Kansas City Chiefs May Scouting Report
The Chiefs and the rest of the NFL conducted the draft, Tyreek Hill’s situation endures, some players have come while others were let go. Let’s get right to the draft news first, reviewing my mock for the Chiefs and the players GM Brett Veach and Coach Andy Reid selected.
Looking back to last month’s Eye in the Sky Report we find the players I projected would hear their names called out by the Chiefs’ representatives on draft day.
Filling in the blanks, here’s my 2019 mock draft, the round they were actually selected (if at all) and the teams doing the choosing:
Mock round-player, position, college(round taken, team)
2-Juan Thornhill, SS, Virginia (2nd round, Chiefs)
Nailed this one!
2-Miles Sanders, RB, Penn State (2nd round, Eagles)
Right round wrong team.
3-Michael Jordan, C/G, Ohio State (4th round, Bengals)
He was there for KC but they passed and the Bengals got a gift.
4- NO PICK
5-Gary Jenning Jr, WR, West Virginia (4th round, Seahawks)
Chiefs already had their WR of choice, burning a 2nd on Mecole Hardman.
6-EmekeEgbule, OLB, Houston (6th round, Chargers)
L.A. got a good one in the round I projected Egbule to go; right round wrong team again.
6- Paul Adams, OT, Missouri (undrafted, signed by
7-Trevon Wesco, TE, West Virginia (4th round, Jets)
Drafted with fullback/H-back role in mind; Jets clearly had eyes on Wesco.
That was my take on the Chiefs draft projections. As I said last month, I tend to nail 1-2 picks and/or high priority free agent post-draft signings. Moving on, here is the final draft tally with the actual players selected by the Chiefs war-room contingent.
Round-player, position, college (draft notes)
2- Mecole Hardman, WR, Georgia(From Rams through Patriots/Bears)
2- Juan Thornhill, SS, Virginia(From Rams)
3- Khalen Saunders, DT, Western Illinois (From Seahawks)
6- Rashad Fenton, CB, South Carolina
6- Darwin Thompson, RB, Utah State(Compensatory Selection)
7- Nick Allegretti, C, Illinois (From 49ers)
Well, there’s no mistaking who Coach Reid wanted as a well-invested hedge on Tyreek Hill at WR; Mecole Hardman. I get the speed factor; Hardman blazed the Combine 40-track at 4.33 (4.26 by some on hand-held stoppers). Hardman was taken BEFORE Andy Isabella (4.45 x 40 and 4.27 in hand-held checks) and Parris Campbell (4.31-forty both electronic and hand-held). Yes, the rapid wheels are there but Hardman doesn’t play "big" in the same manner as Tyreek Hill. He’s knocked off his routes far more easily and will rarely break a tackle. Isabella and Campbell both exhibit game-day qualities closer to Hill’s than Hardman has shown. Only 4 WRs went before Hardman, meaning the draft cupboard was still bursting with pass-catching talent. I get the speed, but I don’t get the overall fit and the high cost of Mecole Hardman.
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 actually didlift 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 KC nailed a winner in the 2nd. Though Thornhill was listed in draft ranks as a strong safety the Chiefs are sending signals,he will be manning free safety. That’s an even better situation for the player, the Chiefs and fantasy IDP participants.
Round 3 saw DT Khalen Saunders of Western Illinois called out to become a KC Chief. Saunders is a short rock-pile in the middle of the line at 6’-324. He is athletic and quick inside, a battler with a good punch and active hands. He gets penetration and can be disruptive in the backfield. Short arms and conditioning are hurdles that need hurdling at this level. Saunders could be more consistent in his snap-to-snap energy. He isn’t a space-eater and can be locked on and moved from his gap, so constant movement is necessary for his success in the NFL with KC. I’ll take a wait-n-see position here. The Chiefs hauled in Saunders in the right round as far as value and league scouting are concerned, but I’m not sold he’s a "fit" for new DC Spagnuolo’s 4-3 based defense.
With the horse-trading done by GM Veachin the previous rounds and prior to the draft, KC did nothave another pick until the 28th slot in the 6th round.
The 6th round finally rolled around and after the Chargers stole the LB I had projected for KC (EmekeEgbule), KC selected CB Rashad Fenton out of South Carolina. Fenton goes 5’11-193, runs a 4.5-forty and showed average athleticism in drills at the Combine. Someone in the KC war-room liked this young man enough to draft him, but I’m not so sure he wouldn’t have been available as a UDFA. Quite honestly, I don’t get this pick. Fenton might turn out to be at best a slot-corner. I see mostly a special-teams guy here. Fenton has so-so ball chops, isn’t great with his footwork and he didn’t close out his college career on a high note. During the finale, the Belk Bowl vs Virginia, Fenton sat out the second half for some kind of injury, according to a teammate. His coachWill Muschamp put the removal from the game on Fenton. Injured? Not injured? Misunderstanding? I’m sure the Chiefs draft staff questioned Fenton and got the answers that put the issue to bed. But again, overall Rashad Fenton may be an over-reach even in the 6th round.
The other 6th round pick, the last of the round, was used on Utah State (there’s that Coach Reid big influence) RB Darwin Thompson. Thompson is a smaller, pass-catching, change-of-pace type. Taped at 5’8-198, Thompson ran his Pro-Day 40 at 4.55. He showed "ups" as he skied his vertical at 39" and popped the broad jump for 10’6 and he displayed nice upper-body power with 23 reps on the bench. His tape suggests a quick-twitch duck-n-dodge rusher that needs blocks to happen infront of him. He runs hard and hits the lanes quickly but won’t break many tackles. He’s willing as a pass-blocker but gets overmatched due to his lack of size. Thompson is a nifty receiver, but even there he presents a tough pro target to find (5’8) and owns small hands (8 3/8). For a team that had just Damien Williams, Carlos Hyde and Darrell Williams listed on the RB depth charts prior to the draft, the lack of urgency to address the position through the draft sooner. Could be that Coach Reid sees Thompson as another Darren Sproles or maybe something similar to one of his best RBs he’s coached, Brian Westbrook. We shall see but this is another draft choice I’m not fired up over.
Closing out the draft for Kansas City in the 7th round is Illinois centerNick Allegretti. Allegretti was the 2nd pick of the final round and brings the positional versatility Coach Reid seeks in his linemen. Measuring 6’4-310, Allegretti has size to move between center and guard. He isn’t quick-footed enough to slide out to either of the tackle spots but his work inside is smart and efficient. Another key trait that attracts Coach Reid to a player is leadership and Allegretti was a team captain at Illinois for 2 seasons. Allegrettineeds to boost his strength to get up to NFL standards, and under the KC coaches, he will. This is a solid end-of-draft choice as Allegretti is coachable, plays hard start-to-finish, snap-to-snap. Her may not be starter material, but Coach Reid and his staff have done wonders coaching up offensive linemen in the past.
Overall this draft left me somewhat disappointed and very much confused. I love the Thornhill get and Allegretti makes sense. The rest of the draft I just don’t get.
Once the draft was complete the Chiefs personnel folks got busy on the phones, looking to secure those under-valued und-drafted talents. Post-draft inkingsare noted below and tryouts are in (xx):
Position player, college (tryout if noted)
QB Kyle Shurmur, Vanderbilt
QB T.J. Linta, Wagner
RB James Williams, Washington State
RB Marcus Marshall, James Madison
RB Josh Caldwell, Northwest Missouri State (tryout)
WR Jamal Custis, Syracuse
WR Cody Thompson, Toledo
WR Felton Davis III, Michigan State
WR Trey Brock, Hillsdale (tryout)
WR Jamire Jordan, Fresno State
WR Andre Lindsey, Sacramento State
WR Julius Wingate, Stony Brook
TE Logan Parker, Southern Utah (tryout)
TE Logan Scott, Alabama-Birmingham (tryout)
FB John Lovett, Princeton
FB Justin Hobbs, Tulsa (tryout)
FB Reuben Peters, USC (tryout)
C Alex Fontana, Kansas (tryout)
C Bruno Reagan, Vanderbilt (tryout)
G Roman Andrus, Utah State (tryout)
G Dino Boyd, Cincinnati
G Braxton Pfaff, Virginia Tech (tryout)
G Abdul Beecham, Kansas State (tryout)
OT Jerrod Brooks, Texas-El Paso (tryout)
OT Maurice Bibaku Simba, Concordia (Canada-tryout)
K Austin Errthum, Northern Iowa (tryout)
K Gabriel Rui, Kansas (tryout)
DE Tim Ward, Old Dominion
DE Parker Hesse, Iowa (tryout)
DE Malik Harris, Incarnate Word (tryout)
DT Austin Maloata, Austin Peay (tryout)
OLB Gary Johnson, Texas
OLB Montavious Atkinson, Auburn (tryout)
ILB Kendall Joseph, Clemson (tryout)
ILB Darius Harris, Middle Tennessee
ILB Jim Jones, Kent State (tryout)
CB Mark Fields, Clemson
CB Shelton Lewis, Florida Atlantic (tryout)
CB Jalin Burrell, New Mexico
CB Dakari Monroe, San Jose State
CB Montre Gregory, Bowling Green (tryout)
FS Gaje Ferguson, Utah State (tryout)
FS Andrew Soroh, Florida Atlantic (tryout)
FS Marvin Tillman, Western Carolina (tryout)
FS Broderick Thomas, Alabama-Birmingham (tryout)
SS Herb Miller III, Florida Atlantic (tryout)
P Jack Fox, Rice
*Players noted in RED are ones to watch.
Maybe Coach Reid found an undrafted gem for the 2019 backfield. Staying with the obvious "Williams" RB theme the Chiefs appear to be practicing, Washington State’s James Williams is a very, very interesting post-draft addition, especially given this offenses’ penchant for utilizing RBs as receivers. James Washington was a Combine participant and put on a fine exhibition, enough to make the Chiefs take notice. In 2018 alone Williams caught 83 passes for 613 yards and 4 TDs. 2017 saw the Cougars’ RB haul in 71-482-3 TDs. As a freshman Williams gathered in 48-342-1 TD. His 3-seasons in college resulted in 202 catches and 8 receiving scores. Williams is not a swift runner, but he is game-fast, plays with a smooth, natural flow and catches the football with sure, soft hands. He reminds me ofShane Vereen. James Williams… one to watch.
KC signed a couple of undrafted wideouts that could not only make the squad but very well make noise in 2019. Jamal Custis (Syracuse) and Cody Thompson (Toledo) have had divergent success in their respective college careers. Prior to last season Custis caught just 13 passes in 3 years at ‘Cuse. However, he broke loose in 2018 as a senior, netting 51-906-17.8 and 6 TDs. He runs a solid 4.5-40 and though he tapes out at 6’4-215, Custis is a sharp route runner that sinks into his cuts and creates separation with good angles. Thompson comes to KC most likely as a footnote off of previous scouting trips to Toledo as the Chiefs made book on Kareem Hunt. Back in 2016 the Chiefs were eyeing up Toledo RB Hunt. That year just happened to be Thompson’s breakout campaign in college, and it turns out his best. Thompson aced the competition for 64-1269-19.8-11 TDs. It wasn’t just the stats that made one notice Thompson; it was the way he played. The Rocket receiver would not be denied YAC that season. He was fast, tough, sure-handed and a force after the catch. He played with verve and supreme confidence. Injuries put a damper on his following season (2017) yet managed 28-537-19.2-4 TDs in jut 5 games. Last year was a mixed bag of performance for those scouting Thompson. He snared just 48 passes in 13 games, his YPR dropped from 19.2 to 13.5…but he scored 10 times. Thompson got an invite to the Combine this year and measured 6’1-205. He ran his 40 in 4.57 but was especially sharp in the cone and pass-catching drills. He may have just been a scribble in the margin of Kareem Hunt’s scouting report back in 2016, but Thompson is the one wearing a KC helmet headed into 2019, and he owns the tools to stick.
DE Tim Ward, Old Dominion, suffered a torn ACL back in November 2018. He stand 6’5-265 and when healthy is about a 4.6-40 DE/OLB. Ward worked in a rotation at Old Dominion and takes pride in his ability to play the run, set the edge and use his length to make things difficult for QBs to find clean throwing lanes. He was overshadowed by his flashier counterpart at Old Dominion, OshaneXimines and the early November knee injury crushed his hopes of being drafted. But he has good tape out there and long measures that NFL coaches desire in an outside D-lineman. 2019 will likely be a red-shirt stash for Ward and the Chiefs as Ward continues to rehab the knee. Once sound (2020) this is a player to watch.
Clemson CB Mark Fields was hardly a household name in college, even given he is the son of former Pro Bowl LB of the same name. But it pays to have those NFL bloodlines, play at one of the powerhouse collegiate programs in the country AND own 2 national title rings in 4 college seasons. It is the only explanation I can give as to why Fields got an invite to the NFL Combine this year. We can sum up his college career and his NFL opportunity here by looking at just his last 2 quarters of play for Clemson and his Senior Bowl practices (again, how does he get into the Senior Bowl?).Yet, here I am highlighting a CB who started just 6 games in his 4 college seasons. Fields stepped in early in the 2nd half against Alabama and defended a couple of crucial passes to help keep ‘Bama from threatening. Fields flashed when called, on the biggest collegiate stage of 2018. Did the same at the Senior Bowl by impressing his coaches. Got to the Combine and, once again, flashed by blazing the 40 in 4.37 seconds. Mark Fields can fly, but he’s not big, not fluid and undisciplined. Fields isn’t a technician in coverage and relies on his speed to recover just in the nick of time. There is also the underlying opinion by some that Fields shows up for games when he’s feeling up to it. So why is he even here? Because he’s got those wheels, he’s won big at the college level and has NFL blood coursing through his veins. Mark Fields can make the Chiefs squad on special teams alone if he applies himself. His speed is a threat if used on punt returns or as a gunner covering punts. He has the opportunity to learn how to be a pro from another DB on the Chiefs with similar qualities and his own character; Tyrann Mathieu. Let’s see which Mark Fields shows up at camp next month and go from there. But he might be fun to watch in the process.
MEANWHILE, AT ARROWHEAD ONE:
WR Sammy Watkins is really "feeling it" this season. He says he is as healthy as he’s ever been and that has boosted his confidence and morale sky-high. This is good because Pat Mahomes is going to need a new playmaking target IF Tyreek Hill is lost for an extended length of time… or the season. Fanballers, Sammy Watkins is feeling good… Just Sayin’!
Is Coach Reid really going to go to battle with Damien Williams in the lead role? Sure! He’s not game-swift (neither was Kareem Hunt), he’s not overly elusive but he is deceivably bigger than many realize (5’11-222) and has been clocked in the 40 at 4.45. He can catch, gain chunky yards and the tough ones as well.
Odd that as of now Damien Williams is the RB1 with Carlos Hyde subbing in on packages. Back in the 2014 draft Hyde was the consensus #1 ranked RB in college and went in the 2nd round to the 49ers. Williams was part of that draft, viewed as the 38-40th ranked back of the 2014 draft and went undrafted. He was dismissed from Oklahoma in November of 2013 for rules violations. IN his first 4 seasons in Miami Williams tallied just 3 rushing TDs. He scored 4 in the final 4 games of last season with the Chiefs.
Don’t underestimate, undervalue or under-draft Damien Williams fanballers; he’s a true "fit" in this offense.
What does Pat Mahomes do for an encore? Looked at his SOS for 2019 and he very well could be disappointing his FFB coaches. It’s not an easy schedule and Mahomes will NOT be sneaking up on anyone this season.
And if he is being force-fed rookie WR Mecole Hardman in place of Tyreek Hill; I see trouble ahead.
DE/DT Chris Jones is sitting out OTAs and there’s the want of new cash that is keeping Jones from showing up. Jones had a monster 2018 and his services will be counted on if this defense wants to improve in 2019. He played 2018 as a DE and his numbers were out of that position, but he’s set for interior work going forward. That will complicate things at the money table.
Linebacker: What to do with Anthony Hitchens? Now that Darron Lee is onboard and likely manning the weak side backer spot Hitchens was set to fill, where does Hitchens go? His game isn’t a fit on the strong side and Reggie Ragland makes for the perfect prototype middle backer in this defense. Will new guy Lee hold up if Hitchens challenges?
Looking at the makeup of the defensive roster I’d say the buzz phrase this season is front 4 pressure. Look at this rotation of DEs: Frank Clark, Alex Okafor, Breeland Speaks, Emmanuel Ogbah, TanohKpassagnon. Throw in OLB/DE Jerry Attaochu and eventually Chris Jones blasting through the inside and opposing QBs will be hurrying their throws.
And that transforms a mediocre set of DBs into surprisingly effective ones. I am very excited to see how Tyrann Mathieu and Juan Thornhill are utilized between the hash marks. Both are ball-hawks and dangerous with the ball in their hands. And CBBashaudBreeland has turned 2 of his 3 picks the past 2 seasons into scores.
This defense is going to be fun to watch. Fantasy folks bestdraft your Chiefs DST unit and enjoy the ride.
Dwayne Bowe signed a 1-day contract so he could retire as a Kansas City Chief.
Speaking of retirements, our longtime ILB star Derrick Johnson officially hung up his cleats.
And, Jamaal Charles did the same.
Back in March ex KC WR Jeremy Maclin called it a career… but he’ll go out an Eagle for sure.
The Combine, Pro-days, the Draft, OTAs, mini-camps, QB-WR camps… good thing this the OFF-SEASON!!!
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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