As many as 92 players could see the field in Super Bowl LIV next week in Miami, but most will be relegated to peripheral roles. Here are the top-25 players slated to suit up on Super Bowl Sunday for the Kansas City Chiefs (11) and San Francisco 49ers (14):
25. Chiefs DT Derrick Nnadi: He doesn’t get as much attention as Chris Jones up front for Kansas City, but the underrated 23-year-old is a stout run defender who makes life a lot easier for the rest of the Chiefs’ defensive line.
24. 49ers LB Kwon Alexander: Healthy again, the big-money 2019 free-agent addition is a versatile tackle machine.
23. 49ers LB Fred Warner: The 23-year-old has already become the heart and soul of San
Francisco’s jacked defense, just as experts from Guts predicted earlier..
22. Chiefs G Laurent Duvernay-Tardif: The steady veteran is coming of a bit of an off year, but has performed extremely well in the playoffs.
21. 49ers WR Emmanuel Sanders: The veteran receiver has proved to be a superb mid-season pickup. He disappears at times because the 49ers lean so heavily on the run, but the 32-year-old went over 500 yards in 10 games with the team this season.
20. 49ers RB Tevin Coleman: His elbow injury is worth monitoring, because Coleman is a strong all-around back with big-game experience. He had 105 yards and two touchdowns in the divisional round.
19. Chiefs OT Eric Fisher: The 2018 Pro Bowler and former No. 1 overall pick was hampered by injury this season, but he’s been fantastic down the stretch.
18. Chiefs WR Sammy Watkins: The former top-five pick has never fully lived up to expectations in the NFL, but he has 190 receiving yards in two playoff games this month.
17. 49ers WR Deebo Samuel: The rookie second-round pick put together three 100-yard games in the second half of the season and has become a vital part of the San Francisco offense.
16. 49ers OT Joe Staley: The veteran blind-side protector has bounced back from an injury-plagued regular season, and is coming off a massive performance in the NFC championship game.
15. Chiefs OT Mitchell Schwartz: The 2018 first-team All-Pro was again fantastic as both a pass protector and a run blocker in 2019, and is also coming off a stellar January. He’s the steadiest offensive lineman in this game.
14. 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo: Jimmy G hardly had to do anything at all in San Francisco’s NFC title game victory over Green Bay, but he was remarkably clutch and had some huge games down the stretch in a breakout season. He’s not a superstar yet, but he’s close.
13. 49ers CB Richard Sherman: The 31-year-old’s experience is critical, but he’s also performed like an elite corner on a weekly basis all season. He really revived his career with three interceptions in a Pro Bowl 2019 campaign.
12. 49ers RB Raheem Mostert: The former journeyman is coming off one of the most productive games in NFL playoff history. And it’s not as though that came out of nowhere — he averaged 6.1 yards per game in the final six games of the regular season.
11. 49ers edge Dee Ford: The former Chief had his debut season in San Francisco disrupted by injury, but his experience helps and he’s performed well these playoffs. Ford was a Pro Bowler with Kansas City in 2018.
10. Chiefs edge Frank Clark: Ford’s replacement in K.C. also had some trouble with injury in 2019, but he still managed to make the Pro Bowl, and he has six sacks in his last four games.
9. 49ers DT DeForest Buckner: The 2018 Pro Bowler was a critical piece of San Francisco’s stacked defensive front again in 2019.
8. 49ers DE Arik Armstead: The 2015 first-round pick finally broke out in 2019 with 10 sacks in an oft-dominant campaign.
7. Chiefs S Tyrann Mathieu: The Honey Badger really came on late in the year and has been a force in the playoffs. He’s one of the league’s most versatile defensive backs, and he has top-notch play-making ability.
6. Chiefs DT Chris Jones: The 2019 Pro Bowler hasn’t been very healthy, but he’s still been dominant inside as both a pass rusher and a run defender. He’s Kansas City’s best defensive player.
5. Chiefs WR Tyreek Hill: The ridiculously speedy wide receiver is a matchup nightmare for defensive coordinators. He’s been to the Pro Bowl in all four of his NFL campaigns, and he’s coming off a two-touchdown game against Tennessee.
4. 49ers TE George Kittle: The fourth-best player in this game isn’t even the best tight end in this game, which is pretty amazing. Kittle, though, might be the second-best tight end in the NFL. Kittle’s an All-Pro coming off a second consecutive 1,000-yard season. He’s a game-changer.
3. 49ers edge Nick Bosa: The rookie No. 2 overall pick is just 22 years old, but he’s already one of the best defensive players in football. He had nine sacks and 25 quarterback hits in a wildly successful 2019 campaign.
2. Chiefs TE Travis Kelce: He had an even bigger season than Kittle and has been a Pro Bowl in each of the last five years. Kelce is borderline unstoppable, as we saw when he put up 134 yards and three touchdowns against the Texans in the divisional playoffs.
1. Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes: The 24-year-old was the 2018 MVP, and is the highest-rated passer in NFL history among quarterbacks with at least 1,000 attempts. He has a 131.5 rating in two legendary playoff games, and is almost inarguably the best player in the entire league.