How the Chiefs’ Offseason Affects the Immediate Future
The Chiefs have not had much going on this offseason. They have had a lot of pride since winning the Super Bowl. While they haven’t changed much, the Chiefs still have a lot of upside going into this season. However, the Chiefs haven’t upgraded much, while opposing teams have increased their upside a lot. With not a lot going on with the Chiefs, I thought i’d give you guys a look at some of the stuff going on with them and how it could impact the near future.
The Chiefs have a lot to work with in their current situation. They have a top quarterback in Patrick Mahomes, a top receiving core with Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce, a young running back with Clyde-Edwards-Helaire (drafted 32nd overall), and positive parts on the defense with Chris Jones, Charvarius Ward, Tyrann Mathieu, and Frank Clark. There is a lot of good on the team. So I thought I’d give a deep dive with their team and players that are new to the team and how they are going to help them continue to win.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, LSU
The Chiefs have a very good and young offense, but their biggest weak point was at the running back position. They thought they had the answer with Kareem Hunt after he broke out in his rookie season. That backfired after Hunt’s domestic violence incident, which ultimately led to his release. Hunt was the promising back that they wanted because of how well he fit into Reid’s system.
After Hunt was cut, they thought they had an answer with Damien Williams, who has showed a great deal of promise. Williams, after half a season with the Chiefs, earned himself the starting running back position in 2019. He had a hard time staying healthy, and so they are looking for a new answer.
Clyde offers the upside and versatility that will allow him to be a top running back in the league. Edwards-Helaire has great vision and lateral quickness that complement his smooth footwork extremely well. He has a lot to offer with his versatility, and with Reid’s innovative offense, I expect great improvement with Clyde in the backfield and Mahomes, Hill, Watkins, Hardman, and Kelce alongside him.
Willie Gay Jr., LB, Mississippi State
Willie Gay Jr. is actually one of my favorite picks in this draft for the Chiefs. The Chiefs have a lot of needs, but linebacker was a need that simply couldn’t be passed up on. Gay was my fifth ranked linebacker after jumping onto my radar after the standout performance at the combine. He offers a high level of athleticism and versatility that will allow him to excel in Spagnuolo’s defensive system.
The Chiefs have some depth at the position, but the departure of Reggie Ragland is quite a void to fill. Ragland is the opposite of Anthony Hitchens, which is what we were missing while our defense was greatly struggling. Ragland has the physicality to attack the run at the line of scrimmage, Hitchens is a better coverage linebacker, and Willie Gay Jr. is a very good combination of the two.
Gay possesses a great level of speed that is uncommon with linebackers of his size. With his speed he is able to work sideline to sideline with run stopping ability. He also has great speed and the ideal awareness to play well in coverage against tight ends in the nickel. He’s going to fill a void on defense, and with his increased versatility, he could become a leader for the linebackers.
Lucas Niang, OT, TCU
The Chiefs selected Lucas Niang, the offensive tackle from TCU, with their third round pick. They have Mitchell Schwartz and Eric Fisher as their starting tackles, but are looking to add a tackle that can play guard while they get the most value out of Schwartz before he retires. Niang, who I had graded as a second rounder and my sixth ranked offensive tackle, was great value with this pick.
The TCU product is a very strong tackle with great run blocking and potential with his pass blocking due to his strong anchor ability and great hand usage. Niang can offer the Chiefs another very good offensive lineman on a line that needs to protect Mahomes. Their future is going to run through Mahomes and they need to protect him at all costs. Adding Niang allows them to have two top 10 offensive tackles, a young guard, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, and Austin Reiter as their offensive linemen to start the season. With Clyde Edwards-Helaire also in the fold, they need to add more protection for run blocking, and Niang offers that upside.
Taco Charlton, EDGE (1 yr, $825k)
The Chiefs have struggled lately to find someone to complete an elite pass rushing core. Charlton was a former first round pick from Michigan, and with him still being relatively young, he could still hit a stride within his development. He is a very quick pass rusher off the edge, and with Chris Jones, Frank Clark, and Derrick Nnadi, he can have some of the pressure taken off of being double teamed.
The Chiefs have a lot of depth among their defensive front, and Charlton could learn a lot. Emmanuel Ogbah, who was a top player in his draft class, didn’t hit his stride until this past year before getting hurt, and the same went for Alex Okafor. Charlton has a lot of upside and given the low contract price, it’s a high reward, low risk signing for the Super Bowl Champs.