What more can be said about the Chiefs that has not already been said since the arrival of coach Andy Reid a few seasons ago. They are incredibly boring playing a conservative offense and suffocating defense. However, what more do you want from a team that has been maybe the second most successful team in the AFC the past few seasons behind the Patriots. Reid to me if not for his poor clock management has been the second best coach in the league behind Bill Belichick and I never understood why Philly got rid of him. They have made it to the playoffs every year outside of his first and that is with a weak armed quarterback like Alex Smith. Not to say Smith is a bad quarterback by any means. He takes care of the ball, and is more athletic than people give him credit for. However, I think his conservative play when they reach the playoffs is not enough to get them over the hump. I think this season is going to be about the same for the Chiefs where they remain a good team that will probably make it to the playoffs again and will probably get bounced in the first round.
Unlike many offenses this one is not predicated on how their quarterback is able to play week to week. Of course it would help if Smith pushed the ball down field, but their style of play is run the ball and build everything off of that. I think the Spencer Ware injury was a blessing in disguise to allow them to play the rookie Kareem Hunt early and often. To me he has the shot to be a franchise back to build around for at least five years if not more with his ability to avoid big hits. This offensive line is also one of the more under appreciated ones in the league where most spots their league average to above. Starting with left tackle Eric Fisher the former first overall pick providing solid play. Then guards Bryan Witzmann and Laurent Duvernay-Tardiff are two capable blockers where Witzmann is the only question mark, but he played well enough to beat out encumbent Parker Ehinger who was solid last year. Then center Mitch Morse was moved to the middle from guard and looks solid enough. Mitchell Schwartz is the elder statesman on the line, but continues to play well into his 30s. Overall, this line allows this offense to move the ball consistently even without great play from their pass catchers. Their best receiver is their tight end Travis Kelce who is solid in the middle of the field, but to me he has been underwhelming to be honest with his inability to expand on his route tree and his inconsistent ability to stay healthy. Meanwhile, glorified returner Tyreek Hill figures to get the ball any way they can get it to him so he can utilize his ability to find open space. Otherwise, the rest of the depth includes Chris Conley, Demarcus Robinson, Albert Wilson, and Jehu Chesson if I were the Chiefs I would be scouring the waiver wire for another potential starter.
Their defense is a totally different story compared to their just okay offense. This unit is one of the best in the league where often players leave in free agency and drop off the map. The best part of their defense is their incredible secondary where Andy Reid has been able to find quality players across the board from Marcus Peters to Ron Parker to Terrance Mitchell. I would not include Eric Berry since he was great since the day he showed up. This secondary is so good teams often poach players from them like Brandon Carr and Sean Smith, however neither have returned to form since leaving. Their linebacker unit would also be conidered one of the best if not for Derrick Johnson coming into his age 34 season coming off of another Achilles' tear. I give him a lot of credit for being so good for so many years, but I think the Chiefs should have been looking for his replacement years ago. Ramik Wilson is not bad though and they did trade for Reggie Ragland who may find his groove under Reid who gets the most out of players. Their pass rush is also a good strength of theirs after former first rounder Dee Ford found his groove and they still have veterans Justin Houston and Tamba Hali to rotate in. Then the defensive line consists of the solid free agent pick up Bennie Logan at tackle to go along with Chris Jones and Allen Bailey at the ends. Overall, this is the unit that will probably carry the team with their ball hawking secondary and solid pass rush.
In the end, this team to me is one Alex Smith injury away from bringing in Patrick Mahomes who can ignite this team into the Super Bowl. I feel bad for Smith cause this was the same way he went out in San Francisco, but his inability to move the ball down field just creates a predictable offense to defend. If he starts the whole year they still have a shot at the playoffs, but it will be difficult since I think the Chargers and Raiders in their division can also be playoff contenders. Even the Broncos with their defense has a shot to be a difficult two wins even with their poor quarterback play. Their schedule is slightly tough with match ups against the Patriots, Redskins, Steelers, Cowboys, Giants, Texans, and Eagles. On the flip side they have some easy match ups against the Bills, Jets, and Dolphins. If they are lucky I think they can make it out with a 10-6 record, but if they slip up in division they could be easily worst.
1 (10) - Patrick Mahomes QB - Mahomes to be honest was my least favorite quarterback to be drafted in the first round and to give up two first round picks and a third rounder I think was a little steep. Yes, he has the best arm and athleticism out of the group, but the same could be said about many quarterbacks over Tom Brady. Coming from an Air Raid system down in Texas Tech and having played against vanilla defenses in the Big 12 I think it may take him at least a year to be ready to play. He may be forced in early because of Smith's inability to move the ball down field like Andy Reid prefers in his offense. He could become a solid career, but I doubt he makes an impact this season.
2 (27) - Tanoh Kpassagnon DL - The former Villanova Wildcat was this year's raw athletic freak that teams could mold into a beast on the defensive side of the ball. I think he landed in the perfect spot in Kansas City where they have developed solid players across the board and in particular on the defensive line. He will probably be a year away before he is ready for significant snaps, but in a rotation his rookie year to get his feet wet may help a lot in his growth. I do think being selected in the 2nd round was a little steep, but for this team they can stash him away.
3 (22) - Kareem Hunt RB - If you read above you already know I really like Hunt and his possibility to be one of the best runners in the league in a few seasons. To me he has a similar skill set as Matt Forte where he has an innate sense to find open spaces and bend away from defenders. He may not have as good hands, but his size and shiftiness will allow him to be useful there if he continues to work on it. At his size he may never be a bruising back, but if anything that will allow him to have a longer career by not being battered ever time he gets the ball.
4 (33) - Jehu Chesson WR - If you read my previous installment on the Seattle Seahawks you can see my disdain for Michigan receivers. To me their all over hyped due to playing in Michigan and they barely ever make a real impact in the NFL. Even the great Desmond Howard had only one good game and it happened to be in the Super Bowl. After that the former Heisman winner became an after thought. Chesson is another bigger receiver like his former teammates Darboh and Funchess. He will probably see snaps this year due to the team's poor stable of receivers.
5 (40) - Ukeme Eligwe LB - Eligwe will probably have his best shot to make the team on special teams or on the practice squad. However, if he develops well he has a shot to take a starting spot at an inside linebacker spot with Derrick Johnson probably going on his last season. I still think the Chiefs will be looking for a better talent in that scenario. However, they have been able to find some diamonds in the rough and Eligwe could be another in a year or so.
6 (35) - Leon McQuay S - Another special teamer most likely. He has a shot to develop into an underneath safety against the run game. If he wants to be a full time starter he needs to work on his coverage ability. I would have prefered to see the Chiefs draft another receiver with this pick or even with their prior selection Eligwe. Especially, since both of these guys have a shot to not make the team after cuts this Saturday.
2018 Off Season:
I think more of the same will occur this off season for the Chiefs. They will continue to wisely spend in free agency and let their higher priced pieces walk. They have some big free agents like Alex Smith, Tamba Hali, Derrick Johnson, Dee Ford, and Spencer Ware. The only one they really need back is Ford who has finally found his footing on the edge out playing both Houston and Hali last season. I would love to see them upgrade their receiving core to help out their young franchise quarterback Patrick Mahomes who will need every bit of help he can get to succeed. This defense could also use one more good corner and linebacker to continue their consistent success. Unlike most teams I think most moves this team makes will turn out to be good with their track record of success under Andy Reid.
My 2018 Mock Draft:
None traded first round pick for Mahomes.