Kansas City Chiefs March Scouting Report
The free agent market is in full bloom around the NFL. However, the Chiefs have been mostly handling in-house business thus far. Pro Days are being conducted in place of the traditional Combine, and quite honestly that has been working out well. The 2021 Draft will be here before we know it. Ah, but first let us see what GM Brett Veach has been up to.
Kansas City has a gaggle of players with expiring contracts or precarious contract/roster security concerns by the close of the 2020 football year. Here’s a look at which players are staying, having gotten at least a 1-year deal from Mr. Veach.
The players staying in the Chiefs’ uniform for the 2021 campaign (well, for now at least) are:
Safety Daniel Sorensen, 1-year,
WR Demarcus Robinson, 1-year,
OT Mike Remmers, 1-year,
RB Elijah McGuire, 1-year,
LB Ben Niemann, 1-year,
RB Darrel Williams, 1-year,
DE Taco Charlton, 1-year,
WR Byron Pringle, tendered a 2nd-round offer,
WR Tajae Sharpe, 1-year,
CB Charvarius Ward, tendered a 2nd-round offer.
Gone from the tribe are:
WR Sammy Watkins, signed by the Ravens,
DE TanohKpassagnon, inked by the Saints,
RB Damien Williams, now with the Bears,
FB Anthony Sherman, retired,
RT Mitchell Schwartz, released,
LT Eric Fisher, released,
New in town:
G Joe Thuney, DT Jarren Reed, TE Blake Bell (been here before), G Kyle Long.
This roster is in serious need of quality additions at quite a few key positions. AS currently constituted the Chiefs biggest needs heading into the draft and continuing through the free agent process are:
LT, RT, C, G, WR, CB and LB.
So, the most valuable player on the squad, QB Patrick Mahomes, essentially needs his entire protective wall on the line of scrimmage rebuilt. Sure, the team resigned veteran OT Mike Remmers, but Remmers is a band aid at best. Coach Andy Reid and his line coach Andy Heck have coached-up marginal blocking talents in the past. Could the two Andy’s be thinking they can perform their magic on 2020 3rd rounder Lucas Niang(another opt-out last season) as a RT option? Or maybe that magic is cast over practice squad OT Prince TegaWanogho, a 2020 6th round choice of the Eagles.
Magic or miracles are not going to keep Mahomes upright in 2021.
The signing of guard Joe Thuney is a step in the right direction to bolster the interior. There is hope (for some anyway but count me out) that the good doctor of the north, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, will return to action at the other guard spot after opting-out honorably in 2020, tending to the health care needs of his Canadian countrymen. Vet Kyle Long offers flexibility as a swing OL contributor but he’s seen better days and starting would just expose his flaws. Center is virtually vacant at this moment.
Looking at the free agent market we see that the pickings are slim when it comes to OTs and Centers, meaning the draft is likely the way to go to begin stocking the offensive line of scrimmage.
For a team that relies on the pass as heavily as the Chiefs do, the wide receiver room is pretty darn shabby. Sure, Tyreek Hill is a lethal weapon… and then what? Wow, Demarcus Robinson is back in the fold. Yeah, I just don’t get D-Rob at all. Byron Pringle may be a secret weapon in the making. He’s tendered at the 2nd-round level in his restricted free agency and that may mean the Chiefs actually value his skill set. He has yet to sign his tender though. Mecole Hardman? Yeah, I’m still scratching my head that he was drafted by this club. Free agency for filler? Well, Antonio Brown is out there and we all know how Coach Reid likes taking in strays with questionable histories. The draft? This is once again a deep talent pool at wideout and the draft is a solid option to strengthen the receiver spot for Mahomes.
CB and LB positions are thin at this time. L'Jarius Sneedis fine covering slot and is locked in for 2021. That leaves just Charvarius Ward and Rashad Fentonas outside starting options. Ward is OK at best but is a frequent flag getter. Fenton is what he is, a 6th round depth type. At LB, KC still has Anthony Hitchens (if he isn’t released for cap reasons), athletic but raw and flawed Willie Gay and depth guy Dorian O’Daniel. Ben Niemann just got a 1-year deal and will be back in 2021. There are a couple of bargain-priced free agents out there that could fill in well here. BJ Goodson looked sharp when healthy in Cleveland last season. James Burgess is vastly underrated and filled the stat sheet with tackles and assorted big plays for the Jets just 2 seasons ago.
The team is limited and handicapped by a tight cap space situation, making it quite difficult to bring in a high-priced talent to man either CB or LB. The draft is where the Chiefs should and will probably go to solve some of these key position gaps.
If nothing changes and the Chiefs stay put, make no trades before the draft, Mr. Veach and Big Red head into the 2021 draft with the following picks:
1.32, 2.64, 3.96, 4th, 5th, 7th, and their compensatory picks.
I fully expect to see the KC war room busy Day One of the draft, trading back and accumulating extra picks. With that thought, let’s see what pre-draft moves this franchise makes. I’ll be back next month with a full-blown draft preview and projection for our boys at 1 Arrowhead Dr.
Ahhh, the draft… my time of the year!
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