Breaking down the Kansas City Chiefs' 2018 draft class.
Round 2, No. 46 overall: Breeland Speaks, DE, Ole Miss
My take: Speaks can play defensive end or outside linebacker, and coach Andy Reid said the Chiefs would look at him immediately at the latter position. In terms of size and position, Speaks is a lot like Tanoh Kpassagnon, the Chiefs’ second-round pick from 2017. This choice doesn’t bode well for Kpassagnon, who played little last season as a rookie. "What we think we’re getting here is a high-motor, very intense player ... we love his ability to play [against] the run and the pass," Reid said. "He’s kind of done a little bit of everything for Mississippi."
How he fits: The Chiefs are set for starters at outside linebacker with Justin Houston and Dee Ford, but Ford’s contract is up at the end of next season, so it’s not out of the question Speaks could take his spot in 2019. He also could wind up eventually as a defensive end, where Chris Jones and Allen Bailey are the starters. But Bailey is also headed into the final season of his contract, so it’s possible Speaks could be starting there in 2019.
Round 3, No. 75 overall: Derrick Nnadi, DT, Florida State
My take: The Chiefs continued to add to their defensive depth with the third-round selection of Nnadi. The Chiefs badly needed to add to their collection of linemen, so in that sense at least, Nnadi is a solid choice. The Chiefs haven’t drafted particularly well in recent years with regard to defensive players, so their roster was sparse at many spots on that side of the ball. The addition of Nnadi and Speaks gives the Chiefs a chance at having two more good, young defensive players.
How he fits: The Chiefs signed veteran Xavier Williams to be their starting nose tackle but have no obvious candidate to be his backup. But Nnadi will be given the opportunity to take away at least some of Williams’ playing time. Beyond next season, it’s a disappointment if Nnadi doesn’t eventually nudge Williams out of the starting spot.
Round 3, No. 100 overall: Dorian O'Daniel, LB, Clemson
My take: The Chiefs wanted in this draft to add to their collection of good, young defensive players. By drafting O'Daniel, they gave themselves a chance to add another such player. At 220 pounds, his most likely position is inside linebacker, but he’s unlikely to become an every-down player at that weight. He’ll have to put on some weight or switch to safety if he’s ever going to do that.
How he fits: The Chiefs are well-stocked at inside linebacker. Last summer they traded for one starter, Reggie Ragland, and last month they signed another, Anthony Hitchens, as an unrestricted free agent. So there isn’t a clear path for O’Daniel to become a starter in the foreseeable future, but he could still be of help to the Chiefs as a special-teams player.
Round 4, No. 124 overall: Armani Watts, S, Texas A&M
My take: The Chiefs’ attempt to remake their defense continues. Watts is their fourth defensive player in four picks, but their first defensive back. Safety was an obvious position of need. Eric Berry is returning after missing most of last year with a torn Achilles tendon, but the Chiefs released long-time starter Ron Parker.
How he fits: Watts, a four-year starter at Texas A&M, could push for playing time sooner rather than later. In addition to Berry, the Chiefs have at safety Daniel Sorensen and Eric Murray. Each played a lot last season, but neither is an ideal fit as a starting safety.
Round 6, No. 196 overall: Tremon Smith, CB, Central Arkansas
My take: The Chiefs needed an extra body at cornerback. The odds are against Smith, coming from a smaller school and being a sixth-round pick, ever becoming a key contributor. But the Chiefs had to draft someone and a corner was as good a position as any.
How he fits: The Chiefs are set with their top three cornerbacks in Kendall Fuller, Steven Nelson and David Amerson, but otherwise need one of their younger, developmental cornerbacks to step in. It may not be Smith, at least not immediately. The sixth-round pick played in a lower classification of college football at Central Arkansas. But it’s not a bad idea for the Chiefs to be looking for corners, even late in the draft. Nelson and Amerson are potential unrestricted free agents next year.
Round 6, No. 198 overall: Kahlil McKenzie, DT, Tennessee
My take: It’s fitting in this draft that the only offensive player selected by the Chiefs is a defensive player. McKenzie, a defensive lineman in college at Tennessee, will play guard for the Chiefs. If nothing else, his arrival spices Kansas City’s rivalry with the Raiders. McKenzie’s father, Reggie, once played for Oakland and now is the Raiders general manager.
How he fits: The Chiefs needed a developmental prospect for the middle of their offensive line. They lost guard Zach Fulton to free agency, and center Mitch Morse’s contract expires at the end of the season. The Chiefs have done a nice job mining offensive linemen in the sixth round, where they drafted McKenzie. Fulton and starting right guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif were sixth-round picks in 2014.