Tim Crone: Chiefs addressed all their pressing needs in draft
Brett Veach and his scouting organization for the Kansas City Chiefs went into the 2021 NFL Draft with a game plan and executed the plan in grand fashion.
The Chiefs had addressed the main problem of the offensive line before the draft started. Veach restructured the entire offensive line with trades and free agency pickups without relying on young inexperienced rookie linemen.
The organization started with a plan to draft for a needed position. Through the draft, Veach was able to fill needs at inside linebacker, rush defensive end, tight end, wide receiver and still picked up a depth at center on the offensive line.
The Chiefs have been weak at the inside linebacker position for several years. With the drafting of Missouri’s Nick Bolton in the second round, the Chiefs acquired a fast and aggressive mindset to help against all the spread offensive looks found in the current NFL.
In that same round they continued to make the offensive team a strength instead of a weakness. Creed Humphrey from Oklahoma was two-time offensive lineman of the year in the Big 12. This guy will be a good player for years to come and may even be the starting center at the open of the 2021 season.
The team’s pass rush was not up to par. The addition of Florida State defensive end Joshua Kaindoh should be interesting to watch. Although he is a particularly good athlete, the Chiefs will need to make him a project to improve some of the little things for him to provide much-needed pass rushing help.
The pick of Noah Gray from Duke was beyond excellent. Gray is a pass receiving tight end who can help relieve the wear and tear on All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce. The Chiefs picked up Blake Bell from Dallas in the offseason to provide a run-blocking tight end, but the team needed another pass catching threat at the position.
Both Gray and Kelce could be on the field at the same time for many offensive sets. Andy Reid will likely come up with some three tight end looks to make opposing teams prepare for even more schemes.
Another very solid pick was Clemson wide receiver Cornell Powell. Powell is bigger than most of the Chiefs’ present receivers and he is very physical after the catch. He could be remarkably effective in the red zone. He comes from a phenomenally successful college program and is accustomed to playing in high leverage games.
Veach and his staff stayed laser focused on how to improve following the poor Super Bowl showing. Veach makes no bones about moving quickly with determination to correct the situation. Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz had great careers in Kansas City, but it was time to make a move for the good of the team. Veach went right to work to correct the offensive line situation just one day after the Super Bowl.
No one is surprised the Chiefs used their last pick in the draft for another offensive guard, Tennessee’s Trey Smith. The organization knew its needs and corrected them. Last year the offensive guards for Kansas City had the worst rating in the NFL for run blocking. The team now has made the offensive line the strength of the team. Why not when you have Patrick Mahomes at QB?
The Chiefs went into this year’s draft with a bad taste in their mouths from the way the season ended last year. They addressed those needs and more. I look forward to the opening kickoff.
• A special congratulations to former Blue Springs High School running back Ladell Betts for his new position as running backs coach at Iowa. He will be a great addition to the Hawkeyes staff both on and off the field. He was a four-year star at Iowa and played nine years at running back in the NFL. He is a class act and great human being.
• The quote of the week comes from Pro Football Hall of Fame running back Gale Sayers: “I learned that if you want to make it bad enough, no matter how bad it is, you can make it.”
Tim Crone, a William Chrisman High School graduate, is a former activities director and coach for Blue Springs High School. He writes a weekly column for The Examiner. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.