The Kansas City Chiefs finished off their 2019 draft class with three picks in the 200s. They can now turn their attention to the undrafted free agent market (TRACKER) as they try to continue to build their roster.
Let’s take a look at the Chiefs’ draft class of 2019:
Round 2 (56) WR Mecole Hardman
A clear attempt to replace the speed that Tyreek Hill possesses. This was the response to the inevitable release of the Chiefs receiver. Hardman ran a 4.33 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. Hardman averaged 15.6 yards per catch his final season with Georgia and had seven touchdowns. From a vertical-threat standpoint, Hardman makes a ton of sense. Hardman will make an immediate impact on special teams as he develops as a wide receiver. I don’t love the value, but the Chiefs identified a trait they desire and aggressively pursued it. If the Chiefs were grocery shopping, this was an ingredient they felt they had to have.
Round 2 (63) S Juan Thornhill
Immediate starter at free safety for the Chiefs. I anticipate he’ll line up week one in Jacksonville with Tyrann Matthieu. If the Chiefs kept their first-round pick and selected him at 29, I’d be happy. This is a player I’m thrilled about the Chiefs taking. Thornhill is a top-50 player for us in the KC Draft Guide. He has good size and an excellent athletic profile. Thornhill ran a 4.42 40—yard dash and posted a 44-inch vertical jump.
Thornhill started as a cornerback but eventually moved to safety. There have been talks that he could potentially go back to his original position. I imagine he’ll stay and be an impact deep for the Chiefs.
Round 3 (84) DL Khalen Saunders
The 84th pick in the draft was the 84th ranked player in the KC Draft Guide. Saunders is one of the more fun players and stories in this entire draft. He was a Senior Bowl participant who became a father in the middle of the event. You’ll find him on social media showing off his ability to do backflips.
He might be my favorite pick of the draft. Big, fluid athlete that should thrive executing the stunts and twists in defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s scheme. The value is solid and the fit is obvious. The Chiefs have only Derrick Nnadi under contract in 2020. They have more depth now. Saunders has a ton of potential and could be an excellent value down the road.
Round 6 (201) CB Rashad Fenton
The Chiefs at least addressed the cornerback position. Fenton was a Tier-4 athletic tester for Craig in his analysis of the cornerback position for the KC Draft Guide. The athletic profile isn’t particularly strong. We valued him at 217 in the guide, so this is about where he was projected to go.
He has slender arms but quick feet. He’s a competitive and a willing tackler. He has good punch in his press but struggles against bigger receivers. His coaches implied that he took himself out of his final game at South Carolina. There are some workable traits, but it’ll be an uphill battle for Fenton to stick on the 53-man roster. He’s most likely heading for the practice squad if he hangs around.
Round 6 (214) RB Darwin Thompson
Another selection I love. Thompson is electric in space and made people look silly in the Mountain West. I gave him a Tarik Cohen comp in the KC Draft Guide, and I could see him sticking. The biggest question for me is the contact balance. It looks great against lesser competition, so if it shows up against bigger players in tighter spaces, Thompson has a role.
Thompson possesses pass-catcher traits that make him an excellent addition to the Chiefs offense. He’s not the big back the Chiefs typically covet, but he is a change of pace that could be a legitimate value this late. Thompson would be interesting to watch out on swing routes, where he can operate against smaller defenders. I’m excited to see him at training camp.
Round 7 (216) IOL Nick Allegretti
Allegretti was a three-year starter and two-time captain for the Illini. It makes a ton of sense to add depth and competition late in the draft along the interior of the offensive line. The Chiefs have been good about finding value players who can execute in their outside zone-heavy scheme late in the draft. I would imagine Allegretti fits that profile.
My 2019 Draft Class Grade
Chiefs Draft Class: B
I came very close to handing out a B-plus for this class, but I’m still a little stuck on the value of wide receiver Mecole Hardman, who the Chiefs moved up for in the second round by trading the 167th pick away. He’s unrefined as a receiver but has a special trait to build off of with his speed. His special teams impact will be felt as well.
Regardless, the Chiefs got a day-one starter at safety in Thornhill. The Western Illinois defensive lineman Sanders should thrive in a rotational role in Steve Spagnuolo’s defense. I love the pick of Thompson in the sixth round, and he’ll prove to be a great value with his ability in space and pass catcher traits.
There are clear paths to success for almost all of their picks. They addressed the right positions to build this roster further. If Hardman shows promise over the offseason and in training camp, Chiefs fans should be very optimistic about how this class will pan out. I’m delighted with what they did throughout the course of the weekend. I look forward to seeing what we hear during rookie minicamp.