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April Madness: the Final Four

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We’re down to D’Andre Swift, Cesar Ruiz, Patrick Queen and Jeff Gladney. Who will emerge as the fan favorite for the Chiefs to take with pick 32 of the draft?

LSU v Alabama Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

We have almost made it!

Our Final Four prospects ready to square off in April Madness.

This is your chance to vote for the player you’d like to see the Kansas City Chiefs draft with pick No. 32 in the 2020 NFL Draft.

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, running back D’Andre Swift beat out cornerback Trevon Diggs — despite the big difference in positional value.

At this point I’ve surpassed being surprised by Swift’s victories. Despite being a running back from a small school, the eight seed has made a deep run. Whether this is from the recent chatter about the Chiefs going with a running back in round one — or a belief the team would run the football more effectively with a better back — Swift has dispatched one-seed wide receiver Jerry Jeudy, the more-talented Jonathan Taylor and now a zone-specific cornerback. He may have entered this tournament as one of the last seeds, but among Chiefs fans, he’s proven he is a force to be reckoned with.

In the World Champions region, the linebacker showdown everyone saw coming finally took place. And in a bit of a surprise, Patrick Queen barely edged out Kenneth Murray.

Going into the matchup, Queen was the heavy favorite — thanks to vastly superior coverage skills and a higher football IQ — but Murray’s athleticism allowed him to hang in there. In the end, it’s likely that Queen’s ability to provide something the Chiefs don’t have on their roster allowed him to win out after he dominated defensive end A.J. Epenesa and linebacker Zack Baun. Entering the tournament as one of the one seeds, Queen was a big favorite — and in the Final Four, should still be seen as such.

In the NFL Winners region, interior offensive lineman Cesar Ruiz had a dominating performance against cornerback Kristian Fulton — which probably caught many by surprise.

With both players would fulfill a team need, the re-signing of cornerback Bashaud Breeland may have left fans feeling more confident in the team’s cornerback than in their interior offensive linemen. While providing a building block for the future, Ruiz would likely step onto the team as a starter in 2020. Fulton, however, would probably have to earn a first-year starting spot. Ruiz began the tournament as a four seed who was coming on strong down the stretch. After beating tackle Prince Tega Wanogho and edge rusher K’Lavon Chaisson relatively easily, he’s peaking at the right time — and has a chance to win the whole thing.

Over in the Repeat Time region, cornerback Jeff Gladney easily defeated interior offensive lineman Javon Kinlaw.

Here — playing at a position of need — his perceived readiness and overall talent level led to Gladney’s win. With big wins over tight end Cole Kmet and wide receiver Justin Madubuike, Gladney hasn’t yet really been challenged in the tournament. With an easy path to the Final Four from the three seed, Gladney now faces a much tougher matchup.

Final Four

RB D’Andre Swift (Georgia) vs IOL Cesar Ruiz (Michgan)

If he lands with the Chiefs, Swift is likely to become RB1 early on — as long as he can pick up the offense. His explosiveness and receiving ability rival any of the team’s current backs — while providing a little better vision and the ability to execute all the runs; the entire playbook would finally be open and there would be no need to worry about which back is on the field. Swift’s problem will be his upside. Lacking elite shiftiness, speed or power, will he always be a good — but not great — running back?

Ruiz’ fit with the Chiefs is more murky — simply because he can play a any position along the interior. He would be the best of the bunch, so he would likely make the starting unit — but would it be at center or guard? His ability to hold up in one-on-one pass protection reps is something the Chiefs are now missing at center. But it’s also true that his movement ability and steadiness could improve the team at guard. Outside of spending a high draft pick on an an interior lineman, there aren’t many questions about Ruiz and his fit with the team.

Poll

Who would you rather the Chiefs draft?

This poll is closed

  • 50%
    D’Andre Swift
    (908 votes)
  • 49%
    Cesar Ruiz
    (873 votes)
1781 votes total Vote Now

LB Patrick Queen (LSU) vs CB Jeff Gladney (TCU)

With the Chiefs (or any other NFL team), Queen is an ideal fit as a WILL linebacker. He may be a little slighter than a typical Steve Spagnuolo linebacker, but his most successful WILL was Jonathan Casillas — who is even smaller than Queen. But despite his size, Queen is in no way a slouch against the run. His football IQ — and his ability to diagnose running plays — is near the top of this class. For a half-year starter who is just 20 years old, that’s amazing. After sprinkling in his range and coverage ability, Queen is the epitome of an NFL WILL. But will Kansas City will invest in that position — and if so, would they choose a linebacker weighing less than 230 pounds?

Since Breeland and Charvarius Ward are now both returning, Gladney would likely have to earn some of his playing time. But Gladney’s bonus is that he can play both inside and outside, which would allow him to immediately fulfill the role Kendall Fuller played before Juan Thornhill’s injury. Later, he could earn a starting job over the other two. Given the talent discrepancy, it likely wouldn’t take long — but in the meantime, it would be good to have the safety net. Gladney also comes from a heavy match-quarters system, which should allow him to easily adapt to the Chiefs’ coverage scheme. At the next level, Gladney’s potential downsides are his general size and an offseason meniscus repair.

Poll

Who would you rather the Chiefs draft?

This poll is closed

  • 73%
    Patrick Queen
    (823 votes)
  • 26%
    Jeff Gladney
    (299 votes)
1122 votes total Vote Now

Next time we check in, it will be the final showdown between the last two prospects in April Madness!


KC Draft Guide

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