Which Chiefs draft pick will have the most success?
By Kris Weeden
The Chiefs came into this offseason with the goal of improving their defense on a number of levels. The draft class only bolsters that notion.
The Kansas City Chiefs have showed everyone what their goal was this offseason, and that is to improve their defense. The draft only strengthened this notion, as the Chiefs selected only one offensive player (and that player was a defensive lineman in college). But which of these defensive draft picks will have the most success in Kansas City?
The Chiefs did not exactly go about the draft the way anyone expected them to, as they made some surprising selections. With their first pick in round two, they traded up to select Breeland Speaks out of Ole Miss. Not to say that this was a bad pick, but nobody saw it coming.
Speaks is a big and athletic defensive lineman and could potentially play anywhere along the line. He’s physical and uses his hands and power to pummel through blocks. He is also very versatile, which was much the trend of the entire draft for the Chiefs, as they attacked needs with players who could play multiple roles.
Here is a full list of the Chiefs 2018 draft picks:
- 2nd Round – Breeland Speaks DE
- 3rd Round – Derrick Nnadi DT
- 3rd Round – Dorian O’Daniel LB
- 4th Round – Armani Watts S
- 6th Round – Tremon Smith CB
- 6th Round – Kahlil McKenzie OL
How do we know which one of these players will be the most successful? We will base it on three different factors. You ready? Yeah, me neither.
Factor #1: Team Need
In terms of need, the Chiefs are thinnest at the safety position. Besides Eric Berry, Daniel Sorensen and Eric Murray, the Chiefs don’t have much experience on the roster. Robert Golden, their April 3rd signee, has 7 years of experience playing on the Steelers, but he was mostly a special teams player over that span. Leon McQuay is the only other question mark, but it is unclear whether he is ready to see the field or not.
Enter Armani Watts. Watts is an experienced player out of Texas A&M University. Having played all four years as an Aggie, he is definitely seasoned enough to be able to come in and contribute right away. He is a true free safety, and could come in and start right alongside Eric Berry from the start.
The only thing holding Watts back is his small frame. He is only 5’11” and 200 pounds, which is the reason for his nagging issue with tackling. Bob Sutton will be able to utilize Watts to his strengths. Whether that be as a partial contributor or as a starter, we will see Armani Watts on the field in 2018.
One impressive play:
Factor #2: Raw Talent
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When considering the talent the Chiefs brought in, there is quite a bit of it. The front office did their homework, and while it may have been a surprising bunch of players, they are all extremely talented.
With that being said, in terms of raw talent, we will have to give Breeland Speaks the nod here. Like many, I was caught way off guard by this selection, as I believed the Chiefs would use their first pick on a defensive back. However, Speaks is a pretty good compensation. If the Chiefs can unlock the beast within, the sky is the limit for Speaks.
Veach wanted to address the pass rush, as that was a struggle for the team in 2017, and he did just that with the selection of Speaks. Breeland Speaks will have no issue getting pressure on the passer, as he ranked fifth in pass-rush productivity among draft eligible interior linemen, according to Pro Football Focus.
Speaks will almost certainly see the field in 2018, as the Chiefs will look for many different ways to pressure the quarterback. It will most likely be a rotation, as Justin Houston, Dee Ford and Tanoh Kpassagnon will all be in the mix at outside linebacker. But Speaks will make a name for himself this coming season.
One impressive play:
Factor #3: Versatility
Bob Sutton loves to use players in different schemes and packages. Versatile defensive players are definitely beginning to trend upwards in the game today, and the Chiefs seem to have picked up a few players who fit this bill.
Breeland Speaks and Kahlil McKenzie could both be considered versatile players, but the one player that will for sure see the field in many different situations is Dorian O’Daniel. O’Daniel worked out at the NFL combine as a linebacker, but he was used in coverage in nickel and dime packages at Clemson in his senior season. O’Daniel ran the fastest 3-cone time since 2006 at the combine, which shows his ability to make quick adjustments in coverage. Not only can he stop the run, but he can drop back in coverage and mirror tight ends and big receivers, which is to his advantage with the faster and more athletic tight ends in the NFL.
O’Daniel is an extremely versatile player, which helped his draft stock tremendously. He may not see the field right away, as he still has some developing to do, however, expect Dave Toub’s eyes to light up when he gets his hands on O’Daniels in special teams.
One impressive play:
The Chiefs’ best rookie this season will be Armani Watts. Barring any last-minute free agency signing, Watts will be able to see the field quite often with a lack of depth at the safety position. With Eric Murray struggling to stay consistent, Watts could steal some of his playing time in camp this offseason. He is the most experienced at his position and was a leader on the Aggies defense. He will bring energy and tenacity to a weakened Chiefs secondary and will be able to provide consistency opposite Eric Berry. Watts will also be able to pick up some slack in creating turnovers left behind by Marcus Peters. He is a tough player who should not have been leftover in the 4th round. Chiefs fans will love watching Watts, and he will produce for a long time.