense has struggled over the last four years or so. Maybe even more, if we are being honest. However, I don’t need to tell you that, because as Chiefs fans, you already know. You have lived through the years where the Chiefs were 2-14, with defenses that couldn’t stop a cold.

While the defense hasn’t been the strong suit over the last few years, it is a slow, but constant improvement. Improving a side of the ball that needed nearly a complete restart is a process. That process is coming close to an end.

One player has lately has been on a journey of his own, or even a process, you could call it. Juan Thornhill is getting better, and it’s only a matter of time before he is a premier safety in this league.

Thornhill is Chiefs standout player in workouts

Thornhill was drafted in 2019 by the Chiefs, out of the University of Virginia. In his rookie year, he saw some adversity, as he tore his ACL in the regular season finale against the Chargers. That left Thornhill unable to help the Chiefs in their Super Bowl win.

“That’s the biggest thing for me to get back was just picking up where I left off, don’t move backward, move forwards, and keep getting better, and stacking up good days,” said Thornhill on his ACL injury.

Thornhill was great in his rookie year. Per Pro Football Focus, he finished with an overall grade of 71.5, and a pass coverage grade of 78. After the injury, he did take a step back. In his second year, Thornhill finished with a 52.8 overall grade, which was by far the worst season he has had.

Sitting out of the Super Bowl fueled Thornhill, as it should have.

“I was really happy for my teams, but it just made me more determined, more hungry, just because I wasn’t able to play in the playoffs with my teammates,” Thornhill explained after the Super Bowl. “And definitely, when I was at the Super Bowl watching, it was like I was so happy, but at the same time, it was eating me alive. I’m thinking, okay, three weeks ago I was healthy, I could have been playing with my teammates on that field, this is my dream, to play in the Super Bowl.”

Last season, Thornhill seemed to be back on the same track, as he upped the PFF grade to 70.2 overall, 69.8 in run defense, 63.2 in pass defense, and 68.8 in coverage defense.

According to ESPN’s Adam Teicher, Thornhill has been having a great off-season:

“Thornhill is healthy perhaps for the first time since tearing his ACL in his left knee as a rookie in 2019 and was impressive during off-season workouts. The Chiefs will ask more of him now that Tyrann Mathieu is gone, and Thornhill said he will respond with an All-Pro season.”

The Kansas City Chiefs may not have as much of a problem replacing Mathieu as we thought. If the former Virginia safety and newly acclimated safety Justin Reid can show signs of dominance, it will be scary for the rest of the league.

Thornhill is destined to get better, as the trend is in his favor. Now, we just need to see the play on the field match the murmurs at camp.

You can read the rest of the ESPN article, here.

Featured image via Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports