The 2021 NFL Draft is quickly approaching, taking place the last weekend in April. The K.C. Chiefs are coming off two straight Super Bowl appearances, but their current roster could still use some fine tuning.
For this piece, I’ll focus on the offensive side of the ball and each position group therein. I’ll give each a grade based on how they stack up relative to the rest of the NFL, and highlight the positions they want to target early and late in the draft.
As a reference, a grade in the “A” range will represent a position group that falls in the top-10 relative to the rest of the league. A grade in the “B” range will represent a position group with above average talent, but lacking enough elite talent to be considered outside the top-10. A grade of “C” will represent average talent, “D” will represent below average, and “F” will represent bottom of the league.
Wide Receiver: A-
For a number of years in Chiefs Kingdom, the wide receiver group was a ragtag bunch thrown together each offseason with few names who stuck with the team long term or stuck out in the box score. That all changed when the front office used a fifth-round pick on Tyreek Hill during the 2016 NFL Draft.
Hill is a transcendent, top-five player at his position. There are few players that possess his sheer level of athleticism and his focus in route running and tracking deep balls. He’s one of the more gifted all-around athletes in NFL History. Every once in a great while, like in Super Bowl LV, Hill struggles to make an impact. Unfortunately, that’s to be expected as he’s the type of player on which an opposing defensive coordinator will focus the entire structure of his defensive scheme. It’s Hill’s entourage that is cause for concern.
Mecole Hardman, Demarcus Robinson and Byron Pringle would be considered depth on most teams and certainly those that are Super Bowl contenders. Hardman has potential, and his speed is absolutely elite. He struggles with consistency out of his breaks and he rounds them off many times, throwing off timing with Patrick Mahomes. While he’s guaranteed to garner targets and likely produce 400 to 500 yards as a result, there’s not much that’s shown he can shoulder the responsibility of the second wide receiver in Andy Reid’s offense. He’s been too inconsistent.
Robinson is a solid third or fourth wide receiver, but that is probably his ceiling. With all due respect, that’s fine for a lot of players. These receivers are elite in their own right, but not everyone is elite on the NFL level relative to their other peers.
Pringle has always been intriguing. He seems to have the ability to beat man coverage, unlike the other “depth” players on the roster at the position. Yet, he’s never gotten consistent snaps, and even in the rare game he’s played a high number of snaps, his play doesn’t jump off the tape. He’s another speedster with some upside, but it’s hard to expect a breakout campaign.
Wide receiver has been a position of strength for the Chiefs for a number of years in Andy Reid’s tenure. Their “A-” grade is based on the fact they have top-tier talent that only a few teams possess, but could benefit from a veteran and an early draft pick in the coming weeks.