Chiefs Draft Analysis
Updated: May 18
Published by Michael Garrity
This article will contain a pick-by-pick analysis of the Chiefs draft selections in 2020.
Round 1, Pick 32- Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, LSU
Edwards-Helaire was the first Running Back to be taken off the board in this year's draft. The last time the Chiefs took a back in the first round was in 2003, which was Larry Johnson. Edwards-Helaire played a vital role in LSU’s national championship run in the 2019-20 season. He finished his junior season with 1,414 rushing yards and 16 TDs. Clyde also caught 55 passes for 453 yards and a TD. Mahomes will enjoy passing to Edwards-Helaire, as he only dropped three passes out of 68 career catches. I get the appeal of taking Clyde, but I also think the Chiefs could have rode with Damien Williams for another year. Williams improved in every statistical category in the 2019 season. To add on that, he played five less games than he did in 2018. The Chiefs are getting a perfect fit for their offense and a reliable pass catcher in Edwards-Helaire. On the flip side, he could have a tough time making an impact in this star-studded offense. The Chiefs are a pass heavy team, as they passed on 61% of their plays last season. Edwards-Helaire will likely see more action in regards to the aerial game than the ground game. With this addition to the Chiefs offense, I don't see a defense in the NFL that could slow down this Kansas City team.
Round 2, Pick 63- Willie Gay Jr, LB, Mississippi State
This was the best pick made by Kansas City in the draft. The Chiefs addressed a key need at linebacker in Gay, and he could benefit their defense immediately. His ability and playmaking shouldn’t be questioned, as he put up nearly 100 tackles and six sacks in three years with MSU. He also had a show stopping combine, in which he posted a 4.46-second 40 time, 39.5-inch vertical, and 11-foot-4 broad jump. What should be in question is his off the field issues. Gay missed eight games in his junior season due to allowing a tutor to complete tests and assignments in his classes. On top of that, Gay punched his own teammate, Quarterback Garrett Schrader, in the face after a practice. Schrader suffered a broken orbital. If the Chiefs can sort out Gay’s attitude and temper, then Kansas City could have a top three LB in this class in the coming years.
Round 3, Pick 96- Lucas Niang, T, TCU
The Chiefs have a potential steal in this pick, as Niang had first round potential before getting his season cut short by a hip injury. The TCU offensive tackle had to miss the last five games due to hip surgery. Niang played a massive role on the O-line in his three years at TCU, as he didn’t allow a single sack in his entire career. I don’t expect Niang to start his rookie year, nor should anyone. However, if anyone on the O-line does go down, I expect him to be the first man up in filling that role. If Niang can stay healthy, the Chiefs have a very promising tackle that will block for Mahomes for years to come.
Round 4, Pick 138- L’Jarius Sneed, DB, Louisiana Tech
The Chiefs are getting a lighting fast Defensive Back in Sneed, as he ran a 4.37 40 yard dash at the combine. Sneed switched to the safety position in his senior year, and posted quite the statline. He put up a team-high 72 tackles (42 solo), 3.5 TFL, and three interceptions. I doubt the Chiefs use Sneed at Safety, so he will most likely play a role as a backup DB. You could make the argument that the Chiefs should have drafted a Defensive Back earlier in the draft, like a Trevon Diggs or Jaylen Johnson. At the end of the day, the Chiefs get a speedy DB with tremendous upside.
Round 5, Pick 177- Michael Danna, DE, Michigan
Danna was my least favorite pick by the Chiefs. He was productive at Central Michigan, and was the opposite at Michigan. In his 2019 season, he started one game vs Illinois. After that game, he never got consistent playing time and was mixed around in a 3-5 man rotation. With that being said, Danna has talent that can be worked with and developed. He will see barely any time in his rookie season, as he is behind Pro Bowler Frank Clark on the depth chart.
Round 7, Pick 237- Thakarius Keyes, CB, Tulane
Keyes was a great pick for the Chiefs in the last round. In his senior year at Tulane, Keyes was named an honorable mention in the All-American Athletic Conference team. He posted 47 stops, one interception and five pass breakups in the 2019 season. Keyes provides length, and speed at the CB position. Like I said earlier, I think the Chiefs should have focused more on this position earlier in the draft. With that said, Keyes was a good value pick in the last round for Kansas City, as many mock drafts had him going higher.
The reigning Super Bowl Champs had a solid draft. They added a bell-cow running back in Edwards-Helaire, two possible steals on Day two in Gay and Niang, and two solid picks at CB in Sneed and Keyes. They targeted the essential positions that needed to be addressed, and still kept 20 out of 22 starters on their current roster from the Super Bowl team. With this quality draft class, and the existing talent on their roster, Kansas City could very well be on their way to Super Bowl 55 in 2021.
Overall grade: B+