The NFL Draft has come and gone, and now the analysts are weighing in.
Before we get to the grades, here is who the Chiefs selected through the draft in 2018:
Chiefs draft class of 2018
2. Ole Miss DT Breeland Speaks
3. Florida State DT Derrick Nnadi
3. Clemson LB Dorian O’Daniel
4. Texas A&M S Armani Watts
6. Central Arkansas CB Tremon Smith
6. Tennessee OG Kahlil McKenzie
Now, let’s get to the grades.
Terez Paylor, Kansas City Star: A
Veach aggressively attacked the Chiefs’ biggest weakness, which was a defense that melted down in the wild-card loss to Tennessee and badly needed an injection of aggression, enthusiasm and beef. And considering Veach also took two of my favorite players in this year’s draft in Armani Watts and Tremon Smith — who each made my annual All-Juice team (this was the second year in a row I had two players on the team drafted by the Chiefs and the fourth year in a row I had at least one player from it drafted by the Chiefs, by the way) — I’m comfortable with giving this haul an A grade.
Chad Reuter, NFL.com: B
The Chiefs wanted a versatile defender in the second round, and they gave up a third-round pick to go get Speaks, who fits the bill. Speaks has potential, and he’ll have to meet it to make the trade-up worthwhile. Nnadi will be a good nose tackle, but can he affect the passing game enough to justify the team’s decision to give up a fourth-round pick to move up 11 spots to get him? With the final pick in the third round, the Chiefs added O’Daniel, who will play a safety/linebacker hybrid role. The value was about right, and it will be an interesting fit. Kansas City received pick 124 for cornerback Marcus Peters in their trade with the Rams this off-season, and they used the pick to meet their need for a safety in Watts. Smith could make the team because of its need to replace Peters. Interestingly, they’re moving McKenzie from the defensive line to guard to take advantage of his size and athleticism.
Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN: C+
The Chiefs regressed on defense last year -- particularly up front -- and their Day 2 picks reflected that. Breeland Speaks (pick 46), Derrick Nnadi (75) and Dorian O’Daniel (100) all have ability, and Nnadi and Speaks aren’t far from plenty of snaps based on the current depth chart. Armani Watts(124) and Tremon Smith (196) are potential insurance in the secondary.
The word is sixth-rounder Kahlil McKenzie is going to flip from defensive tackle to guard. Stranger things have happened. The Chiefs are arguably the most unpredictable team of 2018. Your move, Mahomes.
Sam Monson and Steve Palazzolo, Pro Football Focus: below average
Day 2: Breeland Speaks had a solid 2017 season, grading at 83.7 against the run but only 76.1 as a pass-rusher. Derrick Nnadi adds another run-stopping presence after posting three straight grades in the 80.0’s, including an 86.7 mark against the run last season. He provides little as a pass-rusher, ranking 84th in pass-rush productivity last season at 5.1. Dorian O’Daniel is an athletic, coverage linebacker coming off a strong 2017 season, grading at 87.8 overall. He can step right in as a nickel linebacker, while also adding extra value after playing 198 special teams snaps in all phases last year and finishing with 39 career special teams tackles.
Day 3: Armani Watts has some versatility to his game as he can cover the slot (allowed a passer rating of only 54.3 in the slot in 2016) and he showed good ball skills at safety, picking off 10 passes and deflecting nine on 144 career targets.
Kent Swanson, Arrowhead Pride: C-
There isn’t a ton of home run swings in this class. Breeland Speaks is probably the closest to that mold with the athletic upside. The Chiefs appear to be building around solid players across the board. All these players have clear paths to roles on the defense and several players have a chance to contribute early.
This is far from a flashy class, but could prove to be a culture-establishing draft for the Chiefs. I would have gone a different direction on most of these picks. The Chiefs appear to have a clear vision for what they wanted to accomplish in this class. It wasn’t built around maximizing assets with immense upside; it was more about building with specific skill sets to prop up the stars around them.
It’s disappointing from my perspective, but I at least understand what they set out to do in this class. You probably aren’t getting a player to hang your hat on from this class like Kareem Hunt, Travis Kelce or Tyreek Hill, but there are several solid (but unspectacular) football players in the mix at least.
Your grade (as of Sunday at Noon): B
What grade do you give the Chiefs’ 2018 draft class?
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