Kansas City Chiefs Draft: Projecting roles after the 2024 NFL Draft

Last year I did my best to project 2023 NFL Draft class for the Chiefs and the roles they would play as rookies. This year, I’m doing that again for the class of 2024. Now that the Chiefs have used __ picks in the 2024 NFL Draft, let’s project their roles as rookies;

Round 1, pick 28: wide receiver Xavier Worthy

As a rookie, I think watching Mecole Hardman’s rookie year is a good start. Hardman has primarily made his impact on manufactured touches and vertical routes, which Worthy should be much better at than even Hardman. Worthy has a deeper bag than that, but as he transitions to the NFL, Andy Reid is going to take it slow with him.

With Hollywood Brown in the fold, they can slow down Worthy’s development a little slower than they were allowed for Rashee Rice. He will primarily play in the slot and be used in some packages, but with his speed and dynamic ability he will make an instant impact. As the year goes on, you hope he picks up more of the playbook and can add more to it. Brown has a history of missing games, so having Worthy nearby allows the Chiefs to continue to expand the field even if he is injured.

Round 2, Pick 63: Offensive tackle Kingsley Suamataia

Suamataia’s exact role depends on whether the Chiefs decide to sign a veteran left tackle. Suamataia has a year to redshirt and learn under Andy Heck whether he re-signs Donovan Smith or signs someone else. If I ran the Chiefs, that would be my plan. Even though I’m incredibly high on Suamataia long term, I would be very afraid of it starting immediately.

If the Chiefs don’t draft a veteran, it’s a show of confidence in Suamataia or Wanya Morris. They would both compete at left tackle. If Suamataia improves the technical weaknesses of the game and takes over the playbook, I think he will be more talented than Morris and could win the job. If Morris wins, he will be the backup and will have this year as a redshirt. Regardless, there aren’t many bad results with Suamataia. Either he takes the playbook and hits the ground running as a rookie, or he gains valuable experience learning to play left tackle for 2025.

Round 4, pick 131: tight end Jared Wiley

Wiley’s role is easy to project because his skillset fits exactly what the Chiefs need: an in-line tight end (Y). Before taking Wiley, the Chiefs didn’t have that on the roster. Wiley has some work to do to be a good blocker for an in-line tight end, but the flashes on film were there. He’s a smart blocker and has plenty of length. He can stretch the seams and run a middle route tree as a receiver.

In 2022, one of the reasons the Chiefs had success in their 13 personnel packages was Jody Fortson’s ability to win on the field. When he was injured last season, that role went to Blake Bell, who was absolutely no threat and didn’t need to be defended at all. This is one of the reasons why the effectiveness of the chief’s staff has collapsed. With Wiley, the hope is that he can make an impact as a receiver early enough to restore those 2022 numbers. I think he should be able to fill that need and easily outperform Bell.

Round 4, pick 133: safety Jaden Hicks

Hicks was my highest-ranked safety in this class, but I’m curious to see what the plan is with him in 2024. To me, Hicks’ skill set resembles how the team uses Justin Reid. He is best at matching tight ends in man coverage and using his range in open space. He is a very good tackler, with the ball skills and size to play in the slot. Like Reid, his agility limits the work he can do playing deep, but his explosiveness and athleticism stand out more from the line of scrimmage.

For 2024, since the Chiefs already have Reid, Cook and Charmarri Connor, Hicks is probably competing for a third safety role at best. He could potentially beat Connor, but I was impressed enough with Connor to give him a chance in this spot. Hicks is also redundant with Reid on the roster. But with Reid only under contract for one more year, Hicks would be the ideal redshirt for 2025. For 2024, I could see special teams and limited snaps being his primary role.

Round 5, Pick 159: center Hunter Nourzad

Before this weekend, the Chiefs had eight offensive linemen on the roster, so the Chiefs needed depth, particularly on the interior offensive line. Nourzad provides it. Nourzad played center in 2023, but also had experience at guard for Penn State in 2022. He could profile as Nick Allegretti’s potential long-term replacement as the centerpiece on the interior. He’s almost certainly a lock to make the roster.

Round 6, pick 211: cornerback Kamal Hadden

Hadden primarily played at Tennessee, but his lack of length in the NFL could push him to the slot. The Chiefs don’t necessarily already have a backup slot for Trent McDuffie on the roster, but there are options. Nazeeh Johnson profiles as someone who can play in the slot, and with Hicks on board, there’s a chance Charmarri Connor gets more work at those spots.

The key for Hadden will be special teams. If he makes the roster, that will be his biggest impact. He will compete with Nic Jones, Johnson and others for those fringe spots.

Round 7, pick 248: guard CJ Hanson

Even after Nourzad, the Chiefs needed more depth on the offensive line. Hanson provides it. Hanson has years of experience at right guard, so there’s a chance the Chiefs view him as a potential replacement for Trey Smith in the long term, but for now, he’s good guard depth for the team. ‘team. Like Nourzad, I’d be shocked if Hanson didn’t make the roster, given how thin the Chiefs are on the offensive line.

Favorite undrafted free agent: Linebacker Curtis Jacobs

I had a fourth round grade on Jacobs and liked his film and profile. At 240 pounds, Jacobs has a ton of explosiveness and reach. He has extensive coverage and can run the pole, but he also excels at blitzing and working downhill. The Chiefs have had a lot of success with linebackers like that recently, notably with Willie Gay and Leo Chenal. Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo works well with these types of linebackers, and I could see Jacobs being this type of player long term.

He’ll have to work on special teams and beat out Cam Jones or Cole Christiansen for roster spots, but from what I’ve seen on film, I think he can do that and make this roster. I’m excited about what I think it can become in the long run.

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