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April Madness: the Sweet Sixteen

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We proceed to the second round of voting to determine the player you’d like to see the Chiefs take with pick 32 in the NFL Draft.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: AUG 31 Chick-fil-A Kickoff - Duke v Alabama Photo by Todd Kirkland/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Round of 32 in April Madness is complete. Let’s kick off the Sweet Sixteen!

This is your chance to vote for the player you’d like to see the Kansas City Chiefs draft with pick 32 in the 2020 NFL Draft. Today you’ll be choosing between the first-round winners from the Super Bowl Champs and World Champions regions.

Remember: no thought process is right or wrong. Vote for the player you’d rather have, the one you like more or the one you think the Chiefs will take; it’s up to you.

Here’s the bracket:

Recap

In the Super Bowl Champions region, it was Upset Central. The only favored seed that won was cornerback C.J. Henderson, who dominated running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Running backs D’Andre Swift and Jonathan Taylor easily beat out wide receiver Jerry Jeudy and quarterback Jordan Love.

The biggest surprise — to me, at least — was seven-seed cornerback Trevon Diggs dominating two-seed safety Grant Delpit. The perceived positional value of cornerback over safety likely played a large role in that result, but I expected the vote to be a lot closer. An interesting mix of cornerbacks and running backs remain in the region, which seems like a battle of high positional value versus low positional value.

In the World Champions region — the Group of Death — things almost played out chalk. The only upset was cornerback A.J. Terrell defeating safety Antione Winfield Jr. We’re presumably seeing the same rationale as Diggs vs. Delpit; the perceived need at cornerback outweighed a higher-ranked player.

The other three matchups all featured linebackers. All three of them came in as favorites and won decisively. Patrick Queen had the most difficult task — taking out defensive end A.J. Epenesa — but won big. Zack Baun took care of business against wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones. Kenneth Murray had a slightly closer matchup against a fan favorite — cornerback Bryce Hall — but still won by a good margin.

With the three highest seeds being linebackers, this region could be incredibly tight down the stretch — although the lone cornerback could have an edge through positional value.

Super Bowl Champs

RB D’Andre Swift (Georgia) vs. RB Jonathan Taylor (Wisconsin)

The battle of running backs kicks off with the consensus top two running backs in the class.

Taylor — with amazing size and speed profile — is a bit more traditional. But he’s not just a bruising power runner; he shows incredible vision, the ability to set up second-level defenders and the lateral agility to reset his gap before exploding through the line of scrimmage. While he hasn’t been extensively used as a receiver, he flashed quality hands and the ability to hit big plays.

With his size — and use in the passing game — Swift looks the part of a more modern NFL running back. While he’s smaller in stature, he runs incredibly hard, always finding extra yards. Despite his limited usage at Georgia, he flashed great receiving traits to become a weapon out of the backfield — and in pass protection, he is one of the best backs in the class. Swift is a little more linear; he may not have the elite first few steps often expected from running backs of his mold.

Poll

Who would you rather the Chiefs take?

This poll is closed

  • 64%
    D’Andre Swift
    (418 votes)
  • 35%
    Jonathan Taylor
    (234 votes)
652 votes total Vote Now

CB C.J. Henderson (Florida) vs. CB Trevon Diggs (Alabama)

These two players couldn’t be much more different.

As a player transitioning from wide receiver who is still piecing everything together, Diggs lacks some polish — but he has some high flashes on tape. He’s got great length and reactive athleticism, showcasing an ability to dominate wide receivers at the line of scrimmage and at the catch point. He’s vastly more comfortable in zone, doing a good job mid-pointing route combinations and maintaining proper depth and width in his drops.

Henderson, by comparison, struggles a lot more in zone coverage. His spacing is inconsistent and his eyes don’t always see the receiver and quarterback at the same time. But what Henderson lacks in zone ability and physicality, he makes up for in his elite athleticism and man-coverage ability. He’s more finesse than strength, but he plays the catch point well — high-pointing and locating the football — and has the speed and fluidity to consistently stick to a receivers’ hip on hard breaks.

Poll

Who would you rather the Chiefs take?

This poll is closed

  • 47%
    CJ Henderson
    (309 votes)
  • 52%
    Trevon Diggs
    (335 votes)
644 votes total Vote Now

World Champions

LB Patrick Queen (LSU) vs. LB Zack Baun (Wisconsin)

Two of the top linebacker prospects square off in a battle that will be tough for Baun to win.

Baun is transitioning from being an EDGE to an off-ball linebacker but has shown all the signs he could do it successfully. In college — and at the Senior Bowl — he looked incredibly fluid and aware of his zone spacing; teams should feel comfortable with his coverage ability. While his reads against the run will be a work in progress, he’s got the hand technique and athleticism to deconstruct blocks at a high level.

But Baun is facing Queen, who is already proven to be a rangy coverage linebacker. In the passing game, Queen is the definition of fluid and explosive, doing a good job getting depth on zone drops and taking running backs and tight ends in man coverage. Against the run, his size has concerned some — but he does a good job overcoming that with great body control, active hands and beating blockers to their spots. Both Baun and Queen are high-IQ players who clearly study film and make quick reads; it’s just that Queen has already done it as an off-ball linebacker.

Poll

Who would you rather the Chiefs take?

This poll is closed

  • 86%
    Patrick Queen
    (557 votes)
  • 13%
    Zack Baun
    (88 votes)
645 votes total Vote Now

LB Kenneth Murray (Oklahoma) vs. CB AJ Terrell (Clemson)

Finally a matchup of different positions and — not surpsingly — it’s a cornerback against a linebacker.

Terrell is the only wrench left in this linebacker-heavy region — and he has a good shot. His size, athleticism and versatility make him suitable for all situations at the next level. He has shown flashes of high-end play in man, zone, press and off coverage — and the way Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo likes to mix things up, he could fit right in. Terrell’s biggest issues come when fighting through strong receivers at the catch point — where he can sometimes get posted up — and that he doesn’t dominate in any single area of cornerback play.

Murray is a top-of-the-line blend of size and athleticism at linebacker, with ability to play on the other side of the line of scrimmage and from sideline to sideline. On tape, he also shows enough pure athleticism to think he can develop as a coverage player. He has the flexibility to play on the weak side or in the middle of the defense. Beyond the lack of quality reps in coverage, the concerns with Murray are the simplified system in which he played and his football savvy; he may always be a player whose approach will be, “See ball, get ball.”

Poll

Who would you rather the Chiefs take?

This poll is closed

  • 71%
    Kenneth Murray
    (457 votes)
  • 28%
    AJ Terrell
    (184 votes)
641 votes total Vote Now

Coming soon: the second half of the Sweet Sixteen!


KC Draft Guide

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