The 2020 NFL Draft starts on Thursday, April 23. As a lead up to the draft, we’ll be giving a team-by-team breakdown for positional needs. For each team, we’ll give an overview of each team’s current depth chart and how big of a need each position in the upcoming draft. Find all teams and the rest of our draft content in our NFL Draft Hub.
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Kansas City Chiefs 2020 Draft Picks Overview
Round 1 (32)
Round 2 (63)
Round 3 (96)
Round 4 (138)
Round 5 (177)
Kansas City Chiefs Offense
by Rich Hribar
2019 Kansas City Chiefs Offensive Ranks
*denotes new addition
Patrick Mahomes has already won a regular season MVP and a Super Bowl MVP over his first two seasons as a starting quarterback. So, yeah… the Chiefs are looking pretty good here. Mahomes is in the final year of his rookie contract and set to be the highest-paid player at his position very soon. Kansas City has veteran depth in Henne and brought in Ta’amu this offseason after he was productive in the XFL.
Kansas City picked up the 2020 option on Damien Williams this offseason. Williams had just 711 yards in 11 games in 2019, but once again flashed to close the season. Over his final seven full games played, Williams played 77% of the snaps, handled 82% of the backfield touches and averaged 110.4 yards from scrimmage per game.
The only back the Chiefs have signed beyond 2020 is Darwin Thompson, last year’s sixth-round pick. Given their contract situations, reliable depth and Damien Williams potentially missing time, the team should be looking to add another player cheaply on a rookie contract. But with only five total draft picks, we can’t rule out the organization taking a similar approach as they did last season and wait to add another veteran post-draft.
Bringing back Sammy Watkins and Demarcus Robinson on one-year deals, the Chiefs are returning every wide receiver who took a snap for last season outside of the 20 snaps De’Anthony Thomas played prior to his release.
Tyreek Hill is signed through the 2022 season while last year’s second-round pick (56th overall) Mecole Hardman is early into his rookie deal. Pringle and Dieter both are exclusive rights free agents after the season. Wide receiver isn’t a pressing need for the Chiefs, but they will have openings as early as next season should the team want to get another player on a rookie contract prior to paying Mahomes.
Kansas City doesn’t have a need here with Travis Kelce is still on the pantheon of the position. Kelce has reeled off four straight 1,000-yard seasons. He enters 2020 turning 31-years-old with two years remaining on his current contract. The team added Ricky Seals-Jones to compete with Deon Yelder in taking over the vacated snaps (38%) left by Blake Bell’s departure.
LT: Eric Fisher/Martinas Rankin
LG: Andrew Wylie /Nick Allegretti
C: Austin Reiter
RG: Laurent Duvernay-Tardif/Ryan Hunter
RT: Mitchell Schwartz/Mike Remmers/Jackson Barton
Last season, the Chiefs had Fisher, Duvernay-Tardif, Reiter, and Schwartz all fully active together for just 10 full games, with nine of them coming over their nine-game winning streak to close the season. Despite being forced to juggle their starters, the Chiefs still ranked a modest 14th in ESPN’s Pass Blocking Win Rate and fourth in adjusted sack rate (4.9%) in partial thanks to Mahomes’s wizardry.
Fisher, Schwartz, and Duvernay-Tardif are all under contract through the 2021 season with Reiter and Wylie up at the end of this season. Andy Reid has done a lot of work with mid-round offensive lineman and the Chiefs should add an interior blocker at some point during the draft for immediate depth and an eye on those expiring contracts.
Kansas City Chiefs Defense
by Dan Pizzuta
2019 Kansas City Chiefs Defensive Ranks
interior defensive line
If Chris Jones stays (he’s currently franchise tagged) the Chefs are fine because Jones is one of the league’s best interior linemen against both the pass and the run. He was second in pressure rate among defensive tackles per SIS and third in ESPN’s Pass Rush Win Rate. Nnadi and Pennel were able to fill in during the few games Jones missed, but if Jones is traded, there will be a big hole in the middle of the defense.
Frank Clark started the season terribly but improved as the year and his health progressed. Alex Okafor was fine as a rotational rusher but the Chiefs might miss Emannuel Ogbah, who led the team in pressure rate last season. Tanoh Kpassagnon was a big body out there but left a lot to be desired with his actual pass rushing. If Chris Jones is traded, Kpassagnon might be better served as an undersized interior defender. As a team, the Chiefs were 19th in Pass Rush Win Rate so there is plenty of room to add another player on the edge.
The Chiefs’ linebacking group is not strong but it doesn’t seem to be a position the team values all that highly. Kansas City gave a big deal to Hitchens before the 2018 season (and one they can’t get out of until 2021 after a restructure) but instead of forcing Hitchens to do things he wasn’t good at, they worked around him/Wilson/Niemann — mostly with safeties taking coverage responsibilities. The Chiefs played Dime+ on 33% of their defensive snaps, which was the sixth-highest rate in the league. They relied more on that as the season went on.
The Chiefs wandered into a group of successful corners last season without much invested at the position. Ward ranked 28th in Adjusted Yards allowed per coverage snap among 92 corners with at least 300 snaps in 2019 and Breeland ranked 32nd. Fenton only played 115 coverage snaps per SIS, but his 0.38 AYa/CS figure ranked 11th among the 145 corners who hit 100.
But as a smart team, the Chiefs likely know how unreliable coverage stats can be from year-to-year, so it’s no guarantee this group will be an above average unit again in 2020. Especially given how many defensive backs Kansas CIty relied on late last season, there’s room for an addition to the cornerback room.
There might not be a more versatile group of safeties in the league. To list Mathieu as a safety underplays the role he played last season when he was arguable the team’s best box safety, free safety, outside corner, slot corner, linebacker, and pass rusher on the lead up to the Super Bowl.
Daniel Sorensen played a de facto linebacker late in the season and while he has some flaws, he held up well enough at the position. Juan Thornhill was a rookie star at safety before a torn ACL ended his season at the end of December.
As noted with the corner situation, because of how many defensive backs the Chiefs like to play, there could easily be another impact player added here which could lessen the load on Mathieu and Thornhill as he returns from injury.