Chiefs go defense, defense, defense in NFL draft

By Steve Sell
April 30, 2018

Tell me if you’ve ever heard of Breelund Speaks, Derrick Nnadi, Dorian O’Daniel, Armani Watts, Tremon Smith or Khalil McKenzie.

I didn’t think so.

Those are the newest members of the Kansas City Chiefs, who snapped up the six defensive players in the recently completed NFL draft, though McKenzie — the son of former NFL star Reggie McKenzie — reportedly is going to be auditioned as an offensive guard, a position his father played when he used to block for O.J. Simpson during his 2,000-yard season with the Buffalo Bills.

It was widely regarded it would be a defense-heavy draft for new Chiefs GM Brett Veach and he took it to the limit. The Chiefs were supposed to draft eight players, but packaged some picks together to move up in the order.

How many of these picks actually stick is anyone’s guess. I’m sure some KC fans are disappointed from the standpoint that none of the new Chiefs is a household name.

The Chiefs had no choice but to load up on defensive players. Since last season they have lost, among others, Derrick Johnson, Tamba Hali, Ron Parker and Marcus Peters. They do get back Eric Berry and have picked up a couple of free agents, but it’s a unit in need of a total overhaul.

I’ve checked out the various pundits’ grades for the Chiefs. KC Star beat writer Terez Paylor was wildly enthusiastic as he gave them an “A,” this from a guy who normally has been pretty rough on the Chiefs in the past.

I also saw a “B” from Chad Reuter from  and Sports Illustrated’s Andy Benoit issued a “B-.”

Dan Kadar, from SB Nation, was harsh as he gave Veach a “D-plus,” which is pretty tough considering the Chiefs’ lowly draft position and the fact they had no first-rounder.

Speaks, a defensive tackle from Mississippi, was the Chiefs’ first selection and it came in the second round. He’s the player who is receiving the most praise, which you would expect since he was the highest pick. The Chiefs were desperate for defensive line help as Chris Jones is really the only player they have of substance, so Speaks should probably step in and play right away.

As for the other teams in the AFC West, it was considered by most a good draft for Denver, which had the unbelievable good fortune of landing Bradley Chubb, regarded as the best defensive player in the draft. He’ll combine with Von Miller for a devastating pass rush. But Denver didn’t address the quarterback position, though it did add Case Keenum from the Vikings, who came out of nowhere last year to take them within a game of the Super Bowl

The Chargers and Raiders were both given low grades by most of the experts. If Kansas City’s defense can be rebuilt on the fly, the Chiefs still figure to be a slight favorite in what may be the NFL’s most balanced division.