Kansas City Chiefs May Scouting Report
The 2021 draft has come and gone. Let’s get right to the picks, the transactions prior to the draft and post-draft and a look back at my Chiefs mock draft compared to the actual selections made by GM Brett Veach and Coach Andy Reid.
The moves made by Mr. Veach before draft day were:
signed G Austin Blythe to a one-year, $990,000 contract.
signed RB Michael Burton.
signed RB Elijah McGuire to a one-year contract.
signed DT Jarran Reed to a one-year, $7 million contract.
signed DB Daniel Sorensen to a one-year, $2.46 million contract.
signed WR Demarcus Robinson to a one-year, $1.13 million contract.
signed TE Nick Keizer to a one-year, $780 thousand contract.
signed DE Taco Charlton to a one-year contract.
cut OT Eric Fisher.
signed RG Kyle Long.
signed WR Marcus Kemp.
signed DB Deandre Baker to a Reserve/Future contract.
signed TE Evan Baylis to a Reserve/Future contract.
signed LB Omari Cobb to a Reserve/Future contract.
signed DE Austin Edwards to a Reserve/Future contract.
signed WR Maurice Ffrench to a Reserve/Future contract.
signed WR Jody Fortson to a Reserve/Future contract.
signed DE Demone Harris to a Reserve/Future contract.
signed LB Emmanuel Smith to a Reserve/Future contract.
signed C Darryl Williams to a Reserve/Future contract.
signed G Bryan Witzmann to a Reserve/Future contract.
The Chiefs did not have a first round pick and did not make a selection until the 58th overall slot, later in the second round. Prior to the draft Kansas City completed a shocking blockbuster trade with the Ravens, acquiring OT Orlando Brown Jr., a 2021 second-round draft pick and 2022 sixth-round draft pick from Baltimore for a 2021 first-round draft pick, a 2021 third-round draft pick, a 2021 fourth round draft pick and a 2022 fifth round draft pick.
The draft went like this:
2.58 Nick Bolton, LB, Missouri
2.63 Creed Humphrey, OL, Oklahoma
4.144 Joshua Kaindoh, DE, Florida St.
5.162 Noah Gray, TE, Duke
5.181 Cornell Powell, WR, Clemson
6.226 Trey Smith, OL, Tennessee
After the draft Mr. Veach got to work with these transactions:
signed WR Daurice Fountain.
signed DB Manny Patterson.
cut WR Tajae Sharpe.
acquired DB Mike Hughes and a 2022 seventh-round draft pick from the Minnesota Vikings for a conditional 2022 sixth-round draft pick.
cut QB Jordan Ta'amu.
re-signed G Andrew Wylie.
cut TE Sean Culkin.
Cut G Bryan Witzmann.
signed WR Chris Finke.
signed DB Will Parks to a one-year, $1.13 million contract.
Now, about that draft…
MY PROJECTED PICK: 2.26 (58):Tyson Campbell, CB, Georgia (2.33, Jacksonville)
PLAN B: IfeatuMelifonwu, CB, Syracuse (3.101, Detroit)
CHIEFS ACTUAL PICK: 2.58 Nick Bolton, LB, Missouri
MY THOUGHTS: Coming away with Nick Bolton in the 2nd round is simply OUTSTANDING! The Chiefs brought home a day-one starter here. CB Tyson Campbell was long gone, snatched up by the Jaguars with the first pick of this round. I did not project Bolton lasting late into round two. Wow! Coach Reid now has a starting talent able to captain this defense for the next 10 years.
MY PROJECTED PICK: 2.31 (63):Jabril Cox, LB, LSU (4.115, Dallas)
PLAN B: Pete Werner, ILB, Ohio State (2.60, New Orleans)
CHIEFS ACTUAL PICK: 2.63 Creed Humphrey, OL, Oklahoma
MY THOUGHTS: Wow again! While I fawned over the idea of having Jabril Cox roaming sideline-to-sideline and cutting down passing zones for opposing RBs and TEs, that obviously was not going to happen once Nick Bolton got his KC call 5 spots earlier. How can anyone argue with Mr. Veach filling a real need up front and doing so with potentially the best Center in the 2021 draft class? Prior to the draft Kansas City signed savvy veteran pivot Austin Blythe and he still projects as the starter in the middle. Creed Humphrey at worse becomes an alite interior swing man and at best flat-out wins the starting gig at Center and Blythe slides to guard or does the inside swing thing. Terrific drafting thus far by the GM and Big Red.
MY PROJECTED PICK: 4.39 (144):Payton Turner, DE, Houston (1.28. New Orleans)
PLAN B: Wyatt Hubert, DE, Kansas State (7.235, Cincinnati)
CHIEFS ACTUAL PICK: 4.144 Joshua Kaindoh, 144, DE, Florida St.
MY THOUGHTS:Well, I did get the position right but most definitely not close to the right player. Joshua Kaindoh is the first head-scratcher for me. Kaindoh has the desired dimensions at 6’7"-260 but he doesn’t have the on-field results to match. Kaindoh is a ‘late’ edge rusher, arriving at the QB often after the fact or getting pressure but failing to finish with the sack. At his point there wasn’t much high-end quality at edge or DE left on the draft board so going with potential and ideal size is not a bad idea. Frank Clark is established on one end and KC resigned Taco Charlton for veteran presence opposite Clark. Kaindoh,Tim Ward and undrafted Malik Herring battle for rotation privileges. I had thought/hoped Payton Turner would slide since he played a traditional 4-3 DE and today’s pro defenses don’t utilize that type od edge defender that much. That didn’t happen as the Saints had the hots for Turner and laid down a first round chip in Turner. Wyatt Hubert was listed as a Plan B here, knowing the Chiefs had worked out and/or met with the K-State DE/OLB 3 times.
MY PROJECTED PICK: 5.31 (175):Tre Nixon, WR, UCF(7.242, New England)
PLAN B: Tamorrion Terry, WR, Florida State (undrafted, Seattle)
CHIEFS ACTUAL PICK: 5.162 Noah Gray, TE, Duke
MY THOUGHTS: I think the Chiefs went for best available in this selection. Noah Gray is an above average athlete. He may be the best pass-catching TE on the Chiefs behind Travis Kelce. Gray goes 6’3"-240 and runs a swift 4.55-forty. His four years at Duke produced just 8 total TDs, and his best year was in 2019 when Gray hauled down 51 passes and 3 TDs but gained a poor 7.7 YPR. Obviously, Tre Nixon and Tammorion Terry were still on the board but GM Veach has other ideas about the WR spot. At 5, Noah Gray is a fair value but not a high-level need.
MY PROJECTED PICK: 5.37 (181):Brenden Jaimes, OT, Nebraska (5.139, Chargers)
PLAN B: Josh Ball, OT, Marshall (4.138, Dallas)
CHIEFS ACTUAL PICK: 5.181 Cornell Powell, WR, Clemson
MY THOUGHTS: I was lukewarm about the selection of Cornell Powell at first. However, digging into Powell’s college game cut-ups the Clemson wideout has become a favorite draft decision made in the Kansas City war room. I wanted the Chiefs to address the WR spot and they did. Powell brings something the KC receivers lack, a smart, reliable and tough pass-catcher who can YAC it up. Powell is the anti-Mecole Hardman, not as swift but more rugged, a better route technician and cleaner hands bringing the ball in. It would not shock me if Cornell Powell wins a starting job right out of training camp. Netting a potential day-one starting wideout in the 5th round is ACES!
MY PROJECTED PICK: 6.23 (207):ZechMcPhearson, CB/DB, Texas Tech (4.123, Philadelphia)
PLAN B: Elijah Mitchell, RB, Louisiana (6.194, San Francisco)
CHIEFS ACTUAL PICK: 6.226 Trey Smith, OL, Tennessee
MY THOUGHTS: OK, this could be a steal, or at the very least a tremendous depth add for this offensive line. Trey Smith tapes out at 6’6"-321. Smith has RT size and run-blocking nastiness but projects inside at guard. He brings a mean streak who powers though D-linemen across from him. Of course, he falls to the 6th round because he needs to clean up footwork and polish his techniques, but that is right up the collective coaching alleys of Andy Reid and line coach Andy Heck. Trey Smith may end up being a gem.
We can’t grade this draft fully without taking into consideration the incredibly astute free agent acquisitions, trades and re-signings transacted by GM Brett Veach. Clearly there is a focus on fortifying the offensive line. Protecting Patrick Mahomes is of utmost importance to the championship designs of this club. The trade for Orlando Brown Jr was the crown jewel of the Chiefs off-season plans and adding potential long-term stars like Creed Humphrey and Trey Smith cemented the rebuild of Mahomes protective wall. Cornell Powell is going to be a very important set of hands for Mahomes. In my opinion Powell will be seeing starter snaps within 3 weeks of the opening segment of the schedule.
Speaking of Patrick Mahomes, he is back on the field and throwing. Mahomes participated in the first two of the three-day OTA session, taking a planned day-three off. By the way, Powell was impressive right away.
Overall, this off-season merits a B+ for GM Brett Veach and Coach Reid, but they earned a full-blown A for the work done on the offensive line. The raw draft grade is a B-, with Joshua Kaindoh and Noah Gray dragging the grade down a tad.
2021 is looking bright for the Kansas City Chiefs. We’ll have a better idea of just how bright the season may be in next month’s Eye in the Sky Report.
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