Kansas City Chiefs: My 2018 NFL draft roundup

New Kansas City Chiefs general manager Brett Veach, right, alongside owner Clark Hunt, met with the media and select season ticket members on Monday, July 24, 2017 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo. (David Eulitt/Kansas City Star/TNS via Getty Images)
New Kansas City Chiefs general manager Brett Veach, right, alongside owner Clark Hunt, met with the media and select season ticket members on Monday, July 24, 2017 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo. (David Eulitt/Kansas City Star/TNS via Getty Images) /

The Kansas City Chiefs finished the 2018 NFL draft with six new players who all received mixed reviews from fans, but the majority are supportive.

The defense was the major concern for the Kansas City Chiefs as they began their draft selections on Friday night. They started the draft with eight picks in their pocket and by the end had turned those into six new players who will be putting on the red and yellow come August.

Chiefs GM Brett Veach was the aggressive wheeler and dealer we all expected him to be coming into the draft making three draft day trades. None of the trades would be considered blockbuster by anyone, but Veach got who he wanted without having to spend much.

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The first trade of the night coincided with the Chiefs first pick in the draft as they traded the 54th and 78th picks to Cincinnati for the 46th and 100th overall picks. This trade allowed them to move up eight spots so they could draft Breeland Speaks, a player Veach had put a major emphasis on. The trade was a good one as it allowed them to move up while still allowing them to make three picks on the second day of the draft.

A lot of fans were not happy with the selection of Speaks over some more well-known names on the board. I can tell you the Chiefs held Speaks in high regards and was under the impression that he was going to be drafted by someone soon if they didn’t take him. He’s a big man who can play DE or OLB and brings an attitude on the defensive front seven they desperately need.

Veach stayed aggressive as he made a trade with Baltimore to move up from the 86th pick to the 75th pick. The trade also involved KC sending the 122nd pick to Baltimore which meant the team used two picks to take Florida State nose tackle Derrick Nnadi. This was a more expensive pick for the Chiefs as it was a two for one trade meaning the team would have one less player picked.

It seems worth the trade though as Nnadi is a monster in the middle of the field. He is a strong run stopping tackle who will be an immediate upgrade to the Chiefs run defense from years past. He’s not much of a pass rusher so he may come off the field in obvious passing situations, but that is a good problem to have if he can keep players like Le’Veon Bell from gashing them.

The Chiefs stayed put with pick 100 as they made the final selection of the third round when they took linebacker Dorian O’Daniel from the University of Tennessee. O’Daniel is a hybrid linebacker and safety who is quick enough to cover backs and tight ends while big enough to shed blockers and set the edge against the run. Think of him as a bigger Eric Berry.

Pick 124 overall was the next Chiefs selection which they received as part of the trade for Marcus Peters. The Chiefs made their best pick of the draft with this pick as they drafted Armani Watts from Texas A&M. Watts is a do it all safety who can play centerfield or slide into the slot and cover a wideout in a nickel situation. He’s a playmaker with recovery speed and ball skills that will lead to some exciting turnovers for the Chiefs. I expect him to be a starter alongside Berry when the season starts.

The Chiefs stayed at home again at pick 196 taking cornerback Tremon Smith out of Central Arkansas. A corner was a position many Chiefs fans had as their number one need yet the team waited until the sixth round to address the position. This either means they didn’t see the position on the same need level as fans, or they didn’t have the corners rated above the other players they selected.

Either way, they found a sixth-round gem in Smith. He’s a big physical corner with speed who likes to jump routes and create turnovers. Gambling as often as he does can pay off big time, but it can also cost him big time. If he can get in the film room and learn when to gamble and when not too, he could turn into a starting corner for the Chiefs.

The draft finished up with one final aggressive move by Veach as he traded the teams two seventh-round picks (233rd and 243rd overall) to the New England Patriots for pick 198. This was the biggest move of the draft for Veach who moved up 35 spots and gave up two picks for one pick. He did all of that to select Reginald Kahlil McKenzie Jr. from the University of Tennessee.

McKenzie is the son of current Oakland Raider general manager Reginald McKenzie Sr. whom I’m sure had mixed feelings about his son living his dream but doing it as a member of the Chiefs. McKenzie played defensive tackle in college, but the Chiefs are drafting him to play as a guard on the offensive line.

Next: Chiefs 5 Best Draft Day Bargains

This makes McKenzie the only offensive player drafted by the Chiefs in 2018. Some have questioned why the Chiefs would draft a defensive player to play offense instead of simply drafting someone who played the position in college. The reason is clear though, they believe McKenzie has a higher ceiling at guard than any of the listed guards. McKenzie has the pedigree for sure, his uncle played on the 1980’s famous Hog line of the Washington Redskins. The Chiefs are hoping they can tap into that bloodline and turn him into a productive player.

Overall the team made three trades and selected six players. I expect them to have at least four players who will see a lot of playing time this season as well as one starter from the 2018 class. That will turn into three or four starters in 2019, which I consider being a win for Veach in his first draft.