Another week, another player to add to the Chiefs’ Draftmas List. But before we do, here’s how it stands right now:
Chiefs Draftmas List
We’re continuing on the defensive side of the football this week.
Seth did a great job profiling the strengths and weaknesses of new cornerback David Amerson. I think it’s a perfect value play to bolster the secondary. Depth and competition is never a bad thing, especially when it’s cheap.
The old adage is you build your secondary like a basketball team. You want varying sizes and skill sets to help you cover whatever personnel the offense can present you on any given week. The Chiefs don’t have a ton of size on the back end. They have it now. Amerson won’t be asked to be Kristaps Porzingis, a do-it-all center. He just needs to be a role-playing rim protector like Bismack Biyombo.
The Chiefs Draftmas List is designed to be a pool of players I would be excited for the Chiefs to take. It’s a combination of draft crushes and players that I think would be valuable additions.
Today, we add another young, talented, promising prospect that I like in the secondary.
Jessie Bates III, Safety
6’ 1” 195, Wake Forest
Projected Draft Range: Third round
Games watched: Florida State 2016, Florida State 2017, Clemson
Prospect grade (out of 100): 84.5
I would take him in the: Second round
One sentence bio: Redshirt sophomore who started 13 games his freshman year.
One sentence scouting report: Smooth, young, athletic safety who has the diversity to play in a variety of spots in a defense.
Jessie Bates III's freshman year. A little late to ID route but recovers, takes a good angle, locates the ball and makes a great play. pic.twitter.com/QLVEg3Sv7Q— Kent Swanson (@kent_swanson) February 16, 2018
Why he fits in KC: I value Bates as a second-round pick, so I wouldn’t be mad if he’s Kansas City’s first pick of the draft. Current projections have him falling into the third round. If the Chiefs selected him in the second half of day two, I’d be absolutely thrilled.
Bates would look excellent on the back end of the Chiefs defense in a free safety role. He has the range and ball skills to allow the Chiefs to play aggressive man coverage with him as a single high. He tackles well in space, and I saw several touchdown and big-play saving tackles coming up from a single-high role as the last line of defense.
He also showed great effort and speed to chase plays down, including one play where he met the runner at the line of scrimmage all the way from the other side of the field. Bates isn’t a physically imposing hitter, but I do believe he has the ability to consistently do his job as a tackler.
I wouldn’t be surprised if some teams thought about moving Bates to corner. He’s smooth, fluid and has the long speed you want. He possesses the ability and potential to be effective in the slot. He showed the ability to cover tight ends and receivers of all sizes. He’s got ideal length and athleticism. He showed above-average instincts as well.
While Bates is still young, he does have two full seasons of experience under his belt. He was thrown into the fire early, and still made plays. What excites me about him is he still has plenty of room to grow. His biggest area for improvement is consistency. He took some poor angles at times in pursuit and coverage. But even then, he showed the ability to recover from mistakes.
He’ll need to continue to add to his frame to handle the rigors of the NFL.