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Reviewing the Chiefs draft prospects we covered in 29 Days of Draftmas

As we wait for the draft to begin, let’s review the Chiefs prospects the AP Nerd Squad has highlighted this month.

North Carolina State v Wake Forest Photo by Mike Comer/Getty Images

Throughout April, we’ve brought you our annual 29 Days of Draftmas series, in which the Arrowhead Pride Nerd Squad provided a daily profile of a collegiate prospect the Kansas City Chiefs could consider in the 2021 NFL Draft. As we wait for the Jacksonville Jaguars to go on the clock on Thursday night, let’s review all the players we’ve highlighted.


Edge rushers


Carlos Basham Jr. • 6’3” • 274 lbs • Wake Forest

Draft range: Day 2

Basham’s versatility should really intrigue the Chiefs — who love to kick a bigger base end inside on rushing downs. Basham affords them that flexibility and could add some much-needed juice to the pass rush rotation. There’s a clear path to success for Basham in the NFL — pairing good effort and power to set a good edge on early downs and trying to disrupt next to Chris Jones inside. Full article from April 15.

Payton Turner • 6’5” • 270 lbs • Houston

Draft range: Third round

Turner makes a lot of sense as a Day 2 prospect who can do a lot of the things Steve Spagnuolo loves to do in his defensive scheme. He’s a versatile player with inside-outside rushing ability — and a motor that always runs hot. There’s a lot to like about not only with his present game, but in how he could develop. Full article from April 5.

Janarius Robinson • 6’5” • 266 lbs • Florida State

Draft range: Day 3

Had Robinson progressed more during his time at Florida State, he likely wouldn’t make it out of Day 2. Still... his physical traits and football character may yet get him drafted on Friday. Robinson has a lot of qualities to like. He gives outstanding effort against both the run and the pass. Physically, he fits Steve Spagnuolo’s profile perfectly; he has an 87” wingspan — which he knows how to use well — and has the density and size to fit the Chiefs defense. Full article from April 24.

Elerson Smith • 6’6” • 252 lbs • Northern Iowa

Draft range: Day 3

Right out of his stance, [Smith] has the natural explosion to threaten an offensive tackle’s deep corner with speed. He also has the flexibility to dip under contact or lean into a blocker to turn a corner, along with the change-of-direction ability and body control to put his foot in the ground and counter inside or bull rush a blocker. Smith has all the athletic traits to be a complete NFL pass rusher. Full article from April 13.

Rashad Weaver • 6’4” • 259 lbs • Pittsburgh

Draft range: Day 3

At his pro day, Weaver missed two of Spagnuolo’s preferred defensive end traits — weight and bench press — but played heavier and more powerfully than his numbers would indicate. Almost immediately, he would be capable to serve as a rotational defensive end opposite Frank Clark in the base defense — and in the dime packages, Weaver’s defined pass rush plan would give defensive line coach Brendan Daly another piece with which to work. Full article from April 8.


Wide Receivers


Rashod Bateman • 6’ • 190 lbs • Minnesota

Draft range: Late Day 1 or early Day 2

There’s an immediate need for a true X receiver like Watkins, so Bateman would make a lot of sense. He may not be a player who wins with consistent separation — the way some others in this class will — but when the ball is in the air, it’s his. He is excellent at the catch point. He would be a fascinating player to get involved with Patrick Mahomes outside the numbers. Full article from April 4.

Nico Collins • 6’4” • 215 lbs • Michigan

Draft range: Day 2

An investment in Collins would be a swing on a big talent. He boasts a rare physical profile position with top-shelf speed and explosion. He’s a player that will operate well on the line of scrimmage — comfortably being able to work through press. Collins should be able to have success outside the numbers early as an above-the-rim player — outmuscling and out-jumping cornerbacks. Full article from April 12.

Ihmir Smith-Marsette • 6’1” • 181 lbs • Iowa

Draft range: Late Day 2

Smith-Marsette is absolutely a speedster — despite checking in at over six feet tall. There shouldn’t be expectations for him to have a lot of work as a possession receiver — or even as a red-zone target — but he does show promise in his ability to beat press coverage; despite his smaller frame, he is able to utilize his footwork and quickness to beat aggressive press corners at the line of scrimmage. If cornerbacks don’t get their hands on him, his acceleration and deep speed are a mismatch for too many players — which forces them into aggressive play at the line. Full article from April 27.

Josh Palmer • 6’2” • 209 lbs • Tennessee

Draft range: Day 3

Palmer is a strong, physical receiver who can beat press coverage and play with strength through contact; he’s a player who wins above the rim with exceptional body control and strong hands. In between making catches, he also does all the dirty work; Palmer gives outstanding effort and clearly takes pride in his ability to block. Whether the play is away from him or he’s actively involved in it, Palmers’ consistent effort displays his football character. Full article from April 14.

Simi Fehoko • 6’4” • 222 lbs • Stanford

Draft range: Day 3

Fehoko has the ability to stretch the field vertically. Once in the NFL — and despite his speed and quality change-of-direction ability — he will likely still have to make the majority of his living winning at the catch point. He’s not elite in terms of creating separation, but Fehoko does a great job winning small leverage battles and stacking defenders on his back. His exceptional size, body control and ability to high-point the football should lead to success as a red zone and possession target. Full article from April 19.


Cornerbacks


Elijah Molden • 5’9” • 192 lbs • Washington

Draft range: Day 2

Adding Molden to the secondary would give Spagnuolo another player who has the IQ to quickly process route distributions and adjust his leverage on the fly to take away the middle of the field. He and Tyrann Mathieu would be a dangerous pair in underneath zones; they could help mitigate some of the linebacking corps’ deficiencies in coverage. Quarterbacks and offensive coordinators already have to know where Mathieu is. Molden could be another weapon in that same vein. Full article from April 26.

JaCoby Stevens • 6’1” • 212 lbs | LSU

Draft range: Day 2

Stevens could immediately step into the dime linebacker role, replacing Ben Niemann and upgrading the Chiefs’ coverage ability in their dime defense. He is a surprisingly good run defender and blitzer as well, allowing the Chiefs to be multiple on defense without changing personnel. Stevens’ contributions in the dime could transfer to base downs, replacing Dan Sorensen if the Chiefs decided not to re-sign the veteran safety after the 2021 season. Full article from April 12.

Michael Carter II • 5’9” • 184 lbs • Duke

Draft range: Early Day 3

Carter is an incredibly versatile defender who has quality reps playing in man coverage from the slot, as a top-down safety in single-high looks and in the box defending interior run gaps. His smaller frame gives him some problems at the catch point against bigger receivers, but he plays like a much bigger player when he’s in press coverage or driving downhill to make a tackle in the flat... In other drafts, Carter would project as one of the top slot corners — but because of this year’s over-abundance at the position, he will fall. Full article from April 22.

Robert Rochell • 6’0” • 193 lbs • Central Arkansas

Draft range: Day 3

Rochell has the ideal arm length and athletic profile to fit as a Spagnuolo cornerback. He is explosive — and with his long wingspan and tremendous vertical leap, he can easily shrink throwing windows. Rochell has a knack for the ball, fitting right in with Steve Spagnuolo’s preference for players who will contend at the catch point and disrupt 50/50 balls on the boundary. Full article from April 6.

Israel Mukuamu • 6’4” • 212 lbs • South Carolina

Draft range: Day 3

Mukuamu has some positional flexibility — spending time at outside and slot cornerback, as well as a deep safety — and is a good athlete. This has been the direction the Chiefs have been trending lately with acquisitions such as Tyrann Mathieu, Kendall Fuller, Juan Thornhill and even L’Jarius Sneed. They are hammering on the versatility aspect but also consistently looking to up the overall athleticism of the secondary. Full article from April 17.


Linebackers


Derrick Barnes • 6’0” • 238 lbs • Purdue

Draft range: Day 2

Barnes is a terrific blitzer from his time as a defensive end — and could immediately offer pass rush upside as an on-the-line SAM linebacker. His heavy hands and big hitting ability would help set the tone on early downs, slotting him in as a Day 1 base down linebacker. Barnes would also have quality special-teams ability in his first year, giving the Chiefs value in several different phases of the game. Full article from April 2.

Nick Bolton • 6’0” • 232 lbs • Missouri

Draft range: Third round

Bolton’s build, high football IQ, range and block deconstruction would make him an ideal fit for any of Steve Spagnuolo’s linebacker spots. He would immediately play on base downs next to Anthony Hitchens and Willie Gay Jr. — and could ease into sub-packages as his coverage ability progresses. Going forward, Bolton would be an ideal fit at the MIKE linebacker position, giving them a strong pair of linebackers in 2022 and beyond. Full article from April 16.

Buddy Johnson • 6’ • 230 lbs • Texas A&M

Draft range: Early Day 3

Johnson is a highly intelligent linebacker who was the lynchpin in one of the nation’s top defenses over the past two years — even though the unit wasn’t flooded with stars. He made the defensive calls, adjusted the fronts and did all the dirty work for the A&M defense. He consistently showed he knows where to be — and can get there quickly. In this way, he shares some similarities with Chiefs MIKE linebacker Anthony Hitchens. Full article from April 23.


Tight ends


Tommy Tremble • 6’3” • 241 lbs • Notre Dame

Draft range: Day 2

At this point in Travis Kelce’s career, the Chiefs also have to start considering the future. While they may never find another player like him, there will still have to be some kind of succession plan — and it often takes time for tight ends to develop. This is where Tremble becomes extremely appealing. He can step in Day 1 as a great blocking sidekick — but his athletic traits give him quality starter-plus upside. He very much looks to be on a trajectory like George Kittle. Full article from April 9.


Interior offensive linemen


Quinn Meinerz • 6’3” • 320 lbs • Wisconsin-Whitewater

Draft range: Third round

Meinerz is a small-school prospect with outstanding football character. He had an outstanding week at the Senior Bowl, making improvements every day. Despite the broken hand he had sustained during the week, he begged to play in the game. Meinerz displays an ability to play all three interior spots, but he stood out when asked to play center — something he didn’t do at UW-Whitewater. Meinerz popped with the ball in his hands. Despite limited experience at the position, he executed difficult blocks and did a great job helping his teammates. Meinerz has a very good athletic profile. He has impressive feet and does a great job keeping them moving. He’s a nasty finisher in the running game — and will punish in pass protection. Full article from April 29.

Kendrick Green • 6’2” • 302lbs • Illinois

Draft range: Day 2

Green is a little undersized for a typical NFL guard — and for some teams, even as a center — but in the past, head coach Andy Reid has found success with smaller centers. Slotting Green between Kyle Long (or Laurent Duvernay-Tardif) and Joe Thuney would give the Chiefs an active (and mobile) interior group. Green is incredibly explosive off the line of scrimmage, showcasing abilities to quickly work up to the second level or work laterally to get his hips around a shaded defensive tackle. Utilizing his natural leverage and raw strength, he’s able to generate torque, resulting in fantastic finishes to his blocks. Full article from April 26.

Dillon Radunz • 6’6” • 301 lbs • North Dakota State

Draft range: Day 2

Radunz might be yet another player who will be largely considered an interior offensive lineman with his 33 1/4” arms. Radunz played along the interior at the 2021 Reese’s Senior Bowl and looked excellent. Some believe his best position in the NFL will be center. He is a smart, experienced prospect that comes from a winning program. He more than held his own at the Senior Bowl — getting better as the week progressed against the best talent he’d seen to that point in his career. Full article from April 24.

Landon Dickerson • 6’6” • 325 lbs • Alabama

Draft range: Day 2

Dickerson a strong player at the point of attack with enough movement skills to work in space and at the second level. He’d be a welcome addition as a pass protector for Patrick Mahomes. His personality should fit in well — he was beloved at Alabama. There’s only one big question about his projection to the next level: his health. Dickerson is the kind of player you talk about snapping the ball to Mahomes for the next decade, but he hasn’t shown an ability to stay healthy; he has experienced multiple season-ending injuries in his college career. The evaluations of his medicals — not the film — will be the big question mark for him. Full article from April 20.

David Moore • 6’2” • 336 lbs • Grambling

Draft range: Day 3

Adding Moore’s wide frame to the middle of the offensive could provide the Chiefs with a stout, physical presence up front. He moves well for a man of his size, working up to the second level comfortably. He’s always looking to punish and finish defenders on the ground. Moore anchors well in pass protection — and once his hands are on you, it’s over. His best football is ahead of him — especially if he switches [to center] permanently. Full article from April 10.


Safeties


Tyree Gillespie • 6’ • 207 lbs • Missouri

Draft range: Fourth round

Over the past few years, the Chiefs have been introducing better and better athletes into the secondary — especially at safety. Their desire to get faster on the back end (and up the middle) has been evident — and a player like Gillespie would fit that path. He has the athletic profile to play in any back-end role — and he has the size and physical nature to play well in the box. Full article from April 7.


Offensive tackles


Liam Eichenberg • 6’6” • 305 lbs • Notre Dame

Draft range: Second round

If they don’t add significant help in free agency, the Chiefs will be in the market for an instant starter along the line — and Eichenberg provides exactly that. His technical prowess and prototypical size allow him to come in and play early on, which would be a huge boost for the Chiefs. Full article from April 1.

Stone Forsythe • 6’8” • 307 lbs • Florida

Draft range: Day 2

From his size and length, his prowess as a pass protector — and all the way down to some struggles as a run blocker — Forsythe may be the most “Andy Reid” offensive tackle in this draft class. If you were to pool the traits and skills of every offensive tack Reid has had through his career, Forsythe would match right up. Full article from April 3.

Spencer Brown • 6’8” • 314 lbs • Northern Iowa

Draft range: Third round

Outside of the first two rounds, the odds of the Chiefs selecting a ready-to-play tackle are low. After the second round, tackle prospects are more likely to have a high ceilings, possessing traits that a coaching staff can improve. Brown presents a unique set of tackle skills and traits that could be appealing to the Chiefs on Day 2, but their pass-heavy system — which requires tackles to frequently play deep into space — could highlight his rookie weaknesses. Full article from April 21.