What if the KC Chiefs hadn’t traded out of the first round in 2016 and took JaylonSmith 28th overall instead?
There were a lot of ticked off Kansas City Chiefs fans in 2016 when the team decided to trade out of the first round and therefore did not make a selection on that Thursday night of the draft.
There wasn’t anyone on the board that the Chiefs felt they needed to have at pick 28, so they moved back and eventually landed Mississippi State defensive tackle Chris Jones, who they actually just extended a few weeks ago.
The move obviously paid off, but what if the KC Chiefs had stayed put at pick 28 and landed Jaylon Smith?
This was the move Brad Gagnon of Bleacher Report had the Chiefs making in his 2016 NFL Draft re-do. Jaylon Smith of Notre Dame was still on the board at this time and ended up falling to the second round due to an injury he sustained near the end of the 2015 college season that hurt his draft stock big time.
"The second-round pick was still coming back from a major knee injury early in his career but has since become one of the league’s best off-ball linebackers."
Now, in Gagnon’s re-draft, Tyreek Hill went seventh overall and Chris Jones was taken 11th by the Chicago Bears. This means the Chiefs don’t move back because they think they can still get Jones, so they stay put and take Smith.
But, in my own little fantasy world I like to pretend that the draft still went according to plan and the Chiefs were at pick 28 with the previous 27 selections going the way they did four years ago. If that’s the case and the Chiefs took Smith at 28 and then Jones in round two, oh man what a draft that would have been!
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Smith missed his entire rookie season because of that injury, but he hasn’t missed a game since, appearing in all 16 regular season games in each of his three seasons. When he took the field in 2017 for the Cowboys, he didn’t miss a beat from his impressive college career, totaling 81 tackles.
Since then, Smith has recorded 121 and 142 tackles respectively while also adding four sacks and two and a half sacks during that time as well. The Chiefs would have been just fine at the outside linebacker position if they had taken Smith in 2016 instead of having had to rely on guys like Anthony Hitchens and Damien Wilson to fill that role.
Taking Smith with the 28th pick in 2016 would have been a really risky pick due to his injury, but if the Chiefs had taken the risk, Jaylon Smith would have added a whole new element to this defense. The defense wasn’t very good a few years ago and Smith would have helped in that department for sure.
Also, when we looked back at the 2016 NFL Draft, taking Smith, Jones, and Hill would have easily made this one of the best Chiefs drafts of all-time.