Chiefs headlines for Monday, May 3
If we account for the addition of offensive tackle Orlando Brown―as Kansas City acquired him from the Ravens in exchange for its 2021 first-round pick―then this draft class looks outstanding. But it’s a quality group even if we don’t. Bolton brings great instincts and an aggressive style to the linebacking corps; Humphrey could be a day-one starter at center; Kaindoh is a long, athletic edge rusher; and both Gray and Powell profile as valuable role players. Then there’s Smith, the sixth-round pick. He has big upside, but fell in part because of concerns around prior issues with blood clots. There’s a chance he goes down as one of the steals of this draft.
Kansas City Chiefs
Analysis: The Chiefs moved down from 31 to 58 as part of the trade for left tackle Orlando Brown Jr., in addition to sending third- and fourth-round picks to the Ravens (and swapping late-round picks). It’s not a cheap price, but given the results of Super Bowl LV, when Patrick Mahomes was running for his life, it is an understandable deal. Bolton’s the kind of attacking defender the Chiefs needed at the second level, though they could have used help at other spots. Humphrey was a steal at 63 to tighten up the middle of the line.
Kaindoh is a great fit for Kansas City in the fourth round, a long defender with plenty of upside. It was thought the Chiefs wanted to improve their talent behind Travis Kelce. Gray’s smooth movement and reliable hands caused the team to go up for his services, although the swap of picks didn’t really cost much. Powell bided his time behind very talented receivers at Clemson but proved he has the ability to play as a No. 3 wideout the next level. Smith’s unfortunate history with blood clots seemingly cost him four rounds in the draft, but the Chiefs took an easy chance on his talent in the sixth and will receive big benefits sooner rather than later.
Winner: Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs did not have a first-round pick after sending it to the Ravens in the trade for Orlando Brown Jr., but they did extremely well on Days 2 and 3. They continued beefing up their offensive line on Friday night, adding Creed Humphrey to help on the interior. Their first pick of the draft, Nick Bolton, was excellent value at No. 58, but they landed still more value on Saturday by getting Florida State edge rusher Joshua Kaindoh in the late fourth, Duke tight end Noah Gray in the fifth, and both Clemson receiver Cornell Powell and Tennessee guard Trey Smith in the sixth. They filled their biggest defensive needs (linebacker, edge), added more depth on the interior of the offensive line, and got themselves a nice developmental prospect behind the best offensive weapon (Travis Kelce). Not bad for a weekend’s work.
Kansas City Chiefs
The laser focus on the offensive line has left the Chiefs thinner than usual at the skill positions. There are no exciting incoming rookie toys for Andy Reid to play with, in the mold of receiver Mecole Hardman in 2019 or running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire in 2020. Hardman looks like the No. 2 receiver now, with Sammy Watkins gone. This is a rich team’s type of problem, but the offense could be even more dependent than it has been recently on Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce staying healthy.
Kansas City Chiefs
Nick Bolton, ILB, Missouri (Round 2, No. 58 overall)
Bolton plays angry and hits like a Mack truck. I love, love, love his tape. If you watched the ABC broadcast on Friday, you heard us talk about the goal-line hit he put on Tennessee’s Jauan Jennings. It’s my favorite example of the punch Bolton has when he tackles.
The Chiefs need that at linebacker. They haven’t had someone with Bolton’s speed, instincts and open-field tackling ability in a while. He flies all over the field, he diagnoses in a flash and he shoots gaps really well. In coverage, he has range underneath, and as a pass-rusher, he flashes burst. But his value will be as an off-the-ball linebacker who makes plays on ball carriers. Bolton had 202 tackles over his past two seasons, and he led the SEC both of those years.
I also liked the second-round pick of Oklahoma center Creed Humphrey to continue building up the line and protect the team’s most important player (Patrick Mahomes), and I think wideout Cornell Powell’s play speed is going to be valuable in the Chiefs’ offense.
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes isn’t exactly known for his speed, but he put it into perspective in a tweet Sunday.
The quarterback reacted to the news that 40-year-old Michael Vick—who hasn’t played in the NFL since 2015—clocked in at 4.72 when he ran the 40-yard dash alongside NFL Network’s Rich Eisen in a charity event for St. Jude’s Hospital.
Man he is still faster than me https://t.co/WT5dRuDXdi
— Patrick Mahomes II (@PatrickMahomes) May 2, 2021
Around the NFL
“Yeah, I know, and I can’t even take my brain to that spot right now,” LaFleur said Saturday following the conclusion of the NFL draft. “So I just want to do everything in my power to ensure that doesn’t happen.”
“I can’t fathom [him] not being in Green Bay,” the Packers coach added later. “That’s where my mind’s at. I don’t only love the player, but I love the person. I love working with him on a daily basis; I think we all do — from the players in that locker room to the coaching staff. Again, I don’t even want to let my mind go there.”
Most notable picks:
OT Alex Leatherwood (1)
S Trevon Moehrig (2)
Always good for a first-round reach, they spent No. 17 on Leatherwood despite clearer starting-caliber linemen like Darrisaw and Jenkins still sitting on the board. Moehrig, on the other hand, is an enticing free safety to pair with the feisty Johnathan Abram, but his addition would’ve made more sense had the Raiders not proceeded to draft two more safeties (!) later on.
“We’ll work that out,’’ Fangio said of who’s taking first-team reps or the majority of them, via 9News’ Mike Klis. “We haven’t sat down and figured that out. But it will be something that at the end of the day, maybe not at the end of every day, but over the course of OTAs and training camp, it’ll be 50-50.”
Lock has been a lingering question mark, as he’s coming off a full year as the starter (he backed up Joe Flacco in 2019 before coming on when the veteran was injured) and though he did flash promise here and there, he had a league-worst 15 interceptions in just 13 games. Meanwhile, Bridgewater is set to play for his third team in as many seasons after the Broncos brought him in via trade following his 2020 squad — the Panthers — trading for Sam Darnold.
In case you missed it at Arrowhead Pride
5. “The NFL Draft Show” continues to evolve — and there are things to like
Over the years, not everything the NFL has done to its draft presentation has been a positive. For example, I’m not quite sure why there has to be a bunch of other stuff for the first 30 minutes after the show begins. I’m fine with the National Anthem — but having a rock band perform before the first team goes on the clock seems… excessive.
But there were two things to love about the 2021 NFL Draft Show: the boxes for fans of each team right up at the stage — and that a fan from each of those boxes was allowed to sit on stage for their team’s pick. The fan boxes replaced the long-outdated desks with team employees whose only function is to answer a phone call, write a name on a card and carry it to the front desk. All of that is now — finally — handled by direct communcation between the teams and a league data center.
The designated fan’s use of the chair from commissioner Roger Goodell’s basement — in which he sat for much of the all-virtual 2020 draft — was an inspired move. If this feature of the show becomes permanent, that chair will someday be on display at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. In the meantime, a rabid fan for each team will be able to leave the event with a story they can tell their grandchildren: that they were the first fan of their team to learn that a particular player had been chosen. That’s terrific.
A tweet to make you think
— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) May 2, 2021
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