SPARQ Notes: Chiefs 2017 draft recap

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From the FanPosts. So much good info here. -Joel

The 2017 Draft is a wrap and it's time to welcome six new Kansas City Chiefs. This year's draft largely fell in line with what we've come to expect from General Manager John Dorsey. Once again, the Chiefs took a number of prospects with elite athletic tools who may need some time to develop. When you have one of the best teaching coaching staffs in the NFL this is a wise course of action and has thus far been a key component of the Chiefs success. By now I'm sure most are familiar with SPARQ (for those that are not our history with the metric is outlined here), which is a composite metric designed to identify great all around athletic specimens. As always SPARQ is only one piece of the scouting puzzle and tells you nothing about football skills. All SPARQ data is from 3 Sigma Athlete.

Round 1 (Pick 10): QB Patrick Mahomes, Texas Tech

Height: 6'2" Weight: 225 lbs Arm Length: 33.25" Hand Size: 9.25"

40 YD Dash: 4.80 3-Cone: 6.88 Short Shuttle: 4.08

Vertical Jump: 30" Broad Jump: 114" Bench Press: N/A

pSPARQ: 106.6 Z-Score: 0.5 NFL Percentile: 70.1 Class Rank: 14/89

We finally got a QBOTF!!! With Alex Smith in house and no pressure to throw Mahomes' to the wolves Year 1 we've got the perfect situation to develop a young signal caller. Say what you will about the 2017 QB class but at this point, it seems clear that some of the greatest offensive minds in the NFL targeted Mahomes, when you have the interest of Andy Reid, Sean Payton, and Bruce Arians that's a hell of an endorsement.

Tape is far more important than SPARQ or other metrics for Quarterback evaluations, and MNChiefsfan and KelcieKrazies have both done wonderful breakdowns on Mahomes, so I'll just add a few notes here. From an athletic standpoint, Mahomes is a solidly above average athlete for the NFL. Particularly interesting are his exceptional performances in the Short Shuttle (top performer among QBs at the combine) and 3-Cone (third best amongst combine QBs). This exceptional agility and short area quickness may help explain some of Mahomes exclusivity in the pocket and ability to keep plays alive using his legs. When coupled with his innate ability to keep his eyes downfield while avoiding pressure, Mahomes is capable of making huge plays where most QBs simply tuck and run. It's a skill set reminiscent of Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson.

Mahomes may have the most arm talent of any QB prospect to come out in the last several years. His arm strength is outstanding. At the Combine, Mahomes boasted one of the highest throwing velocity's with a maximum velocity of 60 mph and 55 mph throws to both his right and left (very unusual for QBs to have the same velocity throwing in either direction). This is tied for the highest velocity recorded at the combine in the 10 years it's been collected (Logan Thomas and Bryan Bennett) and comes in just ahead of notably strong arms of Colin Kaepernick, Tyler Bray, Paxton Lynch, and Kirk Cousins at 59 mph. Mahomes may not be pro-ready Day 1 but he's among the most talented pure passers to come out in several years.

The similarities in Mahomes to game to some of the greats is obvious. While many draw the comparison to Favre, I see a lot of Aaron Rodgers in Mahomes game. It's also worth noting that Mahomes gunslinger skillset may be even more valuable in the modern NFL than it was in Favre's day. With the evolution of pass interference rules it's increasingly advantageous to take deep shots. Even if the pass is not completed there's always a strong chance the WR can draw a pass interference penalty which is a spot foul. It's the nature of how the game is evolving.

Round 2 (Pick 59): DE Tanoh Kpassagnon, Villanova

Height: 6'7" Weight: 289 lbs Arm Length: 35.6" Hand Size: 10.62"

40 YD Dash: 4.83 3-Cone: 7.46 Short Shuttle: 4.62

Vertical Jump: 30" Broad Jump: 128" Bench Press: 23 Reps

pSPARQ: 126.7 Z-Score: 1.1 NFL Percentile: 86.7 Class Rank: 3/139

Kpassagnon has terrorized the Colonial Athletic Conference the last two seasons with 9.5 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks in 2015. In 2016 Kpasagnon was named a first-team All American by the Associated Press after ranking sixth in the FCS with 21.5 tackles for loss and fifth nationally with 11 sacks. Kpassagnon was the best player on the Villanova defense and drew frequent double teams from opposing offenses. He uses his length well and has steadily improved pad level. He is often simply too much for opposing offensive linemen to handle and capable of rag-dolling opposing players. He's an athletic specimen on the field.

Athletically let's start off by pointing out the obvious. Most 289 pound defensive ends don't look like this...


That's four percent body fat folks. This is a genuine genetic freak. Kpassagnon has insane length at 6'7 with freakishly long 35.6" arms. Kpassagnon is in the mid-90th percentile for Height, Arm Length, and Hand Size. That's the kind of length NFL GM's drool over. Last year when I profiled Chris Jones as a potential fit for KC we discussed some of the limitations of SPARQ when it comes to defensive lineman with extraordinary length (not that kind):

Note that SPARQ isn't perfect, it does miss on some guys like Calais Campbell. The counterpoint is that the major thing that sets Campbell apart is his massive frame and incredible length; as mentioned earlier SPARQ accounts for neither. This holds particularly true for Bench Press where long arms are a disadvantage It's important to recognize the limitations of the metric and prospects with ideal length deserve some special consideration.

This context makes Kpassagnon's outstanding 86.7th percentile SPARQ score all the more impressive. Guys that large aren't supposed to be that explosive, strong, and agile. Kpassagnon's 128" broad jump is crazy good putting him in 97th percentile of NFL defensive linemen and indicates outstanding burst and explosion (as does an impressive 4.83 40-yard dash), interesting his vertical is good but less impressive (lack of specific training for drill?). Kpassagnon also dazzled in the field drills at the combine (watch here), guys that big aren't supposed to move that fluidly in space. The potential here is through the roof.

The closest sim score for Kpassagnon is Baylor's Shawn Oakman at 89.4 percent. Oakman, a similarly shredded 287 pounder, was seen as a late first to second round prospect in 2016 before he was arrested for sexual assault. Kpassagnon unlike Oakman, has been a model student and community member. Here's how Kpassagnon stacks up to some other Chiefs and NFL freaks:


Round 3 (Pick 86): RB Kareem Hunt, Toledo

Height: 5'10" Weight: 216 lbs Arm Length: 31.5" Hand Size: 9.625"

40 YD Dash: 4.6 3-Cone: 7.22 Short Shuttle: 4.53

Vertical Jump: 36.5" Broad Jump: 119" Bench Press: 18 Reps

pSPARQ: 114.0 Z-Score: -0.6 NFL Percentile: 27.7 Class Rank: 64/163

Kareem Hunt had a phenomenally productive career at Toledo breaking many of Chester Taylor's career records. While limited athletically Hunt is surprisingly elusive racking up 98 missed tackles in 2016. He has incredible balance and has a knack for staying on his feet through contact. He reads blocks well and has great vision. Ball security is exceptional as Hunt only fumbled once in his college career. He's a smooth and natural receiver out of the backfield. These are all incredibly important traits for success at the running back position. Hunt is a polished and pro-ready prospect.

The knock on Hunt is that he is a below average athlete coming in at just the 27th percentile for NFL running backs. He lacks breakaway speed and will not be a home run threat. The vertical and broad jump were his best performances, these explosion metrics indicate good burst. The hope for Hunt is that his vision, patience, and elusiveness are enough to overcome his athletic limitations.

Interestingly Hunt very closely fits into a particular athletic profile of NFL running backs. He has a 99 percent similarity score with 2016 fourth round pick and current Baltimore Ravens Running Back Kenneth Dixon. Other backs who fit this same profile? Kansas City's own Spencer Ware (92.1%) and former / current New England Patriots running backs Jonas Gray (91.3 percent) and Stevan Ridley (91.3 percent). This is an athletic profile that's had success at the NFL level and when coupled with Hunt's vision, balance and patience bode well for his NFL chances.

Round 4 (Pick 139): WR Jehu Chesson, Michigan

Height: 6'3" Weight: 204 lbs Arm Length: 33.25" Hand Size: 9.125"

40 YD Dash: 4.46 3-Cone: 6.70 Short Shuttle: 4.09

Vertical Jump: 39.5" Broad Jump: 132" Bench Press: 13 Reps

pSPARQ: 129.5 Z-Score: 1.2 NFL Percentile: 88.6 Class Rank: 14/285

Chesson had a breakout year for the Michigan Wolverines in 2015 in Jim Harbaugh's pro-style system. Chesson finished the year with 50 catches for 764 yards and nine touchdowns. He was named Michigan’s Most Valuable Player and received first-team All-Big 10 honors. He was also named the MVP of the Citrus Bowl after posting five receptions for 118 yards and a TD while matched up on future top 15 draft pick Vernon Hargreaves. Chesson tore his PCL in the bowl game and spent much of the offseason rehabbing. For 2015 Michigan had a new QB who developed a rapport with WR Amara Darboh and Chesson's statistical performance took a step back. This caused Chesson's draft stock to fall, as before the 2015 season he was seen as a potential first or second round talent. Chesson has incredible hands (his combine gauntlet drill is a good watch) and a large catch radius and is more pro-ready than most after playing four years at Michigan for Jim Harbaugh. He's also got impressive speed and athletic ability and in addition to playing outside WR, Harbaugh used Chesson in the return game for Michigan.

Jehu Chesson possesses a very intriguing blend of size, speed, and athleticism. A mid 4.4 40-yard dash is blazing for a nearly 6'3 wide receiver (unless your super freak Chris Conley and run 4.36). An 11' broad jump and 39.5" vertical are both indicative of elite explosion. What's perhaps most intriguing about Chesson's athletic profile, however, are his agility drills his short shuttle puts him in the 91st percentile of NFL WR's and 3-Cone in the 73rd, for a tall lanky WR those are impressive numbers. His numbers are solid across the board; this is top tier athlete more than 1.2 standard deviations above the mean for an NFL wide receiver on SPARQ. Chesson's overall athletic profile compares favorably to 37th overall pick, and sixth ranked SPARQ-lete, Zay Jones with a 82.9 percent sim score. Athletically, Chesson fits the profile of a No. 1 WR.

Round 5 (Pick 183): ILB Ukeme Eligwe, Georgia Southern

Height: 6'1.5" Weight: 234 lbs Arm Length: 33" Hand Size: N/A

40 YD Dash: 4.58 3-Cone: 7.16 Short Shuttle: 4.4

Vertical Jump: 34" Broad Jump: 123" Bench Press: 25 Reps

pSPARQ: 124.6 Z-Score: 0.3 NFL Percentile: 61.6 Class Rank: 32/271

Eligwe may have finished his career in the Sun Belt Conference with Georgia Southern but it didn't start there. Eligwe started his career as a highly touted blue-chip recruit with the Florida State Seminoles. Eligwe was recruited to Florida State as a four star prospect and the No. 2 4-3 outside linebacker prospect in the nation (No. 44 Overall). Eligwe was a special teams standout for the Seminoles as a redshirt freshman during their 2013 National Championship run, tying the team lead for kick return stops. He also saw time situationally at SAM Linebacker and defensive end. Eligwe broke his foot early on in the 2014 campaign and after a failing a drug test found himself kicked out of the program.

Eligwe enrolled at Georgia Southern but NCAA requirements forced him to sit out the 2015 season. In one year as a starter at Georgia Southern Eligwe showed why he was once one of the most sought-after players in the nation showcasing sideline to sideline speed and impressive burst. Clearly the best athlete on the field for Georgia Southern, Eligwe looked capable in coverage and showed off ability as a blitzer making Chad Kelly quite familiar with the turf when they squared off against Ole Miss. Eligwe's development was hampered by injuries and his own mistakes but his best football may lie ahead the athletic pedigree is there.

Eligwe boasts a lean athletic frame and very long 33" arms. He's a prototype for the new breed smaller more athletic of NFL linebacker. A natural fit on the weakside (who gets to learn from the guy who helped define the prototype) in 3-4. Eligwe's speed is very real. His 4.58 40-yard dash would have tied him with LSU's Duke Riley for No. 1 amongst inside linebacker prospects at the NFL combine. Eligwe's overall athletic profile compares favorably to a number of the drafts top ILB prospects:

athletic profile

Eligwe's speed and explosion metrics are almost identical to those of Duke Riley, though his agility numbers fall a bit short. He's a bit more of a straight line player than Riley, but also stronger. Faster but less explosive than Jarrad Davis. Davis and Riley went in the first and third rounds respectively. We got a guy with early round athletic pedigree in the fifth. It's also worth mentioning that Eligwe is just a year removed from a two-year football hiatus and the quality of athletic training available at Georgia Southern is probably of a lower standard than that available at Florida or LSU, Eligwe may still have more room to grow athletically. We got a guy with a ton of talent and potential upside for a late fifth rounder.

Round 6 (Pick 218): CB Leon McQuay, USC

Height: 6'1" Weight: 195 lbs Arm Length: 32.75" Hand Size: 9.5"

40 YD Dash: 4.45* 3-Cone: 6.91 Short Shuttle: 4.21

Vertical Jump: 33.5" Broad Jump: 122" Bench Press: 12 Reps

*4.45 40-yard dash based on statements from Chiefs scouts that McQuay ran mid-4.4's at their workout. He was injured during the broad jump at his Pro Day and ran a 4.93 sec 40 there.

McQuay is another former blue chip recruit. Once upon a time the five star safety out of Florida, McQuay was considered the No. 2 rated safety prospect in the entire country and the 22nd ranked prospect overall in the 2013 high school class. He was one of the crown jewels of a very highly regarded recruiting class for the USC Trojans. Other five star DBs that year included Vernon Hargreaves (No. 2), Kendall Fuller (No. 9), Jalen Ramsey (No. 10), Sua Cravens (No. 12), and Tredavious White (No. 18), Max Redfield (No. 30), and Vonn Bell (No. 32). Outside of Max Redfield, who got kicked out of Notre Dame and comes with a host of character concerns, every single one of those prospects was a first or secod round pick in the NFL Draft. That's what kind of talent and pedigree McQuay brings to the table. He's an outstanding athlete who somewhat underperformed in college but potentially has his best football ahead of him. He's a guy with early round talent and ability.

Physically, McQuay has a prototype build for the cornerback position with a long, lean, and athletic 6'1 frame and long nearly 33" arms. He moves with natural athleticism and smooth hips. He played a hybrid safety / corner position for USC and projects as a long lean corner for the Chiefs. He has man coverage experience and has showcased exceptional ball skills. I did a detailed breakdown on the traits the Chiefs seem to look for in corners last year (Link). McQuay meets almost every test. He meets the height, weight, arm length, and sub seven second 3-Cone requirements and falls just 0.12 seconds and 1.5" away from the desired short shuttle and vertical benchmarks. Add in the fact that McQuay was injured at his pro-day during the broad jump and may have been less than 100 percent for several drills and it's clear that we found a high-end athletic specimen in the late rounds to mold.

Here's how McQuay stacks up with other Chiefs defensive back acquisitions:



All in all there is a ton to be excited about in this draft class. Each pick has areas where they are a flat out elite prospect for their position.This class may not have the greatest immediate impact (which was going to be a tall order regardless, considering the phenomenal depth and talent already on the roster), but the long-term potential is through the roof. The Chiefs managed to find top flight athlete's with huge potential all through the draft, once again highlighting the incredible breadth and attention to detail of our front office. These are exciting times in Chiefs Kingdom!

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Arrowhead Pride's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Arrowhead Pride writers or editors.