Kansas City Chiefs March Scouting Report
With the major health event we are experiencing all league and team offices are essentially closed and "working from home." This season, if it does finally open (and it should) will be one of intrigue and much uncertainty. Teams are not able to work out free agents due to travel restrictions and the need to practice smart social distancing. That means no meetings and a lot of ‘buyer beware’ action going on. The NFL bosses have also decided to go forward with the 2020 draft late April, and that forces pro personnel folks in the war rooms to take risks on draftees that are not quite 100% healthy or carry high levels of injury risk, not to mention possibly drafting players of questionable character.
It will be a very intriguing 2020 draft for sure.
Let get updated with the Unrestricted Free Agent (UFA) mess that GM Brett Veachcontinues tohack through this off-season.Currently the club has no Restricted Free Agents (RFA) to deal with.
Players Mr. Veach has re-upped are:
(position, player, age)
FB, Anthony Sherman, 31
DE, Mike Pennel, 29
QB, Chad Henne, 35 (extended)
RB, Damien Williams, 28 (option picked up)
OLB, Damien Wilson, 27 (option picked up)
OT, Andrew Wylie, 26 (tendered)
TE, Deon Yelder, 25 (tendered)
DE, Chris Jones, 26 (FRANCHISE TAG)
Moving on are:
TE, Blake Bell, 29 (signed with Dallas)
C, Stefen Wisniewski, 31(signed with Pittsburgh)
DE, Emmanuel Ogbah, 26 (signed with Miami)
ILB, Reggie Ragland, 26 (signed with Detroit)
CB, Kendall Fuller, 25 (signed with Washington)
S, Jordan Lucas, 27 (signed with Chicago)
Free agents added:
OT, Mike Remmers, 31 (signed from Giants)
CB, Antonio Hamilton, 27 (signed from Giants)
QB, Jordan Ta’amu (UDFA, out of Mississippi)
Pending action or not coming back:
QB, Matt Moore, 36
RB, LeSean McCoy, 32
RB, Spencer Ware, 28
WR, Demarcus Robinson, 25
WR, Marcus Kemp, 25
TE, David Wells, 25
OT, Cameron Erving, 28
OLB,Terrell Suggs, 37
ILB, Darron Lee, 25
DT, Xavier Williams, 28
CB, Morris Claiborne, 30
CB, BashaudBreeland, 28
CB, Keith Reaser, 29
Mr. Veach has got the ink warmed up earlier last month by signing the following players to futures contracts:
Gehrig Dieter, WR
Mike Weber, RB
Emmanuel Smith, LB
Kyle Shurmur, QB
Elijah McGuire, RB
Devaroe Lawrence, DT
Chris Lammons, CB
Nick Keizer, TE
Braxton Hoyett, DT
Joe Fortson, TE
So there’s that.
Now, with the NFL’s decision to hold the draft in late April rather than postpone the college player market until the all-clear is sounded regarding this virus event, let’s dip into the chilly and uncharted waters of the 2020 draft, what the Chiefs draft needs are and who Mr. Veach and Coach Andy Reid might target.
As it stands today the Chiefs have just 5 picks in the 2020 draft, which are:
There is no doubt in my mind that Mr. Veach will be moving down to accumulate more picks, possibly even trading out of round 1. It is the great unknown and not knowing where and when the GM will make his moves is what makes this exercise in forecasting the Chiefs 2020 draft. With that said, I am making my early draft projections based on just these current 5 picks in place.
Here we go!
Looking at the Chiefs roster, contract situations and players that have left the tribe this off-season, I see the following positions the top needs for the draft, in this order of priority:
CB, OLB/EDGE, CENTER, OT, WR.
I know, there are more positions that need attention but currently we are working with just 5 picks in-hand. Let’s get to it.
ZACK BAUN, OLB, WISCONSIN
6’2-238, 4.65x40, 24 BENCH PRESS, 32.5VERTICAL, 4.31x20 SHUTTLE
I was hell-bent on slotting Utah CB Jaylon Johnson herebut after watching a number of Johnson’s game cutups from the 2019 season I just couldn’t. That and the impressive play of another college CB that carries a slightly lower draft gradeand will likely be waiting for the Chiefs in the 2nd round pushed Johnson and drafting a CB at 1 out. In comes a bundle of football energy, Zack Baun. Baun is rated no higher than a 2nd round buy-in but the Chiefs are drafting dead-last in the first round so a little reach at 32 makes sense. In 14 games at Wisconsin this past season Baunrolled up 75 total tackles, 19.5 resulting in tackles for loss, 12.5 sacks and 1 pick for a 34 yard TD return. He gets after it. He arrives at the football in ill-will. Is Baun perfect? No! He will over-run plays and his pass-rush technique is shallow and needs pro coaching. Ah, he IS darn coachable, and his best football is ahead. Baun will be gone before Mr. Veach gets another shot at him in round 2and picking at 32 in round 1 is essentially kicking off round 2. Chiefs needs an injection of edge rush at LB bow that Justin Houston and Dee Ford are long gone. Baun can deliver urgent pressure even with his limited toolbox of rush moves, but also provide strong run support. He owns 1st-round talents and can pay off big with more quality development.
ROUND 2:31 (63)
BRYCE HALL, CB, VIRGINIA
6’1-202, 4.5x40 (estimated), 11 BENCH PRESS, NO COMBINE WORKOUT (ANKLE INJURY RECOVERY)
Referring back to my projection of Jaylon Johnson first being slotted as a first round gem for the Chiefs, I had trouble getting past the many times I viewed Johnson shying away from the rough stuff on the field, things like taking on blockers, pressing bigger wideouts tough and tackling. Johnson is a terrific cover corner but just lacked a physical aspect that I wanted as well, especially from a round 1 CB. More research through other top CBs that may be available for the Chiefs at 32 brought more of the same… until I got to Bryce Hall. Hall gets dirty, taking on WRs after the catch as well as RBs coming his way. He’s not quite as nifty a cover corner as Johnson, but there isn’t great separation between them. Hall will lose a receiver deep once in a while and his footwork is more methodical getting hips turned and dropping back. But Hall is a rough-n-ready press corner, he closes rapidly on wideouts, he makes tackles, can rush the QB off the edge and goes after the ball. Hall’s hands could be better, but he has 5 INTs in 4 seasons at Virginia. Hall racked up 62 tackles in 2018, 3.5 for loss, 2 sacks and had 2 picks. His 2019 campaign ended in an October contest vs Miami when he broke his ankle and went in for surgery. Now, there is the medical question mark as Hall did not drill at the Combine and there will be no Pro Day drills to evaluate given the current virus mess. Hall will be 9 months removed from the injury at July’s training camp (hopefully we have one). He brings a tough style, good enough cover skills and attitude. Plus, Hall was a college teammate of Chiefs exciting sophomore safety Juan Thornhill. Bryce Hall is a great end-of-the-round get in the 2nd.
ROUND 3:32 (96)
TYLER BIADASZ, C, WISCONSIN
Biadasz won the 2019 Remington Trophy as the nation's top center, was an Outland Trophy finalist, garnered 1st-team APAll-American and 1st-team All-Big Ten honors.He is a 3-year starter who bounced back from hip surgery in the 2019 off-season to wins those lofty awards. The Badger pivot has the size Coach Reid desires at center, the smarts and experience that the Chiefs need. He isn’t a power pusher in the middle, but Biadasz was right in the middle of leading one of the nation’s top rushing attacks in college. Oh, and he is a Wisconsin U offensive lineman! Biadasz didn’t workout at the Combinewhich lowers his draft value in some war rooms around the league. Coach Reid can mold this hard-working and studious prospect into a top-grade pro pivot.
ROUND 4:32 (138)
CHARLIE HECK, OT, NORTH CAROLINA
6’8-311, 21 BENCH PRESS, 34 1/8" ARMS.
Heck has football roaring through his veins, literally. Dad Andy Heckwas a 1st-round pick as an offensive lineman and is a coach now. He’s 6’8-311. Long, nimble enough and buckets of football nuance. This is a Coach Reid ‘special’. He has the lack of leverage one expects with a 6’8 tackle, but under Big Red’s care Heck can become a heck of a 3rd OT on this roster with potential to man an edge for many years. 6’8 and son of football coach who had a long pro career in the trenches, yeah, nice get in the 4th.
ROUND 5:32 (177)
TYLER JOHNSON, WR, MINNESOTA
61-206, 4.5x40 (estimated), 9" HANDS, 75’ WINGSPAN
43 games played in 4 seasons at Minnesota. Over the last 2 seasons Johnson hauled in 164 passes for 2487 yards, 15.2 YPR and 25 TDs in just the last 2 years. The Gopher golden router is a smart, fast and confident receiver that can be a productive and consistent option for Patrick Mahomes opposite Tyreek Hill. Some draft models have Johnson going as late as the 7th round, or even undrafted. Johnson is a polished router and a true pro-level talent. The Chiefs need an influx of fresh hands at wideout, given the uncertain status of Sammy Watkins, theexodus of Demarcus Robinsonwhich leaves Tyreek Hill and Mecole Hardmanas the only sure bets in 2020. Tyler Johnson doesn’t carry the name brand sparkle of those upper-tier receivers but make no mistake this is a super-deep WR pool and Johnson truly ‘belongs.’ A gift at 5.
There’s my first crack at the Chiefs draft for 2020. It is bound to change in my April Eye in the Sky Report. And there is no question Mr. Veach will be dealing to acquire more picks. Remember too that the draft and free agency are 2 avenues of injecting new blood in the roster, but the 3rdopportunity to add talent comes immediately post draft;inking priority undraftedrookies. Coach Reid will make a strong pitch to boost the RB room post-draft. I have eyes on several RBs that may go uncalled on draft day, as well as other wideouts and a couple other spots.
RBs I really like that may be ready to answer a post-draft call are:
Javon Leake, Maryland
DeeJay Dallas, Miami
Salvon Ahmed, Washington
Xavier Jones, SMU
Potential undrafted wideouts that the Chiefs should key in on:
Binjimen Victor, Ohio State
Jauan Jennings, Tennessee
Marquez Callaway, Tennessee
Freddie Swain, Florida
KJ Osborn, Miami
KC needs CBs and here are a couple of likely undrafted gems:
KiAnte Hardin, Pittsburg State
That fun time of the off-season is rolling around fast, Covid-19 or not. Yes, we are all dealing with serious issues each and every day but the goings-on in the NFL and at the college level regarding the 2020 draft is a chance to decompress and enjoy a break from it all. Hang in there and we know we will get through this soon.
Next month, I’ll refine the Chiefs draft plans; it’s what I do.
John Cooney is a senior fantasy football writer for FFMastermind.com.
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Sunday, September 13th, 2020
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