Kansas City Chiefs April Scouting Report
I had this all wrapped up and then… WHAM! GM Brett. Veach and Coach Andy Reid spring a pre-draft article-killer of a trade. Ah, but what a haul for the Chiefs’ defense! EX-Seattle pass-rushing demon DE Frank Clark now applies the pressure in a Kansas City uniform; OUTSTANDING! I’m willing to bet this has been in the works since the Justin Houston-Dee Ford transactions. Mr. Veachhad to give up this year’s 1st rounder (29th overall) and next year’s 2nd rounderto deliver the 26-year-old Clark to DC Steve Spagnuolo. Seattle and KC also swapped 3rd rounder for this draft, allowing the Chiefs to move up 8 spots in that round (from 29 to 21). Clark’s addition to the defense surely takes the Chiefs out of the running for one of the top-5 CB as the club’s first call into the draft coordinator of commissioner Roger Goodell now won’t happen until the 29th pick of the 2nd round. The Chiefs draft now takes a major shift from what I had projected.
One thing the Frank Clark trade doesn’t do is make this Tyreek Hill stuff go away. Kansas City’s brass takes these matters seriously, just askKareem Hunt.I’ll not get into the off-field details as if you follow the Chiefs you know what transpired with Hill. Hill’s messy situation and the escalating potential for league and/or team repercussions are surely going to have an affect on how the KC war room handles this draft. The Clark deal may have actually clarified the direction of the 2019 draft for Mr. Veach and Coach Andy. The D-line is now looking rather formidable with Clark, Chris Jones, Alex Okafor, Breeland Speaks, Emmanuel Ogbah and TanohKpassagnonset. CB is still a need, as is safety, but WR must be high on the KC draft board. Hill’s legalities and the losses of Kareem Hunt, Mitch Morse and Chris Conleyall amp up the need to swing draft light on the offense as well as the secondary.
The obvious wideout that would gain WR1 status for the Chiefs (sans Hill) is Sammy Watkins. Sudden Sam can be "sudden offense," but he just as easily can be "suddenly injured" as has been his history as a pro. Relying on Watkins to pick up the playmaking mantle at WR without Hill is a huge roll of the dice. Think about this, sitting behind Watkins and Hill areDemarcus Robinson, Gehrig Dieter, Josh Crockett, Davon Grayson, Sammie Coates, Marcus Kemp and Byron Pringle. Any of those reserves float your boat as "next-man-up" for a potentially suspended Hill andshould Watkins come up hobbled again? Yeah, didn’t think so. Let’s not stop at WR; RB is also an area of offensive concern. Currently, Damien Williams, Carlos Hyde and Darrel Williamscan be found in the RB room. Damien Williams almost made us forget Kareem Hunt last season, production-wise. His versatility and workman-like approach brought steady play and YFS, but the big play out of the backfield is missing. Hyde is what he is, a ground-pounder with a fragility tag on him. Darrel Williams is a poor-man’s Damien Williams; good but not great in any particular area of play. Missing is "juice" in this backfield. A highly potent offense needs a tailback that can not only keep up but put the foot on the gas as well and create impact plays rushing or receiving. Don’t get me wrong, Damien Williams and Carlos Hyde are fine backs for what they do, but they are most effective in "spots", not a feature roll.
So, early-on this draft for the Chiefs was all set up for a heavy dose of defensive dipping, but circumstances have shifted that focus and I think we can expect to see a pretty even break of defense and offense sway in the pickings this year. The Chiefs’ draft order for this year looks like this (round-slot-overall):
4- NO PICK
6-42-214 (compensatory pick)
Filling in the blanks, here’s my 2019 mock draft:
2-Juan Thornhill, SS, Virginia
2-Miles Sanders, RB, Penn State
3-Michael Jordan, C/G, Ohio State
4- NO PICK
5-Gary Jenning Jr, WR, West Virginia
6-EmekeEgbule, OLB, Houston
6- Paul Adams, OT, Missouri(compensatory pick)
7-Trevon Wesco, TE, West Virginia
Greedy Williams (LSU), Byron Murphy (WSH), DeAndre Baker (GA), Amani Oruwariye (Penn St.) and Trayvon Mullen (Clem)are viewed as the cream of the CB crop for 2019.The loss of the 1st rounder in exchange for DE Frank Clark slams the door on the Chiefs’ chances of selecting any of those talented corners. Waiting patiently but with obvious purpose and intent, KC makes the first draft call of 2019 in the 2nd round, 61st overall (29th in the 2nd). Not only does the move to acquire Clark bolster the defense, it may be a tip-off that Coach Reid has his true top draft target positioned in the 2nd round all along. I remind you what Big Red said earlier,
"I am always looking for a smart, aggressive, tough-minded defense. You don’t have to be the fastest guy, but effort becomes a huge thing for me. Toughness becomes a huge thing for me. The ability to make plays. Understand the game and make plays end up being important."
In my pre-Clark trade mock draft, I had the Chiefs hoping and praying Virginia safety Juan Thornhillsomehow slipped into the lower end of the 3rd round. With the draft priorities in a major flux, Coach Andy lifts Juan Thornhill into the 2nd round.The young man is going to have a great NFL career. He goes 6’-205, 4.42x40, with a sharp 1.57x10-split. Threw up 21 reps on the bench. Flew for 11’9 broad jump and 44" vertical. THAT’S INSANE EXPLOSION at the safety spot! Thornhill is a rare good-cover safety who has played both inside and CB and played effectively. He has good hands, will come up in a hurry and make the tackle supporting the run and can run with any RB or TE in routes. BUT… keys are he plays inside and outside and has ball-chops. Add in his explosion gifts and now I just hope and pray he is there at 29 in the 2nd. Quite honestly, I felt the Chiefs might try to move up to secure Thornhill before the Clark deal.
With 2 picks in the 2nd round, a trade could happen here involving 1 or both picks (up into the first?), but I feel KC stays put. There are 2 perfectly tailored players that would fill huge 2019 voids for KC. Juan Thornhill is already set as the early pick of the two 2nd-rounders. With the 31stpick of the 2nd round, the Kansas City Chiefs select, Miles Sanders, RB, Penn State.I was NOT a Sanders guy prior to the Combine but he absolutely sold himself withan all-around super workout. The formerSaquon Barkley caddy at State can do it all out of the backfield and is exactly what is missing on the Chiefs RB front. Starting just 1 full season at Penn State, Sanders has incredibly fresh legs and low grind on his body.This is one of those special opportunities when a player’s tool box and freshness are exactly what this offense needs to at the very least maintain the 2018 explosion of plays.
Round 3. WR? CB? Edge-rushing weapon? Nope… the O-line! While the Chiefs’ offensive line played well last season, there’s are real worries inside at G and C, and potential contractual concerns at both ends of the line in the near future. The immediate hole to fill is the most important one, Center. Mitch Morse is gone via free agency. Currently the Chiefs have Austin Reiter, Jimmy Murray, Ryan Hunter and Tejan Koroma rostered at the pivot. Which of those do you feel confident about for 2019? Protecting the gem of the offense is job #1 so why pass on a truly solid interior lineman that just fell into our laps? This is the 3rd-round pick KC swapped with the Seahawks in the Frank Clark move, moving from 29 to 21. With the 21stpick in the 3rdround, the Chiefs call out Michael Jordan, C/G, Ohio State. Jordan could be ready to step in at Center as a day-one starter, or at either OG slot if needed. At 6’6-312, Jordan has the size to help out at OT as well. Jordan has started full seasons at OG and C for Ohio State, and this is a pick that Coach Reid will get coached up at Center from day-1. Big Red likes his big centers, and Jordan certainly is that. He’s also darn good.
NO 4TH ROUNDER THIS YEAR!
OK, remember, we have a potential Tyreek Hill issue and Sammy Watkins’ sketchy health historyand a host of role receivers. SpeedyUMass WRAndy Isabellahas gotten a good amount of attention from the Chiefs’ draft group. He’s been "around" KC folks so much that I’ll be shocked if he isn’t scooped up by KC IF he drops to this spot. In-fact, it wouldn’t shock me if Mr. Veach doesn’t package his two 2nd-rounders to move down into the 3rd and add a couplepicks deeper in this draft, using that 3rd rounder on Isabella. For this writing let’s skip the trade scenario and remain as they currently stand. There should be a WR that has just impressed me more and more each time I go to his game cutups. He’d be perfect in this offense and with Pat Mahomes at QB. That impressive pass-catcher is Gary Jenning Jr, West Virginia.Jennings goes 6’1-214 (nice size), runs a legit 4.42 with a slick 1.55 take off (10-split). At worst he provides Coach Reid an attractive 3rd WR option for Mahomes if Tyreek Hill is on the field and Sammy Watkins is running routes as well. However, should Watkins miss time, Jennings offers the size and some play-making skills to fill that role. If Hill is tagged with a league suspension, Jennings has shown he can track the ball down field with confidence and ability.Again, IF Andy Isabella is here, I’m pretty sure he’s the guy. But Gary Jennings is just made for what the Chiefs are missing at wideout, a dangerous, HEALTHYinside-outside, 3-levels threat at WR. In a Just Sayin side note here, why do I keep hearing Mizzou WR Emmanuel Hall’s name whispering in my ear here? Just a thought.
The Chiefs head to round 6 with 2 picks (29 and 40). Defense and offense split the 6th round fun for GM Veach. However, now that Frank Clark dons a KC jersey, the defensive grab in the 6th will not be Shareef Miller of Penn State.Instead, Coach Reid and Mr. Veach give Coach Spagnuolo a raw but talented LB to work up; EmekeEgbule, Houston. Measuring 6’2-245, Egbule runs a game-fast 4.65x40. Egbule is a gifted, aggressive athlete at OLB, with a terrific burst to the ball and good tackling skills. He is relentless in pursuit. Egbule is versatile as well, sharp and disruptive in pass coverage. He gives Coach Spags a weapon that can be utilized in a variety of looks.
The 2nd pick of the 6th round for KC is headed back to the offense. With the 40th pick, a compensation pick, of the 6th round, Kansas City selects, Paul Adams, OT, Missouri.Adams has the size but needs to be brought along under a sound NFL line coach. As I mentioned earlier, the Chiefs offensive tackles Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz have contract expiring in the next couple of seasons. Behind Fisher and Schwartz are Pace Murphy and Dillon Gordon. GM Veach lucks out and calls out Adams as a rookie swing tackle that may end up playing at G. Adams is a 2-year captain out of Missouri, starting at OT. He has the tools but also displays performance flaws that need pro coaching attention. Those flaws are what allows Adams to fall late in the 6th. Coach Reid has done wonders with latent O-line talent over the years and should be able to elevate Adams to starting NFL quality levels.
Finally, the 7th round rolls around.TE may be on tap in the 7th round for the Chiefs. I’d love to see riser Kahale Warring slip to this spot, but not likely. Another TE prospect who shows in his college cut-ups is West Virginia’s Trevon Wesco. Wesco is a bundle of energy every snap, running routes or blocking for the run. You can’t help but notice his big #88 jersey flashing across the vid-screen for one reason or another. Wesco is also a hyper-drive YAC getter. He’s not swift, but he catches the rock and adds yards rapidly with active, smart footwork and surprising vision as a runner. So, with their final pick in the 7th round, the Kansas City Chiefs select, Trevon Wesco, TE, West Virginia.
Tyreek Hill’s potential legal woes were something I had taken into account in the last mock draft. Frank Clark becoming a Chief at this stage of draft prep as something I was unprepared for. Though the dynamics of the KC draft changes after the Clark trade, some of the meat-n-potatoes of the draft do not, namely nailing a RB and a WR. Should the Chiefs come away with Miles Sanders and Gary Jennings on offense, now I’d be overjoyed. Juan Thornhillpaired with vet Tyrann Mathieucould set the middle of this secondary up success for years to come. Thornhill was wishful thinking in the bottom of the 3rd, but safeties tend to drift down in draftsand going after him a full round sooner makes attaining him a very real possibility. Let’s see. And let’s see how close I come to this being the draft class for the Kansas City Chiefs in 2019.
It’s fun time during draft time. Enjoy the ride GM Brett Veach and Coach Andy Reid take us on over this weekend. I’ll break down their war room results next month after the draft.
Get me Miles Sanders and Gary Jennings!!!
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Sunday, September 13th, 2020
OK, the big day has come and gone; your draft is over. You assembled an impressive roster thanks to a lot of time, energy and research dedicated to that task.Tweets by @FFMastermind