Adam Teicher breaks down the Kansas City Chiefs' 2017 draft class.
Round 1, No. 10 overall: Patrick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech
My take: The Chiefs took their first plunge into the first-round quarterback pool since 1983 by trading with the Buffalo Bills to go from No. 27 to No. 10 to select Mahomes and giving up their first-round pick in 2018 plus a third-rounder this year. The move comes with a heavy price, but it was time for the Chiefs to try to get their quarterback of the future. Alex Smith turns 33 next month and has two seasons left on his contract, so the Chiefs don’t have to rush Mahomes into the lineup. They have the luxury of waiting a year, possibly two, before he has to play. The Chiefs like Mahomes’ upside. His big arm and ability to make all the necessary throws give the Chiefs much to work with in his development.
Another QB on the way? Mahomes is raw and might not be ready to serve as the No. 2 quarterback, at least not early in the season. The Chiefs' other quarterbacks are Tyler Bray and Joel Stave, neither of whom has so much as taken a snap in an NFL game. The Chiefs might bring in a veteran to serve as the backup. The past four seasons, the Chiefs have had a veteran (either Chase Daniel or Nick Foles) serve as the No. 2 quarterback. Smith has been remarkably durable since he joined the Chiefs, missing only two starts because of injuries in four years.
Last season for Alex Smith? Something to remember about Smith is it becomes reasonable financially for Kansas City to release or trade him before the 2018 season. Smith would cost the Chiefs $3.6 million in dead money against the 2018 salary cap if they part ways before next season. The Chiefs wouldn’t have to pay a hefty price next year to move Smith out of their lineup and replace him with Mahomes.
Round 2, No. 59: Tanoh Kpassagnon, DE, Villanova
My take: Kpassagnon might need some time to develop. He played FCS football in college at Villanova. The Chiefs can afford to wait because their starters are set for 2017. Ideally, he’ll be a part-timer on defense and contribute on special teams as a rookie. But Kpassagnon needs to be up to speed by 2018 for this to be a strong pick. The Chiefs haven’t taken an FCS player in the first or second round since 2000, so there’s some risk here.
How he fits: Defensive line was one of the Chiefs’ biggest areas of need after they lost one starter, Dontari Poe, to free agency and released another, Jaye Howard. The Chiefs have their starting lineup with Chris Jones and Allen Bailey at end and Bennie Logan as the nose tackle. But they have little depth and could lose Logan as a free agent after the 2017 season. The Chiefs drafted Jones out of Mississippi State in the second round last year.
Round 3, No. 86: Kareem Hunt, RB, Toledo
My take: Running back was perhaps the Chiefs’ biggest positional need. With Jamaal Charles out most of last season, the Chiefs struggled to get big plays from their running backs. That’s why they turned to Tyreek Hill more out of the backfield late in the season. With Charles since released, the Chiefs were looking for a versatile back to share the featured-back load with Spencer Ware and perhaps Charcandrick West.
How he fits: Hunt doesn’t necessarily fit into the big-play back category, but his versatility will be useful. He is a good pass-receiver, something a back has to be to be successful in coach Andy Reid’s offense. Hunt caught 41 passes as a senior. He also rushed for 1,475 yards last season, so he’s dependable if not spectacular as a runner. Ware will likely be the starter, but Hunt can claim a lot of playing time with a strong showing in training camp and in the preseason.
Round 4, No. 139: Jehu Chesson, WR, Michigan
My take: The Chiefs’ top six wide receivers from last season are back, so at least one will have to go. De’Anthony Thomas is the most likely candidate, though Albert Wilson’s spot could be in danger. The Chiefs traded up to take Chesson in the fourth round, so he’s going to make the team.
How he fits: Chesson should help immediately on special teams. His play in the kicking game is one reason the Chiefs drafted him. But he runs solid routes and catches everything within a reasonable range, so he is advanced enough that he will compete for playing time on offense as well. "He’s a polished kid," said Pat Sperduto, the Chiefs’ Midwest scout. "Some kids need time to develop. He’s not the kind of kid that’s going to need too much time to develop."
Round 5, No. 183: Ukeme Eligwe, OLB, Georgia Southern
My take: The Chiefs are counting on Eligwe’s potential more than his college production. He was a top high school recruit who started his collegiate career at Florida State, but after three mostly unproductive seasons, he was dismissed for a violation of team rules. He played his final college season at Georgia Southern. Eligwe ran a 4.58 40 at his pro day.
How he fits: The Chiefs will look at Eligwe as an inside linebacker. There will be an opportunity for him to earn some playing time on defense in 2018. Derrick Johnson turns 35 in November and could be headed into his final season with the Chiefs. In the meantime, look for Eligwe, an athletic player, to be a regular on special teams.
Round 6, No. 218: Leon McQuay, DB, USC
My take: McQuay is very athletic and worth a shot in the sixth round. Even though he’s listed as a safety, he was often responsible for slot coverage at USC, and the Chiefs might give him an initial look as a nickelback.
How he fits: The Chiefs have their top six cornerbacks and top four safeties back from last season, and they added safety Marqueston Huff in free agency. As a result, McQuay isn’t likely to earn much playing time as a rookie. He might find a role on passing downs, but most likely, he will be confined to special-teams play in his first NFL season.