Notebook: Chiefs favor athleticism in draft class

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The six players selected by the Chiefs in the 2017 draft all share one common thread more than any other — a focus on athleticism and raw talent with upside potential.

Chiefs coach Andy Reid (left) and general manager John Dorsey discuss the NFL draft during the first round on April 27, 2017.

Chiefs coach Andy Reid (left) and general manager John Dorsey discuss the NFL draft during the first round on April 27, 2017.

Saturday’s selections —  wide receiver Jehu Chesson, linebacker Ukeme Eligwe and defensive back Leon McQuay III — all fit into this category.

Chesson and McQuay are both big and fast, but both also suffered through slumps during their junior year. Disciplinary issues and a transfer kept Eligwe off the field for much of the 2014-15 seasons.

Even Kansas City’s selections on the first two days fit the pattern. No one doubts that Patrick Mahomes brings the strongest arm and his resume shows the most consistent body of  work.

But both General manager John Dorsey and Andy Reid admit Mahomes has much to learn at the NFL level.

Second round pick Tanoh Kpassagnon displayed progressive development, but also suffered through injuries his sophomore season and played at the FCS level.

Third round running back Kareem Hunt posted nearly 5,000 yards rushing in his career, but also suffered through a junior slump riddled by injuries and a suspension.

While all of the Chiefs draft choices have some blemish on their resume, it’s difficult to dispute their upside talent and athleticism.

TRADER JOHN

The Chiefs figured to be one of the busier teams in the 2017 NFL draft, entering with 10 selections. But a whirlwind of deals kept the team in the headlines from the beginning to the end of the draft.

Dorsey pulled the trigger on two deals on Saturday, first picking up an extra fifth-round pick from New England in exchange for one of their two sixth-round picks and tight end James O’Shaughnessy. The team later packaged two fifth-round picks in a swap with Minnesota to move back in to the fourth round to select Michigan wide receiver Jehu Chesson.

That came after the Chiefs made trades on both Thursday and Friday nights to move up in acquiring first-round pick Patrick Mahomes and third-round pick Kareem Hunt.

A total of 12 picks in this year’s draft exchanged hands along with the Chiefs’ first-round pick in 2018 and O’Shaughnessy. The Chiefs finished with six selections in this year’s draft.

BRING BALANCE TO THE FORCE

There is one word all scouts seem to use in describing new Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt: balance.

“The vision and the balance that has, I think he’s one of the most instinctive players in this entire draft class,” NFL.com analyst Daniel Jeremiah wrote in his combine profile of Hunt. “I think this guy is going to be an outstanding pro.”

Dorsey said Hunt perfectly fits Andy Reid’s offensive scheme.

“We really like his running style,” Dorsey said. “We like his contact balance and his ability to run the ball.”

Area scout Pat Sperduto covered Hunt during the scouting process. He agreed with Dorsey’s assessment.

“Great balance,” Sperduto said. “Off the chart balance, really special.”

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Matt Derrick is the lead beat writer for ChiefsDigest.com. Use the contact page to reach him or find him on Twitter: @MattDerrick.

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