Wide receiver Laviska Shenault received a clean bill of health from doctors ahead of the NFL Draft, and the Kansas City Chiefs stand to benefit from it
In early March, we learned that one of the top wide receivers in a loaded 2020 draft class would undergo core muscle surgery to correct a nagging injury that had hampered him through much of the 2019 season. When the announcement was made, gone were the prospects of Colorado wide receiver Laviska Shenault‘s prospects of being one of the first wide receivers taken in the NFL Draft. With as many as seven pass catchers pegged as potential first rounders, any murkiness to a prospect’s health could lead to a plummet down draft boards, especially in an offseason where teams were not allowed their own medical evaluations.
But, just in time for the draft, Shenault seems to have gotten a bit of a boost. As NFL Insider Ian Rapoport reported over the weekend, all 32 NFL teams received a letter from Dr. William Meyers detailing Shenault’s recovery giving the standout wide receiver a functional clean bill of health. Specifically it stated that the first-team All-Pac 12 selection would be 100% by April 25th.
As the holders of the final pick in the 2020 NFL Draft’s first round, one way or another, the Kansas City Chiefs stand to be benefactors of Shenault’s timely recovery.
The first and most direct way that Shenault’s health may benefit Kansas City is that it gives them another option to bolster their offense (and prepare for departures next year) with a sneaky steal at the bottom of the draft’s first round. Shenault is quick (4.58, 40-yard dash at the combine, pre-surgery), big (6-1, 227 pounds), with great quickness and mature hands for his age and development.
Shenault would represent an upgrade at next year’s WR3 position, presuming Tyreek Hill and Mecole Hardman are atop the pecking order. We know that general manager Brett Veach always prefers to draft a year in advance, and with rumors swirling about Kansas City potentially trading up for a wide receiver in the first round, Shenault could represent an option to avoid giving up additional draft capital for an offensive weapon. We all know that head coach Andy Reid will take every weapon he can get on offense, and Shenault has the makings of a superstar.
A less direct, still important way that the Chiefs can benefit from Shenault’s healthy status is in the value of their 32nd pick in trade. It is not a secret that many (including this writer) believe strongly that barring some incredible luck with a player falling, the Chiefs should trade down from the 32nd pick. And if you’re looking for to trade down, the more quality first round talents available means that much more interest. The more players of Shenault’s caliber that are available when the Chiefs go on the clock, the more valuable the selection becomes in trade.
If Veach can secure two 2nd’s, or a 2nd and two 3rd’s, in exchange for pick 32, then that’s a home run for the Chiefs. The Chiefs have some holes to fill during the 2021 offseason, and drafting more of those players now gives the team more momentum heading in to what will be the biggest offseason in team history.
The Chiefs are likely to take a wide receiver at some point in the 2020 NFL Draft. Whether that selection occurs on Thursday (during round 1) or some other time during the weekend is to be determined. But, if the Chiefs are angling for a first-round caliber wideout in this year’s draft, Laviska Shenault’s health should be music to the ears of Veach and Reid.
Even if that is not the goal, Shenault’s status makes it a bit more likely the team can secure a nice return in a trade down from the 32nd pick. That, too, should make all of Chiefs Kingdom smile a Super Bowl champion’s smile in the days leading up to the NFL’s annual selection show.