The 2018 NFL Draft wrapped up Saturday and the analysis and dissection could officially begin. Some teams nailed their picks while others caused an array of head tilts. The AFC and NFC West teams all had pretty solid drafts but where do the Kansas City Chiefs rank among them?
Round 2, Pick 46: Breeland Speaks – DL – Ole Miss – Grade: B-
Brett Veach‘s first official pick as the general manager of the Chiefs came after he traded up with Cincinnati. The consensus was that a cornerback was on his way to KC, most likely Isaiah Oliver. Instead, Chiefs Kingdom welcomed the former Rebel.
Breeland Speaks played all along the defensive line throughout his time in Oxford but the word swirling around is that Speaks will be converted to a standup pass rusher in Bob Sutton‘s 3-4 defense. Keep in mind Speak’s official height and weight is listed at 6’3″ and 283 pounds.
Being a relatively unknown prospect leaves Chiefs fans wondering who their newest weapon is. Speaks has dealt with keeping his cool on the field and at times has hurt his team. He seems like a great fit as a 3-4 end but if they really are moving him to outside linebacker, and it works, we could potentially see a new trend starting.
Round 3, Pick 75: Derrick Nnadi – DT – Florida State – Grade: B+
Throughout the college football season, Nnadi was a name that a lot of people seemed to have on their boards, some even in the first round. However, as the draft season started to ramp up and deep evaluations took place, it became clear that teams were concerned with Nnadi’s size.
At only 6-foot-1, he is undersized as a nose tackle. Weighing in at 317 pounds is decent but still not ideal for a true nose tackle in a 3-4 scheme. His size and inability to effectively rush the passer hindered his stock.
That clearly didn’t stop the Chiefs from wanting him. Nnadi most likely will be behind free-agent acquisition Xavier Williams on the depth chart. Nnadi should contribute to a defense that ranked 25th against the run last season.
Round 3, Pick 100: Dorian O’Daniel – LB – Clemson – Grade: C+
Another somewhat undersized prospect, O’Daniel will add depth at the linebacker position for Kansas City and should contribute immediately on special teams. He is a solid athlete but lacks elite speed and strength.
O’Daniel may be used in certain packages as a hybrid linebacker/safety but probably not as a three-down linebacker. He will be a nice addition but was probably taken a bit too early for what he will provide.
Round 4, Pick 124: Armani Watts – S – Texas A&M – Grade: A-
He will bring a bit of a swagger with him to Arrowhead. He loves contact and has good football instincts. Where he needs to improve is proper form when tackling and consistency. The fact that he isn’t afraid to hit bodes well for his development as a tackler.
Round 6, Pick 196: Tremon Smith – CB – Central Arkansas – Grade: B+
Most analysts were in agreement that cornerback was the biggest need for the Chiefs going into the 2018 NFL Draft. Kendall Fuller should be a solid asset in the secondary but the rest of the group is surrounded by question marks.
Smith played at an FCS program but was highly productive in college. He has good size to be a pro corner and the speed to go with it. He ran a 4.3 at his pro day which shot him up draft boards. He also served as a punt returner which makes him even more attractive. He won’t be the immediate impact that the team needs at corner but over time he should earn his way onto the field more and more.
Round 6, Pick 198: Kahlil McKenzie – OG – Tennessee – Grade: C+
The fact that McKenzie is the son of the Oakland Raiders General Manager Reggie McKenzie makes this pick fantastic. However, the fact that he will be moving to the offensive line after playing defensive tackle for the Volunteers makes one wonder.
McKenzie is a great athlete which explains the willingness of the Chiefs to take on this project but it could take some time before we really see if this pans out.
Best Pick: Armani Watts
Best Value/Sleeper: Tremon Smith
Biggest Reach/Head-Scratcher: Breeland Speaks
Biggest Need Filled: Secondary
Projected Day One Starters: Armani Watts
Overall Grade: B-
Overall, Kansas City had a pretty average draft. Taking into account McKenzie’s position in college, all six draftees come from the defensive side of the ball. The offense was the focal point in free agency so the Chiefs’ front office used the draft to bolster the defense. The defense was in dire need of a youth movement and got one this offseason. Who knows if any of these picks will become starters in 2018 but they will definitely add vital depth and special teams contributions out of the gate.