Regrade of 2014 NFL Draft earns Kansas City Chiefs a B-
By Matt Conner
A complete regrade of the entire 2014 NFL Draft after four years at Sports Illustrated gives the Chiefs a fairly average grade for their draft haul.
It’s always a good time to look back at a particular draft class and see how the haul of picks overall fared in the NFL. For general manager John Dorsey, the 2014 NFL Draft class was a fairly surprising class for its lack of impact at the top and the hidden gems unearthed at the bottom.
Over at Sports Illustrated, Andy Benoit recently posted a complete regrade for each team’s draft class, top to bottom. Typically these things will comment on a first round saying, ‘What if each team redrafted?’ but Benoit does a deep dive into an entire draft class to see how each team came out.
For the Kansas City Chiefs, Benoit gives K.C. a “B-” grade. For a refresher, here are the Chiefs picks from that year:
- Dee Ford, LB, 1st round
- Phillip Gaines, CB, 3rd round
- De’Anthony Thomas, WR, 4th round
- Aaron Murray, QB, 5th round
- Zach Fulton, OL, 6th round
- Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, 6th round
Looking at the class, it’s hard to argue with Benoit’s grade of a B-, but I will say that it’s harsh by just a hair. I will admit my own bias toward supporting John Dorsey, but I believe he’s an incredible judge of talent and even this class shows it.
Ford himself is a major subject of debate in Chiefs Kingdom between those who want to instantly say “bust” and not even give it any further thought and those who can find some nuance in it all. For me, Ford has not at all lived up to expectations, but that’s not to say that he’s not been a positive player at times. He led the team in sacks just two seasons ago (and was top 15 in NFL) and is still very young. There’s no reason to write him off when he’s doubled his sack total for the first 3 years.
That said, back issues are back issues and it’s hard to see them going away. Can Ford stay healthy? Can he be a consistent pass rushing force? Can he learn to play better against the run and be a well-rounded edge or will be be relegated to pass rushing downs only?
Gaines is the worst pick of all here, where Dorsey clearly had a vision for the Rice product that never came to fruition. There’s really nothing more to say except this one clearly did not work out at all. He is, however, still an active player in the NFL, which we’ll get to in a minute.
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De’Anthony Thomas has become a special teams cornerstone for the Chiefs, but when he was drafted in the fourth round, no one said, “I hope he becomes a special teams cornerstone.” Aaron Murray is out of the NFL, the only such player Dorsey drafted in his last four Chiefs drafts who is out of the league.
Then there’s the golden duo of Fulton and LDT. Zach Fulton just earned a 4-year, $28 million deal in free agency. Duvernay-Tardif was rewarded with a healthy extension a bit earlier at 5 years and $42 million. Together, that’s $70 million in contracts earned by two sixth round selections, one an unheralded guard from Tennessee and the other a total project imported from the north.
It’s hard to know how to judge something like this because such finds at the end of a draft should count for more than they do. Those are serious hits and if the Chiefs had, say, drafted LDT first, then Ford in the second, then Fulton in the third, we’d be talking about a much better hit rate. Does the order matter? Maybe it does.
If so, a B- isn’t a bad grade. Even a C+ should work. But two offensive line starters in the sixth round is a big deal when you consider how other teams truly struggle to find any help along the line (e.g. the Indianapolis Colts, Seattle Seahawks).
What do you think Chiefs Kingdom? What grade would you give? Sound off in the comments.