Eye in the Sky Report
2017 Kansas City Chiefs
The Draft is about a month past and it is a good time to review the picks while catching up on some OTA looks and off-season goings-on.
The Chiefs’ draft went down like this after all moves and trades were completed:
1.10- QB Patrick Mahomes, Texas Tech, from Bills (trade)
2.27- DL Tanoh Kpassagnon, Villanova
3.22- RB Kareem Hunt, Toledo, from Vikings through Dolphins (trade)
4.33- WR Jehu Chesson, Michigan, compensatory pick – from Vikings through Eagles through Browns (trade)
5.40- LB Ukeme Eligwe, Georgia Southern, compensatory pick – from Patriots (trade)
6.27- Forfeited: Tampering (Jeremy Maclin)
6.35- DB Leon McQuay III, Southern California, compensatory pick
So, out of all the prospects the Chiefs officially worked out or met with, only QB Pat Mahomes was actually selected and no other prospect officially listed by the Chiefs were signed as undrafted free agents. So much for that pre-draft undertaking on my part.
Patrick Mahomes II
As is usually the case in my annual mock draft for the Chiefs, I had the right position in the right round on one prediction and nailed the exact player in consolation fashion, as an either/or and off by a round. I did have the Chiefs taking a QB with their first pick but guessed on Deshaun Watson being the arms and legs Coach Reid would covet. Turns out QB was the right top choice, but Pat Mahomes was the target GM John Dorsey traded up for. Let me say I am thrilled with the aggressive action taken to call out Mahomes’ name. Of all the QBs in this draft, Mahomes was my “wish”, but I never thought the Chiefs would spend the collateral needed to get into position to pick the Texas Tech machine. This is Coach Reid’s KC version of the Donovan McNabb selection when he took over in Philly. That was a successful marriage of Coach/QB and I think we are about to experience an 8-10 year run of exciting Chiefs’ football AFTER the Alex Smith era.
The player I kinda got right was 2nd rounder Tanoh Kpassagnon of Villanova. Kpassagnon is a huge DE/DT that is just scratching the surface of his immense talent and still has room to grow; he’s currently 6’7-290. I had the Chiefs tabbing the big D-lineman in the 3rd round in the event Trey Hendrickson was not available. Turns out KC’s draft brass didn’t wait for either to be available in the 3rd and pulled the call-out trigger in the 2nd round. Again, he has some cleaning up to do and maturing that must follow in his play, but his physical tools are outstanding.
RB Kareem Hunt
Already making a lot of OTA noise is 3rd-round RB Kareem Hunt from Toledo. He’s been impressing and working hard to do so. Catching the eyes of on-field beat reporters, Hunt has already been projected to be the Chiefs’ top rusher and receiver out of the backfield.
Completing the Draft and UDFAs
Mr. Dorsey didn’t attack the secondary in the draft as I anticipated but sure bought into it post draft. The Chiefs didn’t select a DB until the 6th round, choosing DB Leon McQuay III. McQuay isn’t even a CB, a position I felt KC would target early. He’s a safety, most likely at a strong position inside. Post-draft the Chiefs signed another strong safety type, Jordan Sterns out of Oklahoma State. CB was addressed with the inking of 3 undrafted free agents; Ashton Lampkin (Oklahoma State), JR Nelson (Montana) and Devin Chappell (Oregon state). This translate to the staff being happy with the advancements of CB Steve Nelson and a projection the Phillip Gaines will round into top form for 2017, opposite Marcus Peters. Staying on the defensive portion of the draft, KC used a 5th round pick on Ukeme Uligwe of Georgia Southern. ILB is a morphing position in the NFL and teams are no longer putting a high draft value on the interior LB spot, opting to draft swing-type LBs with athletic tools to mold into what the team might need inside. Derrick Johnson is coming off another major injury and is hitting age 34, so ILB had to be addressed. I threw out the name of athletic LB Elijah Lee, but the Chiefs grabbed the 6’1-235 Uligwe.
KC gave up a couple of draft picks this season in trades with the Bills, Vikings, and Patriots, and lost a 6th in the Jeremy Maclin tampering snafu. With the premium now placed on each draft opportunity due to the scarcity of draft slots this year, it baffles me that the Chiefs threw away a pick on WR Jehu Chesson of Michigan. He’s a lunch-pail type, but I just fail to see the upside here. My “throw away” comment is justified somewhat by the post-draft signing of not 1, not 2, not 3, but 5 WRs, in addition to drafting Chesson. I thought North Carolina’s Mack Hollins would have been an ideal selection on the 4th and could be the Eagles, still with KC ties via HC Doug Pederson, jumped on the very underrated Hollins before Mr. Dorsey had a chance and the Chiefs just went with the nest WR on their board at that slot. I don’t know, but Chesson is no Mack Hollins. Heck, I would have preferred Chad Hansen (Cal-4th after KC pick of Chesson), Shelton Gibson (WVA-5th), Stacy Coley (MIA-6th) or Noah Brown (Oh St-6th) over Chesson. And where does he fit in after Maclin, Tyreek Hill, Chris Conley, Albert Wilson, Travis Kelce, rookie RB Hunt and Spencer Ware? We’ll see.
On the OTA front, Jeremy Maclin admits his 2016 was a mess… no kidding! Maclin vows to right his 2016 wrong. He did have injuries and handled some undisclosed off-field issues (family?) that appeared to be major distractions. Maclin should be better this season for sure, but he isn’t needed as much as prior to last season. The wonderful surprise (to some) of WR Tyreek Hill has helped deepen the WR unit for the Chiefs. Albert Wilson was re-upped and this just may the year uber-talented Chris Conley takes off. If there is anyone that carries the “I’m Due” sign on his back this pre-season, its Conley. Alex Smith accepts the drafting of Mahomes and knows full well 2017 is still his. I don’t want to see Mahomes take a snap in 2017, and I don’t think Coach Reid wants to see the QB of 2018 in there either this season. With that said, Mr. Dorsey best do something to create a cushion between Smith and Mahomes in the way of a viable veteran backup QB Currently all that separates the starter and the rookie are Tyler Bray and Joel Stave. YIKES for 2017 if either of those flawed passers are at the helm for any length of time. The big question is who… the free agent waters are filled with Bray and Stave types. Austin Davis isn’t a bad option.
Okay, who is Kareem Hunt? The Chiefs’ 2017 3rd-round selection is a RB that played 4 years at Toledo. Though not a swift runner, Hunt is quick in space and sees the field well. He compiled 782 career carries in college, netting a very impressive 6.3 yards a carry. The 6.3 YPC is quite an accomplishment as this is an average usually related to speedy tailbacks that break the 40-yard dash under 4.5 seconds. Hunt’s Combine 40 was a very average 4.62 and his efforts to improve that number at his Pro Day workouts resulted in a slightly better 4.6-forty. Key for KC fans is Hunt’s 10-yard split; he gets going rapidly at 1.59 seconds. Again, quicker than fast, but he plays fast with the ball in his hands. Not only is Hunt a heady rusher, he morphed into a prolific pass-catcher in his final season at Toledo. After snaring just 9 and 11 passes in years 2014 and 2015, Hunt exploded with 41 catches last season. That pass-catching ability was surely a trait that attracted the Chiefs, as Coach Reid likes throwing to his backs. Hunt also has a keen nose for the stripe, scoring 44 rushing TDs in 4 seasons at Toledo. So, is all the early talk about Hunt taking over feature duties in the Chiefs’ backfield warranted? Sure. Spencer Ware is a solid all-around back but he’s far from sudden. Charcandrick West brings pop and speed, but so far has not shown his coaches he can withstand extended play. And, GM Dorsey spent a 3rd round pick on a RB, in a market that devalues the position still. If there is one position that can play immediately in the NFL with success, it is RB. Hunt is a well-seasoned collegiate rusher with proven all-around ability. Young legs behind a solid O-line in a conservative offense sounds like feature back material to me.
Camps begin soon. Stay tuned at Fantasy Football Mastermind as the entire staff gets cracking on the annual Draft Guide, the best in the biz.
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