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41 Action News: Kansas City Chiefs Draft Central

SEC Championship Football
Posted at 5:41 PM, Apr 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-27 13:00:12-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs along with the rest of the NFL have a chance to improve their roster Thursday through Saturday through the 2020 NFL Draft.

The 41 Action News Kansas City Chiefs Draft Central page is your place for the latest new and analysis as the draft unfolds from your Home of the Chiefs.

Be sure to tune in for a special "On the Clock" Chiefs draft special at 6:45 p.m. every day during the draft on 41 Action News and check out a half-hour streaming draft special every night from 41 Action News on Roku and other devices.

CHIEFS DRAFT WRAP

PODCAST: Chiefs draft recap and reaction

The 2020 NFL Draft has come and gone, which makes "4th & 1" podcast co-host Nick Jacobs incredibly sad. He and fellow co-host Tod Palmer break down how Kansas City made in the draft and how well the team did addressing needs in the quest for a Super Bowl repeat.

New Chiefs RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire's interesting off-field passion

New Chiefs running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire is more than a potential football star and fun new toy for coach Andy Reid and the Kansas City's explosive offense.

He's also an avid hunter and enjoys restoring old car. Find out what his dream car to refurbish would be.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire
LSU running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Friday, Feb. 28, 2020. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

DAY 3: THE MONEY ROUNDS

Saturday is when scouts and general managers have to earn those paychecks. The evaluations can be tougher trying to identify and add impact talent in the fourth through seventh rounds of the 2020 NFL Draft.

OVERALL GRADE: B+

One can quibble with selecting a running back in the first round, but I’m not going to get twisted about it at No. 32, especially with the draft’s elite corners and wide receivers long gone and especially given how much Andy Reid — who knows the game better than me and is among his generation's brightest offensive minds — loves the pick.

The Chiefs then added speed and athleticism at every level of the defense and also got a quality addition for the offensive line, one who could have an immediate impact at guard and fill a bigger need down the road at tackle.

Picking Michigan defensive end Michael Danna, who many analysts viewed as a priority free agent, was the only pick where the value clearly didn’t match up with draft position. It also keeps KC from getting an A from me.

The bigger issue for Kansas City might be that, in a relatively deep draft, its AFC pursuers — both within the division, but especially the Baltimore Ravens — made out like bandits. It remains to be seen whether any closed the gap enough to knock Reid and Patrick Mahomes from the NFL summit.

— Tod Palmer

NFL Draft Football
In this still image from video provided by the NFL, Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid appears during the NFL football draft Thursday, April 23, 2020.

Chiefs LB Willie Gay: ‘I’ve grown’ from off-field issues, ready to embrace NFL opportunity

There’s been a lot made of Mississippi State linebacker Willie Gay Jr.’s off-field issues, including an eight-game suspension for academic fraud and an alleged fight that injured the Bulldogs’ starting quarterback before a bowl game.

But the Chiefs were willing to look past those concerns — in part because of Andy Reid’s relationship with and faith in the recommendation of Gay’s former coach, Dan Mullen — and spent a second-round pick on him Friday in the 2020 NFL Draft.

Willie Gay Jr.
Mississippi State linebacker Willie Gay Jr. warms up before playing Arkansas during an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019 in Fayetteville, Ark. (AP Photo/Michael Woods)

Chiefs OT Lucas Niang on playing gaurd: 'I’ll do whatever they need me to do'

Declaring himself rehabbed from a town hip labrum, which cost him the final five games of his college career, former TCU offensive tackle Lucas Niang said he'll embrace any role with the Chiefs. That likely will include starting his career as a guard when training camp arrives.

Kansas City chose Niang late in the third round on Friday night.

Lucas Niang
TCU offensive lineman Lucas Niang speaks during a press conference at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020.

Grading the picks: B-

Quick scout: The Chiefs filled some needs on the third day of the draft. Kansas City needed to inject some athleticism and young talent into the secondary, especially at the cornerback position and especially after the way AFC West teams loaded up on explosive talent during the draft. Louisiana Tech cornerback L'Jarius Sneed has speed to spare and is the kind of instinctive and versatile defensive back that defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo covets.

The Chiefs then moved back into the draft, trading a sixth-round pick next season to Tennessee, to draft Tulane cornerback Thakarius "BoPete" Keyes in the seventh round. He's a long athlete, who lacks deep speed, but can be effective in zone schemes and pressing at the line of scrimmage.

Michael Danna, a Central Michigan graduate transfer who finished his college career as part of a deep and talented Michigan defensive-line rotation, is strong and plays with a high motor. He flashed some pass-rush ability at the Mid-American Conference level, but will need to be coached up by Chiefs defensive line coach Brendan Daly to make an impact at the NFL level.

— Tod Palmer

5:58 p.m. | For the second straight year, Washburn has a player taken in the draft. The Vikings took Ichabods guard Kyle Hinton with the No. 253 overall pick late in the seventh round.

The Giants chose Washburn cornerback Corey Ballentine in the sixth round of the 2019 NFL Draft. He was shot the next morning after leaving a party in Topeka.

5:18 p.m. | The Chiefs traded back into the seventh round and nabbed Tulane cornerback Bopete Keyes with the 237th pick. Kansas City swung the deal with Tennessee, giving up its sixth-round pick next season.

Tulane Auburn Football
Auburn wide receiver Eli Stove (12) carries the ball into the end zone for a touchdown over Tulane cornerback Thakarius Keyes (26) during the second quarter of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019, in Auburn, Ala.

5:05 p.m. | Blue Springs native Carlos Davis, a redshirt senior defensive tackle from Nebraska, was selected with the 232nd pick in the seventh round of the draft by Pittsburgh. His twin brother, Khalil, went in the sixth round to Tampa Bay.

3:27 p.m. | Blue Springs native Khalil Davis, a redshirt senior defensive tackle from Nebraska, was picked No. 194 overall in the sixth round of the NFL Draft by Tampa Bay. He'll now share a locker room with new Bucs quarterback Tom Brady.

2:53 p.m. | Cincinnati has drafted Kansas offensive lineman Hakeem Adeniji with the first pick in the sixth round, No. 180 overall.

2:37 p.m. | The Chiefs drafted defensive end Michael Danna from Michigan at No. 177 overall in the fifth round of the 2020 NFL Draft with the last of the team's scheduled picks. Kansas City doesn't have picks in the sixth or seventh rounds, barring a trade back into the later rounds.

Michigan Illinois Football
Illinois' Reggie Corbin (2) holds tight to the ball as he is hit by Michigan's Michael Danna (4) in the second half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019, in Champaign, Ill.

12:47 p.m. | Kansas City was bound to add to its secondary in the 2020 NFL Draft. That moment came in the fourth round Saturday when the Chiefs selected blazing-fast Louisiana Tech defensive back L'Jarius Sneed, who ran a 4.37-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine and played both corner and safety at the college level.

Juwan Green, L'Jarius Sneed
American Team wide receiver Juwan Green, left, of Albany, attempts a catch only to have it broken up by National Team cornerback L'Jarius Sneed, of Louisiana Tech, during the first half of the Collegiate Bowl college football game Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020, in Pasadena, Calif.

11:39 a.m. | Missouri tight end Albert Okwuegbunam was drafted No. 118 overall by the Broncos in the fourth round of the 2020 NFL Draft. He reunites with former Tigers quarterback Drew Lock in Denver.

Okwuegbunam, who is often simply called Albert O, is a skilled receiver with blazing speed and will be a handful paired with Noah Fant, another uber-athletic tight end the Broncos added in last season's draft.

DAY 2: THE DRAFT ROLLS ON

First-round picks garner the most attention, but there's always plenty of talent still on the board and plenty of ways for NFL teams to improve their rosters during the second day of the draft.

10:33 p.m. | With both starting tackles under contract only through 2021, the Chiefs added depth along the offensive line in the third-round of the 2020 NFL Draft.

Texas TCU Football
TCU offensive tackle Lucas Niang (77) is pictured in the first half of an NCAA college football game against Texas in Fort Worth, Texas, Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019.

Grading the picks: A-

Quick scout: Improving the athleticism in the linebacker room was a massive need for the reigning Super Bowl champions. Yes, there were some intriguing cornerbacks still available, which also is a position of need, but Mississippi State's Willie Gay Jr. was the second-most athletic linebacker in the 2020 NFL Draft behind only Clemson's Isaiah Simmons. He gives defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo coverage options he didn't have last season with his versatility.

Adding depth along the offensive line with an eye toward keeping Patrick Mahomes upright for the next decade-plus is always an admirable goal. TCU offensive tackle Lucas Niang brings athleticism and should get a chance to develop for a season or two before eventually replacing either Eric Fisher or Mitchell Schwartz.

— Tod Palmer

10:04 p.m. | The Cleveland Browns selected Missouri defensive tackle Jordan Elliott with the No. 88 overall pick in the third round after trading back and picking up an extra third-round pick in the 2021 draft from the New Orleans Saints.

8:32 p.m. | Coverage was an issue for the Chiefs' linebacking corps last season, but it may not be anymore with the addition of Mississippi State linebacker Willie Gay Jr. in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft.

Willie Gay Jr.
Mississippi State linebacker Willie Gay Jr. runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

EXCLUSIVE: Chiefs first-round pick Clyde Edwards-Helaire speaks with Mick Shaffer

EXCLUSIVE: Chiefs first-round pick Clyde Edwards-Helaire speaks with Mick Shaffer

Kevin Faulk: 'Both sides hit lottery' as Chiefs choose Edwards-Helaire

Former NFL running back Kevin Faulk coached Clyde Edwards-Helaire at LSU and thinks his protege and the Kansas City Chiefs are a perfect match.

Edwards-Helaire's former coach weighs in on Chiefs' pick

'Virtual' dream come true for Simmons

It was a "virtual" dream come true for Olathe native Isaiah Simmons, a former Clemson linebacker who was selected eighth overall Thursday in the 2020 NFL Draft. Find out more about the Olathe North grad, including which Chiefs player influenced his playing style the most and what grander plan he has for NFL career beyond the box score.

Isaiah Simmons
Clemson's Isaiah Simmons (11) reacts after making a play against Pittsburgh in the first half of the Atlantic Coast Conference championship NCAA college football game in Charlotte, N.C., Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018.

DAY 1: THE PICKS ARE IN

11:12 p.m. | LSU running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire is the newest addition to the reigning champs, a dynamic player and gifted receiver who should elevate the Chiefs' already explosive offense.

SEC Championship Football
LSU running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire (22) runs past Georgia defensive back Tyrique McGhee (26) during the second half of the Southeastern Conference championship NCAA college football game, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019, in Atlanta.

Hear from Chiefs GM Brett Veach

Chiefs GM Brett Veach: Edwards-Helaire adds excitement to Chiefs' offense

Grading the pick: B

Quick scout: Edwards-Helaire played a pro-style system at LSU. He's not a big back at 5 feet, 7 inches, but he is compact and powerful at 207 pounds. He doesn't have blazing speed, running a 4.60 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, but he's elusive with his quick feet and electrifying in the open field.

Edwards-Helaire lined up everywhere in the offense and was highly productive in the running and passing attacks for the national champion Tigers. With his balance and versatility, he's a fantastic complement to Super Bowl LIV hero Damien Williams and it'll be fun to see what coach Andy Reid dreams up to utilize his talents.
— Tod Palmer

8:16 p.m. | Olathe North graduate Isaiah Simmons is a first-round NFL draft pick. The Clemson linebacker was selected No. 8 overall by the Arizona Cardinals.

AP All-ACC Football
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7:28 p.m. | Cincinnati made LSU quarterback Joe Burrow, who won a national championship and the Heisman Trophy as an Ohio State transfer last season, the No. 1 overall pick Thursday in the 2020 NFL Draft followed by a pair of former Buckeyes teammates.

PRE-DRAFT HOMEWORK

Wondering who the Chiefs should take or what players might be available to fill needs for each of Kansas City’s draft picks?

Our “4th & 1” podcast co-hosts have you covered with one-of-a-kind news and analysis:

Nick Jacobs’ 2020 Chiefs mock draft

Tod Palmer’s 2020 Chiefs mock draft

Are you a college or NFL football junkie who wants to know how the entire first round might play out? Be sure to check out this full first-round mock draft:

Nick Jacobs' 2020 NFL Draft first-round mock draft

Tod Palmer’s 2020 NFL Draft first-round mock draft

Wondering what the Chiefs’ draft strategy should be? 41 Action News Sports Director Mick Shaffer says it’s truly the best player available, which sounds cliche — and usually is — but might be realistic this year for Kansas City:

Chiefs to use 2020 NFL Draft to build on Super Bowl-winning roster

After bringing back 20 of the 22 players who started Super Bowl LIV, which the Chiefs won if you had forgotten, GM Brett Veach should have loads of flexibility and lots of options, according to 41 Action News Sports Anchor Hayley Lewis:

Chiefs can be selective in first round of 2020 NFL Draft

Be sure to check out 41 Action News’ exclusive Chiefs-centric podcast, “4th & 1,” which mixes expert analysis of the Super Bowl LIV champs from Nick Jacobs and lighthearted humor with his own unique insights from Tod Palmer each week:

The latest “4th & 1” podcast

Are you a Chiefs fan? Subscribe to and rate the “4th & 1” podcast on iTunes, Stitcher or your preferred podcast platform for even more content from the Home of the Chiefs, 41 Action News.

You can also follow "4th & 1" co-hosts Nick Jacobs and Tod Palmer on Twitter along with the “4th & 1” podcast.