With the 2019 NFL Draft officially in the rearview mirror, it’s time to give our reaction to the Chiefs picks. The Chiefs did not wheel and deal that often, only making one trade during the draft. In total, Kansas City selected six players. Here is a list of those draft picks:
- Mecole Hardman, Wide Receiver
- Juan Thornhill, Safety
- Khalen Saunders, Defensive Lineman
- Rashad Fenton, Cornerback
- Darwin Thompson, Running Back
- Nick Allegretti, Offensive Lineman
When providing a reaction for this draft class, the Chiefs drafted players who are outstanding athletes. They also added a fair share of players who are physical and speedy. Hardman provides the burners and the speed, Thornhill brings physicality and instincts to the table. Meanwhile, Saunders can flat out fly for a 330 pound defender. Fenton has sneaky ball skills. Thompson can be an all-purpose back, and Allegretti can be a versatile player in the trenches. Seeing the Chiefs talk about how they had “high day two” grades on their first three selections means they were very happy to pick these players. Overall, this draft class is going to make competition fierce at their given positions.
There is a few picks that I could go with here. It has to be Thornhill, given what I thought was the biggest need. It’s exciting just thinking about Thornhill paired with Tyrann Mathieu on the backend. Out of all the players the Chiefs thought they picked at tremendous value, this one has to be the greatest. For example, general manager Brett Veach did say Thornhill was the highest rated free safety by defensive backs coach Dave Merritt. Thornhill tested well and has the ball production with 13 career interceptions. Besides having the ability to play safety, he can line up at nickel, at corner, or even in the box. His flexibility is the key for this defense’s benefit, and Thornhill has the ability to mix it up all over the field.
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I will go with Allegretti. Nothing against him, as much as Kansas City could have just added an offensive lineman in undrafted free agent signings. But, the NFL likes to add depth to the offensive line in drafts. That is especially true for Andy Reid. The plus side of Allegretti is that he can line up at either guard or center. There is some Chiefs offensive linemen that can already do that though. So it’s a fine depth addition, but likely not as impactful to competition for the other positions provided by the other draft picks.
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I was surprised in giving my reaction, when the Chiefs did not address the tight end position with any of their draft picks. Kansas City did address it in undrafted free agent signings. But behind Travis Kelce, there is not much experience on the roster. Four tight end prospects who would have been viable were selected after the Chiefs two selections in Round Six. Those players were Isaac Nauta to the Lions, Tommy Sweeney to the Bills, Alize Mack to the Saints and Caleb Wilson to the Cardinals. Nonetheless, Kansas City could still make a move before the season if they would like to infuse an addition to the tight end position.
Looking at Fenton’s tape, production (South Carolina team leader in interceptions last year), and experience at the college level makes me feel good about his selection. But, it’s hard not to argue the value at cornerback was sitting there for a while on day two. With players like Amani Hooker, Julian Love, Tim Harris and especially Amani Oruwariye still available I was surprised to see them wait so long to select a cornerback.
Brett Veach was in a similar role as last year’s draft, as he had no first round pick following the trade for Frank Clark. Like last year, Kansas City hit on filling needs across the board. Yet, I think they did better at sitting back and letting the draft play out for which players fell to them. The Chiefs did not necessarily reach for anyone this year. Also, they found players they valued higher than other teams let slip. It is encouraging to hear how the Chiefs like how they have rebuilt the defensive line. Pairing Saunders with Chris Jones will be huge inside, by the way. Overall, it was a solid draft. The type of players added was needed for the kind of team Kansas City is right now.
– Braden Holecek is the Kansas City Chiefs managing editor for Full Press Coverage. He covers the NFL. Like and follow on Follow @ebearcat9//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js Follow @FPC_Chiefs//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js and Facebook.