The Kansas City Chiefs made six picks this weekend as part of the 2021 NFL Draft. Kansas City general manager Brett Veach remained patient throughout the three days, trading up only once — in the fifth round to select Duke tight end Noah Gray.
Kansas City’s trade with the New York Jets to take Gray saw the Chiefs surrender picks 175 and 207 for 162 (Gray) and 226.
Here are your six new Chiefs:
Second-round pick (No. 58): Missouri linebacker Nick Bolton
Bolton is a 6-foot, 232-pound linebacker out of the University of Missouri.
Chiefs’ take: “Well, he makes plays and he’s smart, he made all the calls at Missouri and we felt like he could do that here, Steve did and you loved his attitude, you love the whole story. I mean you guys are going to get a great story with this kid and how he came up through the ranks here. So he’s a good solid person and a heck of a football player.” - Head coach Andy Reid on what makes Bolton a “Steve Spagnuolo” linebacker
How he fits with the Chiefs (Kent Swanson): 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 very athletic pair of linebackers in 2022 and beyond.
Second round (No. 63): Oklahoma offensive lineman Creed Humphrey
Humphrey is a 6-foot-5, 312-pound offensive lineman out of the University of Oklahoma.
Chiefs’ take: “Creed is another guy that’s played a lot of football. I mentioned earlier we had some flexibility there with Austin (Blythe) and with Joe Thuney. Now with Creed coming in here, needless to say, now you feel good about leaving Thuney where he’s most comfortable, and that’s at that guard position. And Creed now gives you a bigger center option, and we had been talking about that. Again, it’ll be great competition and they’re going to have to come in here and compete and may the best man win. Austin has shown that he can come in and play, and he’s done that over his career and shown that he can do it at a high level. Creed offers a bigger body, and that pocket and the way that those larger linemen can affect the pocket is certainly different with Creed blocking in there.” - General manager Brett Veach on how Humphrey fits in with the team
How he fits with the Chiefs (Swanson): While Humphrey isn’t a mauler, his movement skill and football IQ should see his name called on day two of the draft. If the Chiefs were looking to pair another good moving offensive lineman with Joe Thuney on the interior, Humphrey could make a lot of sense for the Chiefs. He’ll need to develop his anchor to allow Mahomes to step up into the pocket, but Humphrey has the physical tools and mental processing to be a quality starter in the league.
Fourth round (No. 144): Florida State defensive end Joshua Kaindoh
Kaindoh is a 6-foot-6, 260-pound defensive end out of Florida State University.
Chiefs’ take: “Kaindoh is a very talented individual. He has all the tools that you’re looking for. He’s got the length, he’s got strength, he’s got speed, he’s got all the things that you’re looking for. He’s just been a little banged up over the last couple years. That’s kind of held him back, but we’re excited about what kind of player he could be in the future.” - Area scout David Hinson on why Kansas City liked Kaindoh
How he fits with the Chiefs (Swanson): Kaindoh tested through the roof and earned an early Day 3 nod. This is a bet on a lot of potential and upside. The football character is there — and if they untap some of his raw ability, they have a steal.
Fifth round (No. 162): Duke tight end Noah Gray
Gray is a 6-foot-4, 240-pound tight end out of Duke University.
Chiefs’ take: “I think what makes him attractive is that, and I’m not saying he’s—obviously Travis (Kelce) is a potential Hall of Fame guy—but he can run some of those routes, he can do some of those things that Travis does as a receiver, split out while also giving you some flexibility in terms of being able to line up in the backfield, do some fullback responsibilities. And I think the kid can become a really good special teams player because as Dave (Toub) has said many times, this kid is a high character kid, he’ll do anything you want, he’s tough, he’s physical, he’ll throw his body around. So, I think you don’t just pigeonhole him as just a receiving tight end, I think the guy’s got some ability to be more than that. So, he is something different than we’ve had the last couple years.” - Assistant director of player personnel Mike Bradway on what sets Gray apart
How he fits with the Chiefs (Swanson): 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.
Fifth round (No. 181): Clemson wide receiver Cornell Powell
Powell is a 6-foot, 204-pound wide receiver out of Clemson University.
Chiefs’ take: “He’s going to be like our post-up receiver. Like Dave (Hinson) said, when you see this kid he’s big, he’s strapped up, he’s got big muscles, he’s strong, he’s very good after the catch, that’s kind of where he shines, so who better to use him than coach Andy Reid. A Hall of Fame head coach, he finds where your receivers are, what they’re best at, and then he’ll play his game up to that, and I think this kid is going to be great for our offense and kind of filling in where Sammy (Watkins) left off.” - Director of college scouting Ryne Nutt on how Powell fits into the team’s plans
How he fits with the Chiefs (Swanson): Dave Toub has to be thrilled with this pick — and Andy Reid is certainly intrigued. This a guy who will do the little things right for this football team — and that will ultimately decide his fate as a professional. He’s s a great fit — and a high-character player for the receiver room.
Sixth round (No. 226): Tennessee offensive lineman Trey Smith
Trey Smith is a 6-foot-6, 330-pound offensive lineman out of the University of Tennesee.
Chiefs’ take: “He started over 40 games, so that says a lot about his dedication to being a member of that program and he wanted to be such a big part of the turnaround at Tennessee. He is a guy that when we get him, every single day he’s going to hit the field and try to get better. He’s going to do whatever he has to do like even when he was going through the medical stuff, he was still going through some of the practices whether he could participate or not. He would be out there in gear going through stuff that allowed him to be prepared for games on Saturday. That says a lot. I mean it’s so easy to get disenchanted in today’s society. So many kids, they get down and get depressed, but not this kid. This kid just kept working and it shows you the dedication because he did it in the classroom as well. I mean he’s a really smart kid, he’s self-aware, he’s mature. Like I said you know Adam asked if I thought he could compete for a job. He’s going to compete, this kid’s going to find a way to play and find a way to get on the field and participate and be a part of the success story. So, like I said, I love the kid. Personally, I think this kid is going to make our football team a better football team.” - Area scout Pat Sperduto on what he likes about Smith
How he fits with the Chiefs (Swanson): The Chiefs can be confusing about what they like on the interior; last year, they went out and got some big bodies. This year, they acquired two athletic movers to play along the interior. It is hard to tell if they will like Smith, as they have given mixed signals about their type. One thing Smith has that KC has selected in the past is background as a tackle. Smith does an excellent job in pass pro and would be fine in KC there, and Osemele was playing well for the Chiefs last year, and that is someone he compares to well.
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