After a year that the Kansas City Chiefs fell just short of a second consecutive Super Bowl, how much of an impact did the Chiefs draft class of 2020 have? During last year’s draft, the Chiefs relied heavily on the defensive side of the ball, taking four defensive players out of the six selected.
With the offensive roster at the top of the NFL, it’s no wonder the front office focused more on defense for this Chiefs draft class. As I mentioned, they made the Super Bowl this previous season, but let’s take a look at how involved this Chiefs draft class really was.
Chiefs Draft Class of 2020
The Chiefs selected Clyde Edwards-Helaire with their first pick. The running back amassed 1,100 total yards (fifth-most among all rookies) and five touchdowns in 13 games. It was a successful season for the young running back. However, did the Chiefs need a running back in the first round when they had holes to fill at offensive line, linebacker, and edge rusher?
Damien Williams opted out of the season a few months after the draft so this pick ultimately paid dividends, but it is hard to argue that the team made the right call selecting a skill position player in the first round.
With their second selection, the Chiefs picked Willie Gay Jr. Gay played in all 16 games but on a limited basis. He received more playing time down the stretch of the season and infused speed at the second level the Chiefs have been missing for quite some time. The rookie showed a lot of potential and should be a full-time player in his second year.
In the third round, the Chiefs drafted Lucas Niang. Niang opted out of his rookie season so we don’t have much to go on other than his initial report. In 985 snaps in college, Niang gave up zero sacks. After watching the Chiefs offensive line completely crumble in the Super Bowl, this pick seems even better than it did a year ago.
With the fourth pick in the Chiefs draft, they selected L’Jarius Sneed. At the time, Sneed seemed like a bit of a reach but he had enticing tools and promise. The Chiefs were rewarded for their faith in his first season, as Sneed became one of the biggest defensive steals of the draft. Sneed had the fourth-best targeted EPA (expected points allowed) among all defensive backs in 2020. Pro Football Focus rated Sneed as the best rookie defensive back. He also made the Pro Football Writers of America All-Rookie Team.
In the fifth round of the Chiefs draft, the team selected defensive end, Mike Danna. Danna seemed like a massive reach by the team but he performed better than expected. He recorded two and a half sacks, four tackles for loss, and six quarterback hits. Not bad production from a fifth-round rotational player.
The Chiefs didn’t have a sixth or seventh-round pick but traded into the seventh round to select Thakarius Keyes. Keyes didn’t make much of an impact and fought injuries but finished the season as a special teams contributor.
Chiefs Draft Class Grade
The Chiefs draft class was full of some surprise picks but they were able to select some key players for the next few years. Edwards-Helaire is the clear running back of the future after averaging 4.4 yards per carry. Willie Gay added youth and speed to a linebacker group that desperately needed it.
The Niang pick looms even larger now that the team has major offensive line concerns, while Sneed was the best pick of the entire Chiefs draft class as he looks like a star in the making. Danna and Keyes still have some work to do but are on the path to being reliable depth pieces.
The Chiefs draft class of 2020 shaped up to be a pretty solid group worthy of a B+ grade.
Thanks for reading my article on the Kansas City Chiefs 2020 draft class. Follow me on Twitter @Hobby_Connect for more content and NFL talk!
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