2021 REVIEW (INCLUDING PLAYOFFS)
Kicker Harrison Butker:
29-for-33 field goals, 87.9 FG percentage
4-for-4 at 20-29 yards
12-for-12 at 30-39 yards
6-for-7 at 40-49 yards
7-for-10 at 50-59 yards
59-for-62 extra points, 95.2 XP percentage
Longest: 56 yards
Defensive end Alex Okafor:
1 field goal block (Week 9 vs. Packers)
Opponent field goals:
24-for-28 field goals, 85.7 FG percentage
44-for-47 extra points, 93.6 XP percentage
The Chiefs had a pretty good field goal and extra point crew in 2021. Butker ranked 11th in field goal percentage and 13th in extra point percentage among qualified kickers during the regular season. Three of his four misses (postseason included) came at 50+ yards, but he was mostly a reliable kicker from that range. Butker also didn’t have any of his attempts blocked which implies that his protection was solid. That fits with the fact that the Chiefs had one of the NFL’s top offensive lines last season.
On the FG/XP blocking side, the Chiefs were close to the league median in opponent field goal percentage. Okafor was the only Chief to successfully knock down a field goal, with defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi getting the scoop.
Butker returns for his sixth NFL season in 2022. He has been one of the NFL’s most reliable kickers since 2017, with an 89.4 FG percentage during his career (playoffs included).
There is, however, some room for improvement in Butker’s game. He struggles most with 50+ yard kicks and, surprisingly, extra points, although he has improved at both compared to 2018 and 2019. The best thing Butker can do this season is fill in the gaps in those areas and solidify himself as one of the league’s best kickers.
Butker’s protection should continue to be solid in 2022. The majority of field goal protection snaps last season went to long snapper James Winchester, offensive guards Trey Smith, Creed Humphrey, Joe Thuney, Andrew Wylie and Nick Allegretti, left tackle Orlando Brown Jr., and tight ends Blake Bell and Noah Gray. All of those players will return in 2022 (though Bell will miss time due to injury), which should make for a more experienced and cohesive unit.
The field goal blocking subunit will actually look quite different in 2022. Several players earned FG blocking snaps last season who are no longer on the team, including Okafor, linebackers Dorian O’Daniel, Ben Niemann and Anthony Hitchens, safeties Armani Watts and Daniel Sorensen, receiver Marcus Kemp and cornerback Mike Hughes.
The team will replace much of this subunit’s production with its incoming barrage of rookies and defensive additions. I’d expect defensive end George Karlaftis, linebackers Leo Chenal, Elijah Lee and Darius Harris, safeties Bryan Cook and Deon Bush, and receiver Justin Watson to earn FG blocking snaps, among others. Returning players like defensive linemen Derrick Nnadi, Mike Danna and Tershawn Wharton should continue to earn work with this subunit.