Kansas City’s best fit: DL Chris Jones , Mississippi State Bulldogs , No. #37 overall
John Dorsey is a planner.
A year ago, the Kansas City Chiefs general manager anticipated that his club could lose cornerback Sean Smith to free agency and rather than wait to fill that role, he selected Marcus Peters in the first round. Peters went on to intercept eight passes as a rookie, earning Defensive Rookie of the Year honors and a Pro Bowl berth. Smith signed with the rival Oakland Raiders in the offseason.
Two years ago, the selection of edge rusher Dee Ford seemed excessive given the presence of Justin Houston and Tamba Hali . That is until Hali reported to camp heavier than the public (but not the Chiefs) expected. Hali averaged 11.5 sacks a season from 2010-13 but has recorded just 6.5 each of the past two years.
With star nose guard Dontari Poe set to enter free agency at the end of the 2016 season, Dorsey appears to once again be looking ahead to protect the future of the franchise with Jones, a 6-foot-6, 310-pound nose guard with exciting “Poe-tential.”
Offering a rare combination of size, power and athleticism, Jones provides the Chiefs with immediate depth throughout the Chiefs’ three man front, projecting just as well at defensive end as he does nose guard. While the Chiefs have solid starters in Allen Bailey and Jaye Howard at these positions, the addition of Jones could allow Kansas City to play more four-man fronts to plug up the running game. This could be especially important in 2016 with the Denver Broncos expected to adopt a much more run-based offense with Peyton Manning retiring.
Jones is a classic bull in a china shop, breaking through the line of scrimmage with impressive raw power and quickness only to lose track of the ball, on occasion. In most years, his upside alone would have earned him a first-round pick. With the incredible depth of the 2016 defensive tackle class, however, he slipped into the second round, where the Chiefs were able to nab him despite trading down nine spots and acquiring picks (from San Francisco) later used on guard Parker Ehinger and cornerback D.J. White , each of whom could contribute as rookies, as well.
“If we had picked him at 28, we’d have been very pleased to pick him at 28,” Dorsey said about Jones. “… But we felt after analyzing that board, if we were to go back a little bit there was still a high probability we could acquire that player and (as) luck had it, we acquired the player and got some picks.”
As it turns out, it was good planning by Dorsey and the Chiefs again.
Other thoughts on the Chiefs’ 2016 draft class:
Jones will make an immediate impact for the Chiefs in 2016, which is something we probably should not expect from flashy wideouts Demarcus Robinson and Tyreek Hill , though each offers undeniable talent. Historically, head coach Andy Reid has prioritized his club’s receivers fully understanding all of the routes for each position (flanker, split end, slot), making it extremely difficult for players in their first year working with his offense to see immediate playing time.
This is one of the reasons why it was critical for the Chiefs to sign Jeremy Maclin (who, of course, played for Reid in Philadelphia) rather than rely on youngsters that Dorsey had drafted. This isn’t to say that Robinson, Hill and last year’s freakishly gifted receiver Chris Conley don’t have a future in Kansas City, only that quarterback Alex Smith ‘s primary receiving outlets in 2016 are likely to be Maclin, tight end Travis Kelce and running back Jamaal Charles yet again.
Like Jones, Robinson and Hill do offer spectacular upside and only lasted as long as they did due to significant off-field issues. Each has flashed throughout the minicamp and OTAs, with the former Oklahoma State standout, Hill, in particular, wowing observers with his remarkable straight-line speed. The need for playmakers like these is especially important in Reid’s offense because Smith lacks an elite arm and the West Coast Offense is built around generating yardage after the catch. This is even more important in today’s NFL, where aggressive edge rushers are now requiring quarterbacks to get rid of the ball that much quicker.
Those who followed Kevin Hogan ‘s journey to the NFL draft via the journal he wrote exclusively for NFLDraftScout.com and CBSSports.com had a glimpse into his passion. While he surely would have rather been drafted earlier, in many ways Hogan went to the perfect team.
Not only does his underrated dual-threat abilities fit in nicely with Reid’s offense, as a fifth round pick there is not the pressure to push Smith as the Chiefs’ starter. Don’t be surprised, however, if Hogan beats out either Aaron Murray and Tyler Bray (or both) and makes this roster, taking over for Chase Daniels as the club’s primary backup at the game’s most important position.
Kansas City’s 2016 draft class:
- 2nd Round, No. 37 overall: DL Chris Jones, Mississippi State
- 3rd Round, No. 74 overall: CB KeiVarae Russell , Notre Dame Fighting Irish
- 4th Round, No. 105 overall: OG Parker Ehinger, Cincinnati Bearcats
- 4th Round, No. 106 overall: CB Eric Murray , Minnesota Golden Gophers
- 4th Round, No. 126 overall: WR Demarcus Robinson, Florida Gators
- 5th Round, No. 162 overall: QB Kevin Hogan, Stanford Cardinal
- 5th Round, No. 165 overall: WR/RS Tyreek Hill, West Alabama
- 6th Round, No. 178 overall: CB D.J. White, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
- 6th Round, No. 203 overall: OLB Dadi Nicolas , Virginia Tech Hokies
Key Undrafted Free Agents Signed:
- WR Mitch Mathews , Brigham Young Cougars
- DB Shannon Edwards , Fresno State Bulldogs
- DB Shakiel Randolph, Southern Methodist