Andy Reid got his long-awaited Super Bowl in February, but despite the significance of his triumph, there’s no reason to stop now. Reid has an exciting offensive core, a budding terror of a defense, and a 24-year old MVP at the quarterback position who’s redefining the very idea of a signal-caller. The Chiefs didn’t need to change course with their NFL Draft performance. All they had to do was keep the wheel steady. Did they do that? Here’s a look at the Kansas City Chiefs’ 2020 NFL Draft grades.
Kansas City Chiefs Draft Selections
Round 1, No. 32 overall: Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB LSU
Round 2, No. 63 overall: Willie Gay Jr., LB Mississippi State
Round 3, No. 96 overall: Lucas Niang, OT TCU
Round 4, No. 138 overall: L’Jarius Sneed, DB Louisiana Tech
Round 5, No. 177 overall: Mike Danna, EDGE Michigan
Round 7, No. 237 overall: Thakarius Keyes, CB Tulane
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Best Player: Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB LSU
This decision was a close one. Lucas Niang could legitimately challenge for this title, but Clyde Edwards-Helaire has more security as a player, despite his lower positional value as a running back. Edwards-Helaire is a dynamic talent who offers a compact, contact-eluding build. While he doesn’t have game-breaking speed, his elusiveness and resilience, combined with his ability to field passes out of the backfield, makes him a high-upside weapon in the hands of Andy Reid. Yeah, it’s a luxury pick. But it’s one Reid can afford to make.
Best Value: Lucas Niang, OT TCU
Some mocks toward the tail end of the draft season had TCU offensive tackle Niang slipping into the back of the first round, and in the end, he slipped to the Chiefs near the back of round three. Even though the Chiefs don’t have an immediate need at tackle, Niang is an excellent add who provides depth and long-term upside. Mitchell Schwartz, one of the best bookends in the league, turns 31 years old in June, and Eric Fisher will be 30 by the end of 2020. With that in mind, sniping Niang, a massive tackle who moves very gracefully for his size, and offers solid hand power and placement, is a smart move.
Biggest Reach: Mike Danna, EDGE Michigan
The Chiefs didn’t have a serious reach in their six-selection slate, but one player who was drafted a bit earlier than expected was Michigan edge rusher, Mike Danna. Danna is a juiced-up, high-energy defender who produced at a high clip in his final season. However, he has some size limitations which could prevent him from ever taking on a rotational role in the Chiefs’ defense. That said, he has enough athleticism to earn a role as a pass-rushing specialist on the edge, and if he is a reach, he’s only a modest one.
Biggest Sleeper: Thakarius Keyes, CB Tulane
These are my favorite kinds of late-round selections. The Chiefs have some uncertainty brewing at the cornerback position, and this late in the draft, adding high-quality athletic upside is never a bad idea. Thakarius Keyes provides that, as he’s a supremely long cornerback with sub-4.5 speed and solid NFL Combine numbers. He has work to do in terms of translating that athleticism to the field and honing it, but the upside is there. At a position where starting spots and depth roles alike remain up for grabs, he’s a player who could earn rotational snaps with his raw ability. Another candidate for this spot, in a similar mold, would be the fourth-round pick, L’Jarius Sneed.
Kansas City Chiefs Draft Grade: B
The Chiefs didn’t need to have a home run draft to stay on top in 2020 season projections, and in that sense, they didn’t overachieve. Their 2020 NFL Draft performance was a solid one, and while it wasn’t ground-breaking, they did a lot of good work with their six picks.
With several quality running backs on the board at 32, it may have been more prudent for the Chiefs to trade back and take one in the second round, but Edwards-Helaire will provide value to the offense. Plus, after taking him so high, it’s clear that Reid has a plan for him. The Chiefs also made up for that value sacrifice by adding top talents in Willie Gay Jr. and Niang on the second day of the draft, and all of their day three picks present exciting upside.