Kansas City Chiefs NFL Draft Picks & Grades 2021

The Kansas City Chiefs are in an unprecedented spot. They have the best quarterback in the National Football League locked up until 2032. With what appears to be an enormous television deal, a salary cap that could make that contract incredibly cheap within just a few seasons. Well, I say unprecedented, but the New England Patriots did this with Tom Brady for years during their dynasty. What picks do the Chiefs make in the 2021 NFL Draft, and what grades do they receive?

Chiefs draft picks in 2021

  • 58th Overall Selection (R2-P26, from Baltimore): Nick Bolton, LB, Missouri
  • 63rd Overall Selection (R2-P31): Creed Humphrey, OC, Oklahoma
  • 144th Overall Selection (R4-P39): Joshua Kaindoh, EDGE, Florida State
  • 162nd Overall Selection (R5-P18, from N.Y. Jets): Noah Gray, TE, Duke
  • 181st Overall Selection (R5-P37): Cornell Powell, WR, Clemson
  • 226th Overall Selection (R6-P42, from N.Y. Jets): Trey Smith, OG, Tennessee

Who did the Chiefs draft on Day 1?

Following their trade with the Baltimore Ravens for Orlando Brown, the Chiefs do not have a Day 1 pick.

Kansas City Chiefs grades for 2021 NFL Draft

Without a first-round pick, how the Chiefs’ selections grade in the 2021 NFL Draft?

Nick Bolton, LB, Missouri

This is a home run. After testing, it was assumed Nick Bolton would fall a bit given his mediocre testing results. Off tape alone, he might be the most polished linebacker in the class. The Chiefs had a need at the position and filled it incredibly well.

Grade: A

Creed Humphrey, OC, Oklahoma

Creed Humphrey to the Chiefs is proof of the inequity that persists in America between the rich and the poor. The Chiefs get a top-10 talent in the class at a position of need. This is as big a home run pick that there’s been in this draft. 

Grade: A+

Joshua Kaindoh, EDGE, Florida State

Joshua Kaindoh is a high upside pass rusher that is a great swing for the Chiefs at the end of Round 4. He’s a great athlete with good length that just needs a bit of technical seasoning if he’s to become an NFL starter.

Grade: B+

Noah Gray, TE, Duke

Noah Gray is built in the modern mold of a move tight end more than a traditional in-line player, but that fits what the Chiefs like to do. Gray has strong hands and is a willing blocker that displays good technique, but lacks the functional strength of a professional hand in the dirt tight end.

Grade: B

Cornell Powell, WR, Clemson

If Cornell Powell faced Ohio State cornerback Shaun Wade every week, he might have been an early Day 2 pick. He’s a big-bodied receiver with strong hands that has enough build-up speed to be a downfield threat. The Chiefs needed another receiver, and Powell was definitely worth the shot. 

Grade: B

Trey Smith, OG, Tennessee

This is getting ridiculous. Trey Smith has a concerning medical history, but from a talent perspective, deserved consideration in Round 2. If he stays healthy, this is yet another example of the rich getting richer. At this point of the draft, it’s worth the risk.

Grade: A+

Kansas City Chiefs Overall Grade: A

For not having any first-round picks, they sure did their best picking players that battled for a first-round grade. Nick Bolton is the most NFL-ready linebacker in the class and Creed Humphrey should have been the Steelers pick at 24. They added good value picks again on Day 3 with all of their picks. They then took a top-75 talent in Trey Smith in the seventh round who fell because of medicals. If he remains healthy, he could quickly become a starter at guard.

Team needs for Kansas City coming into the NFL Draft

The Chiefs have done well this offseason to revamp their offensive line, but there are multiple positions on both sides of the ball that they should address.


They’ve survived the past few seasons despite having relatively no names at the position. It would behoove the Chiefs to look at the value they could get in Round 2 at cornerback if the value is right. They have other positional needs, but the well at cornerback could dry up in a league where stopping the pass reigns supreme defensively.

Wide Receiver

Not that Patrick Mahomes necessarily needs more receiving help with Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce around, but the cupboard at receiver is relatively bare. Couple that with this receiving class being deep, and there could be value still available at 144 that could come in and at least compete for reps.


They drafted Willie Gay in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft, but they need another linebacker to round out the group. Anthony Hitchens is no spring chicken, and he’s also a replacement-level player to start. The NFL Draft could very well leave some outstanding value at the end of Round 2 for them at the position.


Austin Blythe is a serviceable center, and the Chiefs did a great job revamping their offensive line with the additions of Joe Thuney and Orlando Brown. Lucas Niang fills the hole at right tackle and was a good prospect coming out that needed to get healthy. If the Chiefs somehow have Landon Dickerson fall into their laps, it’s not crazy to think they’d draft him at the end of Round 2.

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