An NFL writer for the Guardian believes teams are now trying to keep up with the Chiefs and quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Oliver Connolly called it the “Mahomesification” of the NFL.
“Thursday night’s first round of the NFL draft was all about crowning the league’s new batch of stars, it also served as confirmation of the Mahomesification of the league,” Connolly wrote.
“Whether they admit it or not in the immediate aftermath, Mahomes was baked into the decision-making process of every front-office executive on Thursday night: Either they’re chasing a Mahomes-lite, or they’re trying to find a way to keep up with the real deal.
WR Cornell Powell, Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs’ passing offense has run heavily through the team’s top two receiving targets in Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill over the past couple of years, leaving an assortment of role-playing pass catchers rotating in as Patrick Mahomes’s tertiary option. But Sammy Watkins is now in Baltimore, and the likes of Mecole Hardman, Byron Pringle, and Demarcus Robinson have all failed to show much consistency or dependability in the team’s passing game. That could create an opportunity for the team’s fifth-round pick, Powell.
The four-star recruit was a late bloomer at Clemson, playing a reserve role his first four years there before breaking out as a redshirt senior, grabbing 53 catches for 882 yards and seven touchdowns in 2020. My pre-draft pro comparison for Powell was, interestingly enough, Sammy Watkins; he’s big, physical at the catch point, can stretch a defense deep, and offers some big-play potential―so when the Chiefs grabbed him as a Watkins replacement, it did pique my interest. He’ll have to really impress coaches in the preseason to leapfrog Hardman, Pringle, Robinson, and a handful of others, but if he can show consistency as a route runner and the ability to win on the outside when given the chance, he could earn a role as the team’s no. 3 receiving option sooner rather than later.
Clemson · WR
Kansas City Chiefs
No. 181 overall
Powell went from heralded recruit to one-year starter after getting stuck behind a talented group of pass catchers at Clemson. He’s not a burner or a sudden separator from his routes, but he’s smooth and skilled when the ball is in the air. He offers a bit of a different look from what the Chiefs currently have on their roster at that position.
5. Defensive End Joshua Kaindoh is as athletic as they come.
A former five-star recruit, Kaindoh possesses some truly incredible athleticism to go along with his six-foot-six, 260-pound frame. In fact, the advanced metrics identified Kaindoh as one of the most athletic defensive end prospects to enter the draft since 1987.
Josh Kaindoh is a DE prospect in the 2021 draft class. He scored a 9.57 RAS out of a possible 10.00. This ranked 59 out of 1361 DE from 1987 to 2021. https://t.co/VZwdwr2pWR #RAS via @Mathbomb pic.twitter.com/Z8sNRMFUUt— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) April 12, 2021
2 - CHIEFS
As long as Patrick Mahomes is slinging it — and staying upright — they are the team to beat in the AFC. They do need to generate more pressure on defense.
Around the NFL
The deal is for $14 million and includes $8 million that is fully guaranteed, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
After not drafting an offensive tackle last week, the Ravens added Villanueva to play right tackle and replace Orlando Brown Jr., who was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs on April 23.
Villanueva, 32, started at left tackle for the Pittsburgh Steelers for the past six seasons but would fit in with the Ravens’ supersized offensive line on the right side. He ranked 18th last season in run block win rate — three spots higher than Brown (21st) — which should fit in with a Baltimore offense that ran the ball on a league-high 50.3% of plays from scrimmage last season.
Najee Harris, RB — Pittsburgh Steelers
So here’s the deal: We all knew this pick was happening. Every single person in football media penciled in Pittsburgh as a landing spot for Harris, and then it came true. It wasn’t because he was the best player available in every scenario, but more an understanding that he was made to play for the Steelers.
There’s been a recent trend of hating whenever a team takes a first round running back. Yes, it’s all the rage to move away from the position as a point of emphasis in the modern NFL, but great running backs like Derrick Henry and Dalvin Cook have shown that there’s still a role in the league — especially when an elite back can open up the passing game as a result.
Harris finally gives the Steelers what they’ve been lacking since the LeVeon Bell drama: Someone who can move the chains on the ground. Pittsburgh knows how to get the most out of its backs, and for this reason I think he’ll slot in perfectly and be productive from day one.
Packers get: CB Patrick Surtain II, WR Tim Patrick, QB Drew Lock, 2022 first-round pick, 2023 first-round pick
Broncos get: Rodgers, CB Eric Stokes
This is the most interesting offer a team could make for Rodgers, in my opinion. The Packers get only two first-round picks, but they get to add young, exciting talent at multiple positions who can step in immediately. If LaFleur & Co. think they can win with Love in 2021, this probably would be the best swap for them to consider.
In case you missed it at Arrowhead Pride
Center: Creed Humphrey
Before, I thought Austin Blythe would edge out Nick Allegretti for the starting job. Now, I’m wondering if Blythe will edge Allegretti out of a roster spot.
The Brown trade gave the Chiefs the option to use the 63rd overall pick to select one of the draft’s best interior offensive linemen. In our consensus ranking of the draft’s top prospects, Humphrey was ranked third behind Alijah Vera-Tucker and Landon Dickerson. The Chiefs even got a bit of a break: the San Francisco 49ers took seventh-ranked Aaron Banks with the 48th pick, while the Green Bay Packers selected eighth-ranked Josh Myers at 62.
It’s hard to imagine that Kansas City isn’t already penciling him in as the starter. As a rookie, you can never assume he’ll win the starting job — but I have to think it’s his job to lose.
A tweet to make you think
CELEBRATE! @MoDOT has OFFICIALLY APPROVED the Memorial Highway honoring @Chiefs RB Joe Delaney.— Joe Delaney Memorial Highway Project (@ClayWendler) May 4, 2021
The location of the memorial: I-435 from State Hwy 350 to Raytown Rd in Jackson County.
One sign will appear at each end of the route. They will be fabricated in 6-9 weeks. pic.twitter.com/X5Rrxl4j3z
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