Preview: Every year, KSHB-TV Chiefs insider Nick Jacobs spends hours going over player profiles to see which players might be the best fit to land a roster spot on the Kansas City Chiefs. As the 2021 NFL Draft continues, here's Nick's 5th annual Chiefs "Best Fits" big board.
With the Kansas City Chiefs set at quarterback and running back, my 2021 best fits big board won't include those positions because they are luxury picks, both for this season and hopefully for the foreseeable future. My favorite players are in italics. The ranking and round prediction is where I believe they would be good value for the Chiefs.
READ: Nick Jacobs' 7-round Chiefs mock draft: Kansas City gets defensive
The rankings do not factor in medical reports or any potential interviews with coaches or the players themselves. It is purely based on their tape, characteristics that fit in the Chiefs scheme and overall athletic ability being utilized in the scheme.
For example, Mecole Hardman was selected by the Chiefs but didn't make my 2019 big board best fits because he had vertical speed but was a very green receiver that I expected to take three years to develop in the Chiefs scheme when they needed quicker impact in value.
Hardman has struggled in the scheme since his selection. If there's a player not on the list, they didn't fit in the categories listed above. It doesn't mean they can't play in the NFL. Their skill set or current level of development just likely can't achieve their ceiling in Kansas City during their rookie contract.
Favorite of the bunch: Jaylen Waddle, Alabama
Waddle is a burner at receiver. If the Chiefs needed a long term replacement for Tyreek Hill, he would be the guy. Waddle can take any play the distance and outrun every pursuit angle.
Under the radar: Dax Milne, BYU
Milne could have a very long career at the slot position. He sells his fakes well and has really good acceleration along with rare balance the helps him when defenders make contact.
Favorite of the bunch: Kyle Pitts, Florida
This is a no brainer. He is one of the better tight ends to come out since OJ Howard and George Kittle. Pitts is a mismatch for any linebacker or safety and rivals Travis Kelce in athletic ability.
Under the radar: Kylen Granson, SMU
Granson has good acceleration and can make defenders miss in open space. He has good yards-after-catch potential at all levels and can run through tackles.
Favorite of the bunch: Rashawn Slater, Northwestern
Slater is going to have a long career in the NFL. He is a smart technician with his hands, sets and angles. Slater is one of the better second level reach blockers in the draft. He has a strong grip and rarely gets beat on the edge. Slater's patience on his sets is what sets him apart.
Under the radar: Royce Newman, Mississippi
Newman has the strength and kick step needed to play right tackle in the league. When he is under control he stuns defenders well and can lock on with his grip. Newman picks up stunts well and widens the pocket for his quarterback. He just needs to make sure when he gets tired that he doesn't lean forward and allow the defender to yank him to the ground.
Favorite of the bunch: Trey Smith, Tennessee
He is a mountain of a man. Smith is an athletic road grader that can move defenders without a problem. He has a strong grip and a great punch to go with it. Smith has some of the best drive blocks in this draft class.
Under the radar: David Moore, Grambling
Moore has a good punch that stuns defenders when they rush at him. They get a jolt from his pop. Moore finishes defenders whether it is in pass pro or run blocking. He also has sneaky athleticism in space and buries defenders. Moore reaction time on stunts and blitzes is impressive.
Favorite of the bunch: Kendrick Green, Illinois
Green is a mauler of a center. He buries defenders once he gets them moved and locks in on them. Green has a quick reach step and gets to the second level at an impressive speed.
Favorite of the bunch: Kwitty Paye, Michigan
Paye is ready made as a run defender in the NFL. He has all the finer points down as a run defender with deciphering the backfield quickly and attacking the correct ball carrier. He understands how to shuffle down and blow up the block. Paye keeps linemen disengaged and then sheds them well to make the tackle. His challenge at the next level is working with a defensive line coach that can help him develop a pass rushing plan. Not just rush upfield and bend but set the tackle up and counter off of it. If he can master that he will be an elite defensive end.
Under the radar: Chris Rumph, Duke
Rumph is likely a pass rushing specialist. He will need to bulk up by 20 or 30 pounds to survive in the NFL. Rumph thrives on rushing at angles with twist and stutns. He has a super quick swim move and rip to go with it. Rumph is relentless till the whistle.
Favorite of the bunch: Khyiris Tonga, BYU
Tonga would be a good long term project at the one tech position. Derrick Nnadi's status will be up in the air after this season and drafting for his potential departure gives them a jump start. Tonga has fantastic size at 6'4", 320 pounds. His acceleration was better than expected as well as his lateral movement. He did well on games and stunts. Tonga is capable of being a serious problem with his bull rushes and rip moves.
Favorite of the bunch: Zaven Collins, Tulsa
Collins has a great combination of size and speed. His athletic ability and size reminded me so much of Derrick Johnson coming out of college at Texas. He fights through traffic and brings a physical presence on his tackles. Collins reads the quarterbacks eyes well and is also a good blitzer off the edge.
Favorite of the bunch: Asante Samuel Jr. , Florida State
Samuel is fearless and physical as a corner. He will take on guys twice his size in the run or pass game and lay them out. Samuel is a physical tackler and makes his presence felt on every play.
Under the radar: Bryce Thompson, Tennessee
Thompson is a physical corner. Just like Samuel he doesn't care the size of the receiver. He is going to come after the receiver with a physical press. He has great speed and acceleration.
Favorite of the bunch: Jamar Johnson, Indiana
He is one of the more athletic safeties in this draft. Johnson has the ideal range to play single high if needed. He is a good tackler, physical blitzer and great vision in the open field after a pick.
Under the radar: Brady Breeze, Oregon
He is a high energy safety that flies around the football field. He has better range than I anticipated and tracked the ball well. He is a solid athlete but isn't elite by any means. Breeze could find a career as a special teams leader and role playing safety in sub-packages.