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Kansas City Chiefs
The Kansas City Chiefs have three all-world talents on their roster, and one of them is beginning to get the recognition he deserves following an outstanding 2022-23 regular season. It was announced on Wednesday morning that coming off arguably the best campaign of his career, Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones has been named a finalist for the AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year award.
The annual AP NFL Awards are designed to formally recognize some of the top players in the NFL, and a panel of 50 media members will vote every year for their picks. For the first time, however, voters will now be ranking their top five selections for Most Valuable Player and then their top three choices for every other award. For this season’s edition of the DPOY award, Jones is joined by San Francisco 49ers defensive lineman Nick Bosa and Dallas Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons.
Playing all 17 games for the Chiefs this season, Jones tied some of his career bests with 15.5 sacks and 29 quarterback hits. Additionally, he set a new career-high in tackles (44) while also batting down four passes and forcing a pair of fumbles. That, combined with him playing the best run defense of his career under defensive line coach Joe Cullen, was enough to earn Jones a first-team All-Pro distinction (another Associated Press award) for the first time in his career. To top it all off, Jones is a Pro Bowler for the fourth season in a row.
Jones faces some stiff competition, as Bosa led the league in sacks this season with 18.5 and Parsons logged 13.5 while also being one of the NFL’s best Swiss Army knives and covering for some deficiencies elsewhere on the Cowboys’ defense. Nonetheless, simply getting to the final three is a massive accomplishment for Jones even if he doesn’t end up winning. Whoever does win the award this year will be doing so for the first time in his respective career. The past three winners have been T.J. Watt, Aaron Donald and Stephon Gilmore.
Jones wasn’t the only Kansas City player to be named a finalist for an AP yearly award, though. In addition to being the leader for NFL MVP and getting named a finalist on Wednesday, quarterback Patrick Mahomes is officially one of four finalists for AP Offensive Player of the Year. He joins the trio of Miami Dolphins wide receiver Tyreek Hill, Minnesota Vikings wideout Justin Jefferson and Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts in eligibility.
Award winners will be announced at the NFL Honors ceremony on Feb. 9.