NFL: Sneed snags all-rookie team recognition

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Minden’s L’Jarius Sneed is making the most of his rookie season with the defending Super Bowl Champions. The Kansas City Chiefs’ fourth-round selection out of Louisiana Tech catapulted himself into the spotlight in the first game of the NFL season with a 39-yard interception return in his pro debut.

Sneed then added another INT in Week 2 to lead the league in picks. And despite playing in nine regular-season games due to a broken collarbone suffered in Week 3, the Chiefs cornerback has burst onto the scene with 41 tackles (31 solo), two tackles for loss, two sacks, seven passes defended and three interceptions.

His biggest game of the season came against Drew Brees and the Saints, where the 24-year-old not only intercepted the NFL’s all-time leading passer, but also placed him on the ground for a sack in the Chiefs’ Week 15 win over New Orleans.

Kansas City Chiefs defensive back L’Jarius Sneed (38) during the NFL football game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Houston Texans at Arrowhead Stadium on September 10, 2020.

Sneed’s play-making brilliance has carried over into the postseason, recording a sack on Baker Mayfield for an 8-yard loss to set the tone in the Chiefs’ AFC divisional round victory over the Cleveland Browns last Sunday.

For his stellar season to date, Sneed has been named to the Pro Football Writers of America all-rookie team along with Chiefs punter Tommy Townsend. Joining Sneed in the secondary is fellow cornerback Cameron Dantzler of the Minnesota Vikings.

Sneed was also named to the Pro Football Focus annual all-rookie team, too. And according to PFF analyst Ben Linsey, his first-year numbers place him at the top of all corners in the league.

“From a statistical standpoint, no rookie cornerback came close to matching the season that Sneed had for the Chiefs,” explained Linsey.  “He allowed just 214 passing yards into his coverage on 45 targets, and those targets yielded a passer rating of just 53.4 — third-lowest of any cornerback to be targeted at least 30 times this season behind only Bryce Callahan (46.9) and Xavien Howard (53.0).

Kansas City Chiefs defensive back L’Jarius Sneed (38) during the NFL football game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Houston Texans at Arrowhead Stadium on September 10, 2020.

“Sneed also showed the ability to play both outside (164 snaps) and inside in the slot (171 snaps) with different roles before and after an injury that held him out from Week 4 through Week 10.”

The Chiefs (15-2) host the Buffalo Bills (15-3) for the AFC Championship on Sunday. The winner will advance to Super Bowl LV to face off against the NFC champion at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. on Feb. 7.

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