L’Jarius Sneed has been revelatory for Kansas City’s defense

The Big Game

KANSAS CITY, Mo (KMSS/KTAL) – “The sky is the limit for this young man.”

The young man in question? Kansas City Chiefs defensive back L’Jarius Sneed. The fourth-round pick in 2020 has been a revelation for the Chiefs defense, grading out as Pro Football Focus’s top rookie defensive back and making the PFF All-Rookie First Team. Simply put, when Sneed is on the field for the Chiefs, he’s one of their best defensive players. Sneed’s defensive back coach in college, Jeff Burris, thinks Sneed hasn’t even scratched the surface of what he can become.

“When (Coach Skip Holtz) recruited me to Louisiana Tech, he told me about L’Jarius,” said Burris, who played in the NFL for a decade with three different franchises. “When I met (L’Jarius), the first thing I told him was, ‘You’re an NFL corner.’ I fully believe in the next year or so, he can be one of the top guys in this league.”

TAMPA, FLORIDA – NOVEMBER 29: Bashaud Breeland #21 and L’Jarius Sneed #38 of the Kansas City Chiefs react following a play during their game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium on November 29, 2020 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
ORCHARD PARK, NY – OCTOBER 5: Conrnerback Jeff Burris #21 of the Cincinnati Bengals looks on prior to a game against the Buffalo Bills on October 5, 2003 at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, New York. Burris played ten seasons in the NFL for three franchises (Buffalo Bills, Indianapolis Colts, Cincinnati Bengals). Burris finished his third season as the defensive back coach for Louisiana Tech in 2020.

Burris saw first hand how versatile Sneed could be in college. During Sneed’s senior season, a defensive scheme change pushed Sneed from corner to safety. “His responsibilities completely changed,” said Burris. “Safety, you’re calling the defense, you’re reading motions, you’re making sure people are lined up correctly and you’re covering the slot. Sneed embraced all of it.”

The ability to play inside and out has made Sneed a commodity in Kansas City. He’s spent 277 snaps in the slot as a nickel corner and 182 snaps on the outside, shining in both spots. Sunday in the AFC Championship game, Sneed recorded five total tackles, four solo, and a sack before exiting the game in the third quarter with a concussion.

“We still text every week,” said Burris. “We have a good relationship and I’m excited for him. If he puts in that extra work, he can be a Pro Bowl guy in the next year or two.”

Sneed recorded 41 total tackles, 31 solo, three interceptions and two sacks during nine games during the regular season. Currently Sneed is in concussion protocol and his status is unknown for Super Bowl 55 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

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