FanPost

Finding the Closest Comparison to Every 2017 Chiefs Draftee (Within the last 5 Years)



After four draft classes that emphasized quantity over quality when it came to picks, the Chiefs decided to go in the other direction for 2017.

From 2013-2016, the Chiefs took 8, 6, 9, and 9 players. This year, they used their plethora of picks to trade up for skill players like Pat Mahomes II and Kareem Hunt. After completing the draft with just 6 new players, it will be more important than ever before that they are able to step in and contribute at their positions.

Not only that, but the Chiefs also took more small school players than fans may be comfortable with-- Our second round pick is a defensive end from Villanova. I think it was news to some fans that Villanova had a football team.

But how have small school defensive ends fared in the NFL recently? How about Big 12 QBs? Or running backs from the MAC? That's what we're about to find out.

Basically, what I did was go through every player drafted (since 2012) at the positions that the Chiefs took players at and found the players that are most similar to our 2017 picks. Then, I looked at how those players have been doing in the NFL and see if it can tell us anything about the future of our 2017 draftees.

I took 3 things into account when evaluating the similarity of the players:

1. Size/athleticism: How do their Combine numbers compare to our pick's numbers? How similar are they height/weight-wise?

2. Scheme/Competition: The scheme part was really only relevant for Mahomes, because he came from an Air Raid offense. However, comparing quality of competition was important for every player. Tanoh Kpassagnon had 21.5 TFL at Villanova. You can't compare him to a player who had 21.5 TFL at LSU.

3. Draft position: I tried to make sure the comparison was taken within a couple of rounds that we took our player. For example, Leon McQuay III is a DB from the Pac-12, but he was taken in round 6. You obviously can't compare him to a Pac-12 DB that was taken in the first 100 picks.

Let's get started.

Round 1: Patrick Mahomes, QB Texas Tech

Let's take a look at what makes Mahomes who he is:

1. Size/athleticism: He has good size at 6'2" 225, and had a solid but not spectacular combine. He ran a 4.80 but anyone who watched his tape from Texas Tech knows how athletic he is both within the pocket and tucking and running. Mahomes had 22 rushing TDs at Texas Tech.

2. Scheme/Competition: Mahomes was in an Air Raid offense. This is a really big deal because no one who has come from an Air Raid offense has really been a solid NFL QB. Also, Mahomes played in the Big 12, so he must be compared to another QB from a power 5 school.

3. Draft position: Mahomes was taken 10th overall. He probably needs to be compared to another QB taken in round 1, or mid round 2 at the latest.

This really narrows it down, but that shouldn't be surprising because of how unique of a prospect Mahomes is.

In the past 5 years, there have been 18 QBs selected in the first 2 rounds. First, lets eliminate QBs who played in traditional, pro style offenses. This eliminates only 6 players, as most college teams run some form of a spread now. Next, lets take out players who didn't play in a power 5 conference. This takes out 4 more. (Bortles, Carr, Garoppolo, and Lynch if you were wondering) Now we are down to 8 QBs. We can take out Johnny Manziel because he was a complete anomaly. Off-the-field issues seemed to be the cause of his demise rather than his play on the field. It doesn't seem off-the field stuff will be an issue for Mahomes.

Here are the 7 QBs remaining, along with their stats in their final college football season:

- Robert Griffin III (4,293 yards 37 TDs 6 INTs)

- Brandon Weeden (4,727 yards 37 TDs 13 INTs)

- Ryan Tannehill (3,744 yards 29 TDs 15 INTs)

- Geno Smith (4,205 yards 42 TDs 6 INTs)

- Teddy Bridgewater (3,970 yards 31 TDs 4 INTs)

- Marcus Mariota (4,454 yards 42 TDs 4 INTs)

- Jared Goff (4,714 yards 43 TDs 13 INTs)

Another thing that made Mahomes such a unique prospect was his production. 5,052 yards, 41 TDs and 10 INTs in 2016. That's 421 yards a game. Absolutely bonkers.

As good as Weeden's numbers are, I think we can eliminate him. He's another anomaly, as he was drafted at age 28, and he went to the Browns and was thrust into a starting role. Tannehill is a pretty similar prospect to Mahomes physically, but he just didn't put up the numbers that the rest of these prospects did. Comparing Mahomes to Mariota doesn't really seem fair, because Mariota was a can't miss prospect. Mahomes weaknesses were well documented going into the draft.

This leaves us with 4 QBs, all of whom have striking similarities to Mahomes. RG3 played in the Big 12, Geno Smith and Jared Goff both played in Air Raid offensive schemes, and Bridgewater is a similar prospect physically.

Bridgewater only threw 427 passes his final year at Louisville, which pales in comparison to Mahomes' 591. RG3 only threw 402. Meanwhile, Goff threw 529 and Smith threw 518. I think we have two clear front runners.

The closest comparison here is Geno Smith, as it doesn't feel right to compare Mahomes to a first overall pick. A first overall pick on a QB needy team comes with different expectations than a 10th overall pick on an established roster such as the Chiefs. I know a lot of people here won't like the Geno comparison, because Geno Smith is a bad NFL QB and everyone obviously wants Mahomes to be a good NFL QB. But if you look at the numbers, it makes sense.

Geno played in an Air Raid very similar to the one that Mahomes ran, and the number of passes he threw proves that. In Geno's college career, he threw 1,465 passes. Mahomes threw 1,349. (Mahomes started 2 and a half years while Geno started 3) Geno had a better combine, running 4.59 and jumping 33 inches while Mahomes ran 4.80 and jumped 30 inches. They are the same height, with Geno being 7 pounds lighter. It is evident just by looking at them as Mahomes has a much thicker frame. Most importantly, both QBs played in Air Raids in the Big 12.

Now as we look at Geno's NFL career we have to consider the situation. Geno started all 16 games his rookie year. Mahomes will more than likely start 0 games. Geno was also on a Jets team that went 6-10 the previous season (To his credit, he improved them to 8-8 in his rookie year) In Geno's second season, he started 13 games before being benched in favor of Mike Vick. Then, the following off-season he got punched in the jaw by one of his own teammates. He hasn't gotten significant playing time since then. It doesn't take an NFL expert to know the Jets have been a bit of a disaster the past few years. Needless to say, Geno Smith didn't get his fair shake in the NFL.

Imagine putting 2013 Geno Smith in present day Kansas City. He would get to learn from Andy Reid and Alex Smith, he would be surrounded by a much more talented team, and most importantly he wouldn't have to start a single game his rookie year. I think he could be successful in that situation, and could be groomed into a legit NFL QB. Now switch the roles. Put current Pat Mahomes on the 2013 Jets. And make him start all 16 games. Do you see him being successful? I sure don't, but that doesn't mean he's a bust.

COMPARISON: Geno Smith

(Sorry that section was so long. There's a lot more to evaluate in a quarterback than there are in other positions.)

Round 2: Tanoh Kpassagnon, DE Villanova

Tanoh is another very unique prospect. He is the most physical freak of all the physical freaks, and he was extremely productive. He had 21.5 TFL and 11 sacks last year.

Lets compare him to other DEs drafted on day 2 that aren't from power 5 schools. That narrows it down to 7 players. Here are their names:

- Kendall Reyes (UCONN, 2012)

- Vinny Curry (Marshall, 2012)

- Tyrone Crawford (Boise State, 2012)

- Margus Hunt (SMU, 2013)

- Noah Spence (EKU, 2016)

- Kamalei Correa (Boise State, 2016)

- Bronson Kaufusi (BYU, 2016)

This is a pretty impressive list with some players who are major contributors. From here, we can eliminate Correa and Spence first. Both are 40 pounds lighter than Tanoh and are strictly edge rushers. Tanoh will (more than likely) be playing DE in our 3-4.

Now, again we have to consider the physical freak that Tanoh is. He's 6'7" 290 and ran a 4.83. Lets look at which prospects measured up similarly to him.

Before I even started researching this section, I knew Margus Hunt would be right in the mix. He's probably the only DE taken in the past few years that is more of a genetic monster than Tanoh. Margus is 6'8" 277, ran a 4.60 at the combine and then benched 38 reps. (oh my god)

However, Margus was drafted at 26 years old and very raw, instead of Tanoh, who was drafted at 23 years old while being just as raw.

Looking elsewhere, Kendall Reyes is more of a DT than a DE, and doesn't have the body of Tanoh. Vinny Curry had similar sack production at Marshall, but he didn't have a crazy combine, running 4.98 at 6'3" 266. Tyrone Crawford is another interesting option. He's massively strong and has been successful in the NFL, but again he isn't nearly the athlete Tanoh is.

But what about Bronson Kaufusi?

Bronson is 6'6" 285, (TANOH: 6'7" 290) posted 11 sacks and 20 TFL his final year in college, (TANOH: 11 sacks and 21.5 TFL) and he ran 4.87 and benched 25 reps at the combine. (TANOH: 4.83 and 23 reps)

It's obvious these two are very similar prospects. The thing that sucks is Kaufusi was just drafted in 2016. In training camp he broke his ankle and was placed on injured reserve, and has yet to play a down in the NFL. So we can't really use Kaufusi's performance to make any judgments on Tanoh.

Let's go back to Margus Hunt. Hunt has been absolutely awful in the NFL. He's posted 1.5 sacks in his entire career, and his career high in tackles for a season is 17. And the worst part is he is already 30. He is pretty much just sticking around due to his special teams value and how enticing his athleticism is. When you're a second round pick, this is called being a bust.

The big difference between Margus and Tanoh is age. When you're entering the league at 26 and you're as raw as Hunt was, the odds are stacked against you. Could Hunt have been successful if he entered the league at 23 and was just now entering his age 27 season? Possibly. It's also worth mentioning that Hunt hadn't played a down of football before getting to SMU.

Now this isn't saying Tanoh can't be successful, because he totally can. He'll just have to be a trend breaker.

COMPARISON: Margus Hunt (or maybe Bronson Kaufusi)

Round 3: Kareem Hunt, RB Toledo

Kareem Hunt was one of my personal favorites going through the draft process. He has exceptional vision and balance, his agility is second to none, and he has good size and uses it well when facing tacklers.

I'm going to handle this section the same way I did the last. Kareem had outstanding production at Toledo, but he did it at Toledo, which is in the MAC. If he did what he did at a power 5 school, I guarantee he would be a top 40 pick. Let's look at other running backs from non power 5 schools that were selected in the 2nd through 4th round.

These are the 10 players that fit these qualifications:

- Isaiah Pead (Cincinnati, 2012)

- Ronnie Hillman (SDSU, 2012)

- Bernard Pierce (Temple, 2012)

- Robert Turbin (Utah St, 2012)

- Terrance West (Towson, 2014)

- Jerrick McKinnon (Georgia Southern, 2014)

- Lorenzo Taliaferro (Coastal Carolina, 2014)

- David Johnson (Northern Iowa, 2015)

- Tyler Ervin (SJSU, 2016)

- Kenneth Dixon (Louisiana Tech, 2016)

With the exception of David Johnson, this isn't a very inspiring list. None of the other players are full time starters in the league.

There are a few players we can eliminate right off the bat. For example, Jerick McKinnon. McKinnon is one of the best athletes in the entire league. His combine numbers were otherworldly, and that is a big reason why he was selected so high. (4.41, benched 32 reps, jumped 40.5 inches) Kareem Hunt didn't blow up the combine, and was selected because of his production.

We can also eliminate players that we know have very different running styles than Hunt. Hunt's style is defined by balance. He's not very fast and he's not too big either. He uses balance, vision, and agility to pick up yards.

Players we can eliminate:

- Ronnie Hillman (Has the trucking ability of a toddler)

- Lorenzo Taliaferro (More of a power runner, limited burst)

- David Johnson (A totally different animal than Hunt)

- Tyler Ervin (See Ronnie Hillman)

This still leaves us with 5 solid players, and looking at their frames, they are all pretty similar players to Hunt.

But one stands out the most.

When Kareem Hunt was notorious among college running backs for getting stupendous amounts of yards, Kenneth Dixon was the same for touchdowns. Dixon scored 72 (!!) touchdowns throughout his college career. That's having a nose for the end zone. Dixon finished with 4,483 yards and 72 TDs for his career, while Hunt had 4,945 yards and 44 TDs. Both backs were exactly 5'10" 216 pounds at the combine, Dixon ran 4.58 while Hunt ran 4.64, and both backs have a running style that uses balance and agility to pick up large chunks of yards.

Dixon played 12 games in Baltimore, running for 382 yards at a clip of 4.3 YPC and 3 TDs. These are pretty reasonable expectations for Hunt, who will be in a similar situation Dixon is in, behind two backs who have experience in the offense. The next step is for him to seize the starting role.

COMPARISON: Kenneth Dixon

Round 4: Jehu Chesson, WR Michigan

When the Chiefs took Jehu Chesson, they were banking on him being the 2015 version of himself.

In 2015, Chesson had 764 yards and 9 touchdowns, including a monster game against Indiana in which he had 207 yards and 4 TDs. He bet on himself and chose to return for his senior year in hopes of raising his stock even more. However it didn't work out and he was unable to form a connection with the new Michigan QBs. Chesson finished with just 500 receiving yards.

The biggest thing that differentiates one WR prospect from the next is size. (Which goes hand in hand with play style.) Chesson is definitely at the large end of the WR spectrum, measuring at 6'3" and 204 pounds. (He's also got some quick legs, running an impressive 4.47 at the combine.) There were 17 WRs from the past 5 years that had the following qualifications:

- Drafted in rounds 3-5

- Over 6'2"

- More than 200 pounds

There were a few guys who I had legit never heard of, (Juron Criner, Greg Childs) and a few guys who have established themselves as solid possession receivers in the league. (Martavis Bryant, Keenan Allen, Donte Moncrief)

This was still too many wide receivers to sort through, so I decided to do some research on the story lines each receiver had going into the draft. Specifically, I looked for players that underperformed the year before they entered the draft, but impressed the year before that, like Chesson.

Now there were a few receivers similar to Chesson that stayed in college a year too long, hurting their stock.

If you're a pessimist, you could say Chesson's situation is similar to Greg Childs. Childs was drafted in the 4th round of the 2012 draft. In 2009, Childs had 894 yards and 7 TDs, and he just got progressively worse throughout his college career. Childs had 221 yards and 0 TDs his senior year. (He played in 11 games) He tore a ligament in his knee during training camp before his rookie year, never playing a down in the NFL.

If you're an optimist, you could compare his situation to Donte Moncrief's. In his sophomore year, Moncrief caught 66 passes for 979 yards and 10 TDs. The next season, his production went down slightly. He had 59 catches for 938 yards and 6 TDs as defenses focused in on him more. Moncrief has carved a role for himself in the Colts offense, and likely has a long NFL career ahead of him.

But like there usually is in life, there's a happy median.

At Nebraska, Kenny Bell (like Childs) had a great sophomore season, catching 50 passes for 863 yards and 8 TDs. His junior season saw his production decrease a significant amount, as he only had 577 yards and 4 TDs. However, he bounced back for a solid senor season, catching 47 passes for 788 yards and 6 TDs.

Bell, like Chesson, played in the Big 10, and has a similar play style to Chesson. Both are primarily possession receivers that have the speed to gain yards after the catch. Bell is a little smaller than Chesson, (Bell is listed at 6'1 197 on most sites) but he has strong hands and a large catch radius. Bell has shown he can play in the league despite bouncing around a bit. Chesson will also have to prove he can play in the league to avoid getting buried on Kansas City's deep WR depth chart.

COMPARISON: Kenny Bell

Round 5: Ukeme Eligwe, LB Georgia Southern

Eligwe is another player with an interesting story. He was a highly touted player coming out of high school who committed to Florida State, but he was booted out of their program. He then went to Georgia Southern where he established himself as an NFL prospect. He definitely looks the part, at 6'2" 240 with long, defined arms and legs.

Just last year, another inside linebacker came out of Georgia Southern and was drafted into the NFL. Antwione Williams was taken 169th overall last year by the Detroit Lions. (Eligwe was taken 183rd.) Williams, like Eligwe, was touted for his long arms and legit NFL size. (6'3" 245) It isn't often you see two prospects from the same school at the same position come out in consecutive years. Williams was able to hold his own in Detroit in a reserve role, expect Eligwe to do the same.

COMPARISON: Antwione Williams

Round 6: Leon McQuay III, S USC

McQuay is a 6'2" DB coming out of a top program. He had a solid senior season, totaling 36 tackles and 2 picks. The reason he didn't go until round 6 is because his senior year was the only one in which he was a full time starter.

Since 2012, two safeties have been drafted in the 6th round from the Pac 12: John Boyett (Oregon) and Will Parks (Arizona)

Boyett doesn't hold many comparisons to McQuay; he's 4 inches shorter, played only as a deep safety, and lacks closing speed. McQuay is a good downhill tackler with plus athleticism and size.

Will Parks has similar size to McQuay. (Parks: 6'1" 194, McQuay: 6'2" 185) Parks is a good tackler with some coverage ability (but lacks speed) He had a solid rookie season as a backup safety, racking up 22 tackles and a pick in his rookie year. Both players are big safety/nickel hybrids coming from the Pac-12. if McQuay can fill a similar role that Parks does for the Broncos, as a reliable backup and solid special teamer, this will be considered a successful pick. I think McQuay will have a tougher time making the roster than Parks did, though.

COMPARISON: Will Parks

All Comparisons:

Patrick Mahomes: Geno Smith

Tanoh Kpassagnon: Margus Hunt

Kareem Hunt: Kenneth Dixon

Jehu Chesson: Kenny Bell

Ukeme Eligwe: Antwione Williams

Leon McQuay III: Will Parks

Some Chiefs fans might not the looks of this, but that's what happen when you take two small school prospects in the first three rounds. It's risky. It's hit or miss. We'll see if these players exceed these player comparisons in their careers.

Tweet me-- @JaxEgan

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.