5. Breeland Speaks
The Chiefs shocked their fans and most draft experts when they drafted Breeland Speaks in the second round of the 2018 draft. In fact, the Chiefs not only drafted him in the second round, they gave up an additional third round pick to move up in the second round to get him. The fact that the Chiefs essentially used a second and a third round pick on Speaks meant that Brett Veach clearly saw more upside in the defensive lineman than many others did.
Speaks was asked to try and learn outside linebacker in K.C.’s 3-4 defense his rookie year and it didn’t go especially well. Speaks only saw limited playing time and ended up with 24 total tackles and 1.5 sacks in 2018. With the arrival of Spagnuolo and his 4-3 defense, it was believed that Speaks might fare much better as we would be returning to his more natural defensive end position.
Unfortunately, Speaks never really got a chance to prove himself as he was injured and missed the entire season. Speaks now finds himself fighting just to make the team in his third season. The Chiefs have Frank Clark, Alex Okafor, Taco Charlton, Tanoh Kpassagnon, Speaks, and fifth round draft pick Mike Danna all competing at defensive end (more on a couple of them in a minute).
The Chiefs made a huge draft investment in Speaks. There is no denying that and thus far that investment hasn’t paid off in the slightest. This is a big year for Speaks to try and turn that around. If he can earn a spot in K.C.’s defensive rotation, it is not too late for him to carve out a role and a future with this team. If he can’t beat out any of those other players, his time in K.C. will be over and he will officially be a massive draft bust for the Chiefs.
I actually considered having Speaks even higher on this list, but sadly I don’t think there are enough expectations for him to warrant being higher. The Chiefs have enough options at the position that if Speaks doesn’t make it, the Chiefs will be fine on the field. It will be the front office that drafted him that high that will take a shot to their ego.
Next up, another second round pick that’s fighting for playing time.