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10 Takeaways from the Kansas City Chiefs’ 2017 NFL Draft

Posted Apr 30, 2017

Here’s what you need to know about this year’s draft class

As we sit here in the days after the 2017 NFL Draft has concluded, there’s no hesitancy in saying the Kansas City Chiefs are a better football team than they were a week ago at this time.

In fairness, that seems to be the same sentiment for every team in the NFL right now.

Everybody brought new talent to their roster, and the NFL Draft sells hope like nothing else in professional sports.

It’s the time of the year when bad teams get better, average teams take a step forward, and good teams hope to get over the hump.

Between the coverage on NFL Network and ESPN, there were more than 10 million viewers tuned in on Thursday night to see how their favorite team was going to get better.

The Chiefs began the draft with 10 picks and ultimately added six new players to their roster, and the early returns on those selections are pretty good from those who get paid to have an opinion on such things.

While praise of the class in the days that follow the draft of little consequence to Chiefs’ general manager John Dorsey, the fact is he did add plenty of talent to the roster.

Here’s a look at the Chiefs’ 2017 Draft Class (click on the players name to learn more about them):

1st round – Pick No. 10 - QB Patrick Mahomes II – Texas Tech

2nd round – Pick No. 59 - DE Tanoh Kpassagnon - Villanova

3rd round – Pick No. 86 - RB Kareem Hunt - Toledo

4th round – Pick No. 139 - WR Jehu Chesson - Michigan

5th round – Pick No. 183 - ILB Ukeme Eligwe – Georgia Southern

6th round – Pick No. 218 - CB Leon McQuay III - USC

Overall, there were 253 players drafted over the course of the three-day event, and each of them is seen by the most optimistic of fans as the remedy for what they believe ails their favorite team.

For coaching staffs, the players are talented molds of clay who need to be pushed, developed and taught the right techniques and skills to take the next step in their careers.

While the true value and success of these classes won’t be known for a few years, that doesn’t stop fans from watching all the YouTube highlights of the players and forming their own opinion once they hear a name called.

This is fandom—the constant belief that next year is the year and every player will hit their ceiling.

With a general manager who has selected All-Pros in three of his four drafts in Kansas City (Travis Kelce, Marcus Peters and Tyreek Hill), there’s reason to feel good about the possibility of these players hitting their ceilings and contributing sooner rather than later.

Here are 10 takeaways from the Chiefs’ 2017 draft:

1. John Dorsey wasn’t messing around

Before this year, Dorsey had traded up just two times in his four drafts, but he found himself trading up for three of the six players drafted this year.

With a deep and talented roster already, there were questions about whether or not this roster could handle an additional 10 players. Dorsey simply went out and made moves to get the players he really wanted.

Everything got started Thursday night when Dorsey pulled the trigger on trading up 17 spots in the first round for the Texas Tech gunslinger, quarterback Patrick Mahomes II.

Five Things to Know About Mahomes | Breaking Down the Decision to Draft Mahomes

Dorsey then ended up trading up for players on Friday and Saturday as well, taking Toledo running back Kareem Hunt in the third round on Friday and then moving up for Michigan receiver Jehu Chesson in the fourth round on Saturday.

Furthermore, all three players Dorsey traded up for this year were offensive skill position players—a quarterback, running back and receiver.

Dorsey had said before the draft began that he “liked having a lot of picks because you can do a lot of things with a lot of picks.”

Well, he showed us what that meant, and he wasn’t messing around.

2. Patrick Mahomes II is every bit the gunslinger he’s portrayed, and he’s always been that way

3. The Chiefs finally got their first-round quarterback

Above all else, the 2017 draft will always be remembered by fans as the year the Chiefs made a big move for a quarterback in the first round.

They no longer have to hear as much about Todd Blackledge and the 1983 NFL Draft.

The Chiefs targeted a player they wanted, and they went and got him.

It was the first-time coach Andy Reid has been a part of a staff that selected a quarterback in the first round since Donovan McNabb (No. 2 overall) with the Eagles in the 1999 NFL Draft. The last time Dorsey was a part of a staff that took a quarterback in the first round was the Green Bay Packers’ and Aaron Rodgers in 2005.

That’s pretty good company for Mahomes.

4. A pronunciation guide is required for this class

Voice of the Chiefs Mitch Holthus will need to be on his game this year as a few of the names in this class are tricky to pronounce.

So, here’s a guide:

2nd round – DL Tanoh Kpassagnon, Villanova, “Tawn-o | Pass-N-yo”

4th round – WR Jehu Chesson, Michigan, “JAY-YOU | CHESS-uhn”

6th round – LB Ukeme Eligwe, Georgia Southern, “Ew-KIM-ay | ee-LEEG-way“

5. Tanoh Kpassagnon hasn’t missed a lot of weight-training sessions in his life

According to Sports Illustrated, the 6-foot-7, 280-pound Kpassagnon displayed proof of his lack of not working out at the Senior Bowl earlier this offseason.

“Kpassagnon has just 4 percent body fat, and his abs appear to have abs,” SI reporter Pete Thamel wrote. “So, when he appeared before the masses, multiple NFL personnel men reported an audible gasp amid the crowd.”

Check out this video from the Senior Bowl as Kpassagnon took a rep against Forrest Lamp, who was selected with the No. 38 overall pick by the Los Angeles Chargers.

6. The Chiefs went after guys with special athletic and physical traits

Patrick Mahomes II can throw a football 80 yards. He proved that in an online video.

Tanoh Kpassagnon is 6-feet-6, 289 pounds and has just four percent body fat.

Eligwe ran a 4.58 40-yard dash at 6-feet-2 and 239 pounds. That would have tied him for the second-fastest time at the combine among linebackers.

7. Kareem Hunt’s production is eye-popping

The Chiefs traded up with the Minnesota Vikings to take Hunt, who became Toledo’s all-time leading rusher last year after putting up another phenomenal season.

Overall, Hunt had 4,945 yards rushing with 44 touchdowns in his career. He had 28 career games of at least 100 yards, which was also a school record.

Over the course of his four-year career, Hunt has averaged an impressive 6.3 yards per rush, while also showing off an ability to be a factor in the passing game as a senior—racking up 41 receptions for 403 yards and a touchdown, averaging almost 10 yards per reception.

8. Ukeme Eligwe is going to follow around Derrick Johnson

The Chiefs selected Georgia Southern linebacker Ukeme Eligwe in the sixth round. He’s projected to play the WILL linebacker spot, which is currently held by the franchise’s all-time leading tackler, Derrick Johnson.

The opportunity to learn from one of the best in the game in Johnson isn’t lost upon Eligwe.

“It’s a blessing, honestly,” Eligwe explained. “Going into an organization with linebackers who have been in the league for countless years and who hold records and are of that status, all you can do is go in and be humble, learn from them, keep your mouth shut and ears open and write it all down.

“Right now, I have my notepad ready to receive any words [Johnson] is speaking, and learning how to get better each and every day.”

For more on that, click here.

9. The Chiefs' fourth-round pick has a unique story

The newest Chiefs' wide receiver, Michigan’s Jehu Chesson, has a story and path that’s similar to veteran outside linebacker Tamba Hali.

Chesson, like Hali, was born in the war-torn county of Liberia.

And also like Hali, Chesson’s father moved to the United States before the rest of his family with the hopes of creating a better life for them. 

Chesson Sr. moved to the United States when his son was just 1 year old, and Chesson’s mother would later move to the United States before her son as well. At the time, Jehu was living with his grandmother on the Ivory Coast, where they had moved to escape the Civil War that took more than 200,000 lives in Liberia.

“It takes a village to raise somebody, and they’re a key part in my success growing up,” Jehu explained. “I thank God for everything, and I thank my family because without my old man coming over and setting the base for my family and me to build upon – we really wouldn’t have had the opportunity.

“I’m very grateful for all of them, and the rest is history because a lot of people get provided opportunity, but you lead your horse to water, but it’s up to them to drink it.”

For more on this story, click here.

10. The work isn’t done yet

As much as is made of the selections made during the draft, there are a dozen or so players signed in the hours after the draft has concluded as undrafted free agents that can make a huge impact as well.

Look no further than the Chiefs current roster, which consists of several players who were initially signed as undrafted free agents.

Running back Charcandrick West, safety Daniel Sorensen and kicker Cairo Santos were all signed after the 2014 NFL Draft. West and Sorensen signed multi-year contract extensions with the Chiefs over the past year.

The Chiefs also signed linebacker Justin March-Lillard after the 2015 NFL Draft, and he earned the starting inside linebacker start next to Derrick Johnson last year before he was injured and missed the majority of the season.

Last year, linebacker Terrance Smith was signed as an undrafted free agent, and he got some time on the field as well.

The Chiefs will formally announce all of those signings for this year before rookie minicamp begins Saturday afternoon.