The Kansas City Chiefs selected six players in the NFL Draft and are continuing to add undrafted free agents to their 90-man roster.
Let’s name some winners and losers of draft weekend:
After a tough draft last year that only led to one sure contributor (Derrick Nnadi) so far, the Chiefs general manager came back strong with his 2019 class. The consensus is that Mecole Hardman was a reach, but it feels like a move the personnel staff felt they had to make given the situation around Tyreek Hill. Our team at Arrowhead Pride believes that Juan Thornhill could start at free safety on day one next to Tyrann Mathieu.
“He gives you that flexibility,” Andy Reid said of Thornhill. “So much is that match game and he gives you some flexibility there with his size to play over a tight end. He can play over the slot. You can kick him out on the outside and he can play on the outside, he’s comfortable with it. He has great ball skills. I think that was mentioned by the announcers. He has phenomenal ball skills.”
Also, consider this:
This may be a little obvious but I think worth a quick note. The #Chiefs put Frank Clark quotes along with the quotes of draft picks in the final draft packet the team sends to the media. He’s viewed as the 2019 first-round pick by the organization.— Pete Sweeney (@pgsween) April 28, 2019
Blake Bell, David Wells and Deon Yelder
These have to be the happiest players in the room. Demetrius Harris is no longer a Chief, meaning Kansas City should have addressed the No. 2 tight end position behind Travis Kelce in the draft. They didn’t, and the job is up for grabs. You could make a case that this group is the biggest winner of draft weekend. As a bonus, Kelce likely won’t be ready until training camp (ankle), which means plenty of offseason reps with the league’s Most Valuable Player.
We can agree that Anthony Hitchens and Dorian O’Daniel aren’t going anywhere. The Chiefs added Damien Wilson this offseason and then did not draft a linebacker. Ragland just has to come back healthy this time (avoid that turf) and he should have no problem making the 53-man roster even despite the early 2018 struggles.
Considering how much Andy Reid values wide receivers who know the playbook, Gehrig Dieter looks to be No. 3 wide receiver behind Sammy Watkins and Demarcus Robinson as it stands now.
And he’s Patrick Mahomes’ best friend.
Daniel Sorensen and Jordan Lucas
The Chiefs’ second-round pick, Juan Thornhill, has a legitimate opportunity to start, especially with the Chiefs already comparing him to Tyrann Mathieu. Brett Veach went as far as to use Daniel Sorensen’s name when describing what Thornhill can do. Thornhill will provide training camp competition for Sorensen and considering cap numbers, Sorensen could be cut if the Chiefs like what they see.
The Chiefs added the likes of Alex Okafor and Emmanuel Ogbah on the edge this offseason to go along with Breeland Speaks, Brett Veach’s top pick from last year.
The addition of defensive end Frank Clark likely seals the fate of the former second-round pick, who I’d guess swaps his Kansas City red and gold for Cleveland orange and brown before September’s end.
In the same vein, the Chiefs love what they have in Chris Jones and Derrick Nnadi along the interior of the defensive line, and the third-round pick of the athletic Khalen Saunders may make Xavier Williams the odd man out.
“We looked at that defensive line right after the draft and we were all smiling,” Brett Veach said.
Life just got a little bit more complicated for Darrel Williams, who the Chiefs signed as an undrafted free agent just last year. The Chiefs are committed to Damien Williams as their top back and they brought in veteran Carlos Hyde this offseason. The addition of Darwin Thompson means more competition at a position in which Andy Reid’s final-roster quantity numbers vary by year.
“This kid is really put together,” Chiefs scout Trey Koziol said of Thompson. “I think when you see him in the building, he is a real rocked-up dude. I thought he had really good strength and really good contact balance. He runs with a low center of gravity. That is one of the things that the guys at Utah State mentioned. He was pound for pound probably the strongest kids in their program, just in terms of his lower body strength. His ability to work through contact and then obviously he has really quick feet and an ability to make people miss out in space as well. So, they run a spread offense, kind of an air raid style offense, so when you get a guy who has the ability to break tackles and does have very good contact balance and lower body strength out in the open field.
While the Mecole Hardman pick may be the worst news for Tyreek Hill (see below), it isn’t good for Tremon Smith either. Smith carved out a role as the team’s kick returner last year and that will now be given to Hardman, who the Chiefs have already compared to Devin Hester.
“[Dave Toub] was ecstatic,” Brett Veach said. “He is by far the best punt and kick returner in the draft and, again, it’s hard to turn down that kind of speed. When you have a quarterback like Pat Mahomes you want to give him as many weapons as possible.”
Moving to the cornerback room, we know the Chiefs have Kendall Fuller, Bashaud Breeland and Charvarius Ward already ahead of Smith. Enter Keith Reaser, Rashad Fenton and Mark Fields into the picture. Smith will be up against it in training camp.
This one almost goes without saying. Off the field, things couldn’t be worse, and many feel his days are numbered as a Chiefs wide receiver and perhaps even an NFL player. The Chiefs drafted his replacement with their top pick.