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NFL Draft results: Chiefs pick Duke tight end Noah Gray at No. 162

Kansas City traded up to select the Duke product.

Georgia Tech v Duke Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

The Kansas City Chiefs traded up to select Duke tight end Noah Gray at pick No. 162 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft. To do so, they gave their 175th and 207th picks to the New York Jets in exchange for the Jets’ 162nd and 226th picks.

6’4” | 240 lbs | Duke

Gardner, MA

Grade (round): Fourth

Background: Former three-star recruit. 2020 team captain. Duke’s all-time tight end leader in receptions and fourth in program history in touchdowns. 2019 All-ACC.

Strengths: Gray is an athletic, move tight end who shows really nice flexibility in his hips. He has the ability to twist his body to make catches on the sideline — with the functional athleticism to adjust to poorly-thrown balls. He can catch the ball, gather himself and snap his hips to get upfield with extreme fluidity. Gray shows some creativity with the ball in his hands; he is not easy to get on the ground — and sees the field well. He displays good nuance as a route runner. He does a great job exploding out of his breaks — especially on in-breaking routes. He has shown the ability to give a head fake and attack leverage before exploding into his break. As a blocker, he has feet that are athletic-enough to mirror in pass protection and seal off defenders in the running game. He lines up all over the formation and could play more of an H-back-type role if a team was so inclined. He plays with an attitude and should be a core special-teams player as he gets acclimated to an NFL playbook.

Weaknesses: Gray is light in the pants and may not ever be a true in-line tight end. He can get tossed aside too easily in the running game and is often overwhelmed as a blocker against stronger pass rushers. He is not accustomed to getting into his route stem from a three-point stance; it looks unnatural. I would like to see him use his size to be stronger at the catch point. He does not always shield off defenders and lets smaller players get into his catch zone. Teams may be turned off by his upside as a true in-line type; he will need to find the right fit to be successful in the NFL.

How he fits with the Chiefs: Gray would be an immediate upgrade to the tight end position in Kansas City. He may not ever be the guy to replace Travis Kelce — no one will be — but he would be an excellent complement to what Kelce already does. If the Chiefs are looking to play more 12 personnel, Gray provides them with that option. He could also be a replacement for Anthony Sherman, as he can line up in the backfield as a fullback — and we know how much Reid loves to run wheel routes to the fullback. Gray could feast in a role like that.

Chiefs Draft Picks

  • Second round (58th): Missouri linebacker Nick Bolton
  • Second round (63rd): Oklahoma offensive lineman Creed Humphrey
  • Fourth round (144th): Florida State defensive end Joshua Kaindoh
  • Fifth round (162nd): Duke tight end Noah Gray
  • Fifth round (181st): Clemson wide receiver Cornell Powell
  • Sixth round (226th): Tennessee offensive lineman Trey Smith

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