top of page

Grading the Kansas City Chiefs Draft: Offensive Needs Reign Supreme



Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl Ring
© Junfu Han/USA TODAY SPORTS

The NFL Draft has 'came and went', and for Brett Veach and the Kansas City Chiefs, coming off back-to-back Super Bowls and the start of what many call a dynasty really could not have come at a better time with this 2024 Draft.



Loads of talent at positions of need for the Chiefs allowed Veach to work his skills throughout each round and select who he believed to be the best fit for the budding dynasty. How does Veach's job grade out though and what improvements could have been made?



Round 1, Pick 28 (From BUF): WR Xavier Worthy, Texas

Many draft experts predicted the Chiefs to either move up in the first round or move out, depending on how the draft was working out. Likely nobody expected the Chiefs to trade picks with one of their most fierce interconference rivals the Buffalo Bills though, but that is exactly what happened. The Bills swapped to pick 32, and eventually swapped out of the first round altogether, while the Chiefs moved up to 28 and selected speedster receiver Xavier Worthy.


Worthy ran a record 4.22 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine this past March, and with Brett Veach's affinity for speed, this move was a match made in heaven. Everyone in the NFL knew it, yet still let it happen. Worthy possesses insane quickness that allows him to break away from defenders, causing defensive backs to playback and "cover the roof", or if he is on a shorter quick-release route, play up and contain his agility and finesse. He can track the ball well, create open lanes for his teammates and himself, and has bend and agility to go along with speed. One of the main worries NFL teams had regarding the Chiefs was if they were to get another speedy wide receiver with good hands and functionality, ala Tyreek Hill, and they may have just found him. He will need to bulk up a bit more but has shown physicality in stride for his size and frame. Predictable yet still a great pick.


Grade: A-



Round 2, Pick 63 (From SF): OT Kingsley Sumataia, BYU

From trading up with a conference rival to trading up with a team that you've beaten in the Super Bowl twice in the past 5 years, the Chiefs were at all-time levels of petty this past draft. With this 2nd round pick, the Chiefs selected offensive tackle Kingsley Sumataia from Brigham Young, the alma mater of Chiefs head coach Andy Reid.



A 6-foot-5-inch, 326-pound giant, Sumataia is a massive, athletic body that is extremely physical in the trenches but can also show very quick lateral movement on pulling tackle plays and outside zones. He mirrors defenders well, has well-timed hands and has the ability to shut down edge rushers with ease. While he still needs a bit of work in his run-blocking and hand placement, Sumataia was projected as a late 1st/early 2nd round pick. Some analysts even had the Chiefs picking him with the 32nd pick, yet he fell toward the end of the 2nd, allowing the Chiefs to add him anyway. Overall, he's a steal and will help bolster an already great pass-blocking offensive line, not to mention will be a favorite of Andy Reid's given the BYU roots.


Grade: A



Round 4, Pick 131: TE Jared Wiley, TCU

The Chiefs have found their Travis Kelce replacement in Wiley, a 6-foot-6-inch, 249-pound workhorse from TCU. Wiley is a hands-catching tight end with great size and physicality to make tough contested grabs. With Wiley's size and physicality also, comes physical, tone-setting blocks that can seal an edge for an outside run, something that many point out as a flaw in Kelce's game.


While Wiley still needs work on his footwork and release, shades of Kelce have Chiefs fans salivating at the opportunity to develop the next great receiving tight end. Though later-round prospects posed similar value as a pass-catcher and route runner, such as Isaac Rex out of BYU, few had Wiley's size and physicality, making this a solid choice. Overall though, a defensive lineman or linebacker may have proven to be better given who was still on the board at those positions. Still a solid pick.


Grade: B+



Round 4, Pick 133 (From BUF): S Jaden Hicks, Washington State

This pick was a product of switching with the Bills back in the first round, and with this pick, the Chiefs delivered on bringing in physical, sure-tackling defensive back help as well as bolstering position depth with the departure of L'Jarius Sneed and Mike Edwards.



Jaden Hicks is a sizeable, lengthy safety that has the physicality and ball-hawking skills the Chiefs crave in their defensive backs. Hicks can come up and make big hits as well as sure tackles, while also taking great angles on thrown balls and covering the roof well. Hicks does sometimes get fooled on play actions and could be faster, however, he makes up for his lack of speed and attentiveness by going 100 miles per hour and putting a good, hard hit on a ball carrier or unaware blocker. A projected round 2-3 guy, the Chiefs also got great value for Hicks, which made shying away from the needs-based approach worth it.


Grade: B+



Round 5, Pick 159 (From DAL): C Hunter Nourzad, Penn State

The Chiefs once again were wheeling and dealing with their draft picks, trading up once again, this time with the Dallas Cowboys. The Chiefs would once again continue the trend at bringing in offensive help by bringing in Penn State center Hunter Nourzad.


This pick was perplexing at first glance, given the fact that the Chiefs already likely have their long-term center in Creed Humphrey. However, when you look further into Nourzad's playing career, it makes sense as to why the Chiefs selected him. He is the Nick Allegretti replacement, a flexible offensive lineman who can be plugged in and played anywhere. Nourzad is listed as a center, however has shown he can play anywhere along the offensive line. A versatile lineman with quick, precise hands, athleticism to move up to the second level quickly, and great pad level, Nourzad could fit in very well as a swing guard or emergency center should Humphrey get injured. He will need to be more patient in recognizing tendencies and maintain a better feel for direction changes and blitz packages, but he likely won't be depended on as a starter for some time, if at all. A solid pick, but once again the Chiefs do not address defensive needs, making this pick, at least on its surface, a bit confusing.


Grade: B-



Round 6, Pick 211 (from SF): CB Kamal Hadden, Tennessee

Another product of the trade-up with the 49ers, the Chiefs use their penultimate pick to bolster the defensive backfield once again. They would select Tennessee corner Kamal Hadden, who has an interesting history as a college defensive back.



Hadden was extremely productive when he was healthy, nabbing 6 interceptions and making 5.5 sacks throughout his 3-year career with the Volunteers. The key phrase to be aware of here though is "when healthy", as Hadden, unfortunately, has caught some bad injury breaks as well. He suffered a shoulder injury this past season that would end his collegiate career, something that made his draft stock plummet. If he can stay healthy, however, he is a peak Steve Spagnuolo defensive back. An ability to create edge pressure, sticky, physical man coverage, great ball-tracking ability and a nose for the ball on screens and short pass plays could provide incredible value for this pick, but Hadden will need to develop better tackling as well as less coverage panic that leads to penalties, first as well as stay on the field, in order for that to happen.


Grade: B



Round 7, Pick 248 (From BUF): G CJ Hanson, Holy Cross

The final pick of the Chiefs 2024 NFL Draft class, as well as another product from the trade with the Bills, the Chiefs would once again go with an interior lineman in FCS Holy Cross's CJ Hanson. Hanson adds even more offensive line depth and more ability to have moveable pieces along the line.


However, the Chiefs would once again pass up on an opportunity to select a defensive need. While the pick could absolutely pay off should Hanson develop physically, as his intelligence for the game, hand and feet placement and body control are huge positives, as a Chiefs fan you probably would have liked to have seen at least some effort in filling in those defensive needs. If Hanson can bulk up and become more technically sound in certain spots though, Hanson could pay off tremendously. He is an eager and fast learner with a hunger to prove himself, something that coaches will take notice of.


Grade: B



Kansas City Chiefs Draft Overall Grade

Brett Veach and the Chiefs fulfilled their needs very well on the offensive side of the ball, getting who they wanted early as well as picking up players that, when and if they develop, could turn out to be fantastic contributors.



However, the defense still needs holes filled, and while the Chiefs found a lot of success last year on the defensive side and brought back defensive centerpiece Chris Jones, among others such as Mike Danna, another defensive lineman or linebacker certainly would have benefitted. The Chiefs have signed a host of undrafted free agents so far though, listed below (As of April 28th, 2024 10 pm EST):


Nick Torres, OL, Villanova

Phillip Brooks, WR, Kansas State

Jaylon White-McClain, DE, Old Dominion

Noah Rauschenberg, K, North Texas

Ryan Rehkow, P, BYU

Jaaron Hayek, WR, Villanova

Fabian Lovett, DL, Florida State

Sam Lockett, S, Washington State

Eyabi Okie-Anoma, Edge, Charlotte

Deshawn McCarthy, Edge, East Stroudsburg

Christian Roland-Wallace, CB, Southern Cal

Miles Battle, CB, Utah

Baylor Cupp, TE, Texas Tech

Ethan Driskell, OL, Marshall

Bryce Gallagher, LB, Northwestern

Bryce Houston, LB, Ohio

Curtis Jacobs, LB, Penn State

Mario Kendricks, Edge, Virginia Tech

Carson Steele, RB, UCLA

Spencer Sanders, QB, Ole Miss

Emani Bailey, RB, TCU

TD Ayo-Durojaiye, RB, Villanova

Trey Potts, RB, Penn State


The Chiefs did get great value in a good portion of these UDFA signings. As was stated in the beginning, the talent pool in this draft was immense, which meant that a large portion of guys fell through the cracks. If given the chance, they could be highly productive. Two guys of major note that fill the linebacker and defensive line needs are Curtis Jacobs of Penn State and Fabian Lovett of Florida State. These are two guys that were projected in the 4th and 5th rounds that fell through, two guys that if developed correctly, among the others on this list as draft position has been proven to not really matter, could turn out to be absolute gems. Veach has excelled in years past regarding late-round and undrafted guys, so anticipation is high even on guys who maybe weren't drafted that high, if at all.


Chiefs GM Brett Veach
© Kirby Lee/USA TODAY SPORTS

The Chiefs did everything they could to fill their other draft needs with UDFA signings, such as the aforementioned defensive line and linebacker needs, but also with their running back needs, further bolstering their offensive line and defensive backs and even giving time and a chance at competition to specialists like Noah Rauschenberg of North Texas and Ryan Rehkow of BYU. Combined with the UDFA signings, overall the Chiefs had a solid draft that filled depth satisfactorily, targeted guys that were great scheme fits and guys that have a high ceiling and show high promise.


KANSAS CITY CHIEFS OVERALL GRADE: B+


Conclusion

This draft for the Chiefs was nothing super flashy or unexpected, just bolstering positions that required depth and addressing scheme needs that needed addressing. While the focus was on offensive needs, the UDFA signings will prove to be fruitful given just how much talent was in this draft. Time will tell how these players develop and what level of success they see, but Kansas City is a great landing spot. A chance to be a part of a budding dynasty and play with a quarterback who has a chance to be the best ever is a dream come true, which is what the draft is all about. Excitement is in the air, football season is closer than you think and the Chiefs are once again shaping up to be Super Bowl contenders.







Comments


Michigan Football
Blue Screen
bottom of page