By John Camera
It may not look like it on the surface but the biggest winners of the 2017 NFL Draft were the Kansas City Chiefs. They improved their present team, a serious Super Bowl contender, and improved themselves long-term with their addition of their franchise QB of the future. And this future may not be that far away with Andy Reid coaching up their young buck.
That future star? Of course Mr. Pat Mahomes II, the stud Quarterback from Texas Tech whom the Chiefs traded up a whopping 17 spots in the first round to acquire. They didn’t give up a lot considering his floor is Matt Stafford and ceiling is Brett Favre. Kansas City traded their first, third, and first rounder in 2018 to move up to number ten overall. Considering this is a playoff team regularly picking at the bottom of the first round, this isn’t a bad deal whatsoever.
I won’t sugarcoat it; I’m enamored with Mahomes. A smart, athletic, QB with the astounding natural accuracy he has is rare. His footwork at Tech was awful and he still threw darts that were perfectly placed. Being able to be under the tutelage of Andy Reid and the anti-Mahomes, Alex Smith, and settle in as the backup with no pressure right away, is a path to long-term success. We will look back on this trade in a decade and realize what a great one it was for Kansas City, I’m confident of that.
Rounding out the rest of their draft, the Chiefs came in with a boatload of picks and used them well, being aggressive and consolidating to get premium players in trade ups. In the third round, they traded up 18 spots to grab Toledo RB Kareem Hunt, who I liked almost as much as Mahomes. If Hunt keeps his weight steady at the NFL level, his well-rounded ability will make him a long-term starter in the mold of Frank Gore. I wouldn’t be surprised one bit if he stole Spencer Ware’s starting job, while still splitting carries with him, and completely overshadowed Charcandrick West.
Rewinding a bit, the Chiefs used their second round pick on small-school wild card Tanoh Kpassagnon, a Defensive End from Villanova. I expect the Chiefs will fit him next to Chris Jones at 5-tech 3-4 DE but he might get some reps at OLB considering Tamba Hali’s age. With all the talent around him on the Chiefs defense, I think Kpassagnon comes into an ideal situation where he won’t need to be a defensive stalwart right away.
On day three, the Chiefs made several picks that greatly helped their overall depth. Jehu Chesson was a big-play threat at Michigan and could easily develop into a number three or four Wide Receiver in an average Kansas City receiving corps. He was a great value pick-up. In the fifth the Linebacker from Georgia Southern, Ukeme Eligwe, was the selection. Eligwe has big-time talent, originally an FSU signee who moved on to GSU while dealing with off-the-field and injury issues. If he can remain on the field at the next level, Eligwe has the size, speed, and physicality to contribute as an Inside LB backup and special teams standout. The Chiefs last pick was Southern California Safety Leon McQuay III. McQuay is a little lean for the Safety position but he has the speed and ball-skills to be a competent backup and should contribute immediately on special teams.