NFL Draft grades are starting to filter in, and one of the first is ESPN’s Mel Kiper. While the fullness of the Chiefs’ draft didn’t hit all of the needs Kiper laid out for the Chiefs, it doesn’t mean they didn’t find some good players.
When the Chiefs lost production in their pass rush last year, with health part of the reason why, they looked completely exposed on defense. Dee Ford is not a versatile player, but he’s explosive off the edge and knows the way to the QB. If there’s a question here, it’s whether the Chiefs could have traded down to add picks and still gotten a pass-rusher. The Chiefs didn’t have a second-round pick, so even additional late-round scratch-off tickets are nice. What Ford also represents, however, is insurance against Tamba Hali’s age and the possibility of being forced to pay Justin Houston a lot of cash after 2014. As well, it’s hard to knock not having a second-round pick when that pick is really Alex Smith. That’s a win.
Phillip Gaines is a really good athlete they can develop, and De’Anthony Thomas is a player defenses always have to account for and offers potential free points on special teams. Laurent Duvernay-Tardif is a sleeper who could turn into something. My question is at wide receiver. While I know GM John Dorsey believes recent first-rounder A.J. Jenkins could take a big step forward and really help the offense, that’s an area I might have targeted in a deep draft. Safety was also a need that wasn’t addressed.
Kiper’s grade: B-
A B- seems like a fair grade for the Chiefs. There are some immediate concerns about the offensive line and most of us agreed the Chiefs needed some help at wide receiver, so there an understanding about how all of the Chiefs draft picks do not directly reflect their biggest needs. However, the players they did acquire all appear to have starter upside. For sure Dee Ford, Phillip Gaines, and De’Anthony Thomas will see a lot time on the field, and Aaron Murray is the best quarterback prospect they’ve drafted since Todd Blackledge. There’s certainly something to like.
The key to this draft may be one of Laurent Duvernay-Tardif or Zach Fulton turning into a starter in the next year. If Kansas City can land four future starters from a draft where they only had six picks, that’d be pretty impressive.