Chiefs 2015 Draft Class Leading NFL in Production

Here's one area in which the Chiefs drafted rookies stand above all others

Through Week 6 of the NFL season, the Kansas City Chiefs lead the NFL in snaps played among their 2015 drafted rookies with 1,610.

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*(Numbers charted via NFL's Official League Stats) *

Snaps equal production. That's the first thing to understand about these numbers.

Last week against the Minnesota Vikings, the Chiefs got snaps from eight of the nine draft picks. With the recent playing time for their third-round pick, cornerback Steven Nelson, and the NFL debut of sixth-round pick Rakeem Nunez-Roches, the Chiefs are seeing production from the majority of their class.

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DB Steven Nelson

Only two NFL teams, the San Diego Chargers and Carolina Panthers (each had five draft picks), have at least one snap from every one of their picks from this year's class.

Because each NFL team may have a different number of draft picks, the average number of snaps per draft pick puts the Chiefs at No. 2 in the NFL at 179 per pick, just behind the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 204.

Simply put, the Chiefs are getting more production right now than other NFL teams out of the guys they invested in last spring.

"They're doing well," Chiefs coach Andy Reid said of this draft class. "They're learning as they go. There are going to be some hiccups in there. You hope it's not right at crucial times, but there are going to be a few hiccups.

"The only way you get over those is by having opportunities and playing. That's what we've got. They're doing a good job. The effort is good there."

Photos of the Chiefs 2015 Draft class.

While every NFL team is different and the reasons behind each team's decision on whether or not to play their drafted rookies varies, these are simply the facts—the stats.

The Chiefs are getting young players on the field more often than any other NFL team.

There were 256 players selected in the 2015 NFL draft and they have played a total of 26,563 snaps through Week 6.

The average is 830 snaps per team by drafted rookies with the median at 880.

Therefore, the Chiefs, at 1,610, are considerably higher than the NFL average.

"It's probably is a little unique," Reid explained. "(General manager) John [Dorsey] and his staff have done a good job bringing guys in that we can put in that position.

"These are plus things."

Here's a look at some of the other teams and their respective snap counts among 2015 drafted players:

Snap Counts Amoung 2015 Drafted Players

Rank

Team

Snaps

1

KC

1610

2

TB

1433

3

NO

1355

4

WAS

1331

5

BAL

1069

28

DEN

466

29

DAL

400

30

MIA

378

31

SEA

348

32

PIT

334

Again, there are plenty of reasons for these how these numbers fluctuate between teams—injuries, positional depth on their respective teams, not to mention other various factors that affect the individual teams' numbers, but there's no denying that the Chiefs have sent more first-year drafted players between the white lines than any other team.

Some teams have also had byes, which obviously affect these numbers as well, but they'll be tracked all season and updates will be made and posted at the end of the season as well.

The third-round pick out of Georgia, receiver Chris Conley, believes the early production from this class is due to a couple of things: the first is he and his fellow rookies having the mental acuity to pick up the NFL game and the different schemes and responsibilities they're given. The second is the competition they had among one another from the moment they first arrived in Kansas City.

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WR Chris Conley

"We were able to challenge each other and push each other," he explained. "Those first rookie days we had and those practices, a lot of people used those to learn. But I think we shifted quickly from just learning the things to do to starting to compete with each other.

"That, in and of itself, was a cool experience just to see the kind of talent that we had here and see that we could already start putting some of the pieces together and start moving forward."

Conley, who has seen a dramatic increase in playing time since Week 3, believes in what this rookie class has to offer, both from a physical and talent perspective and the type of football character they bring to work every day. 

"Every single one of them are just as smart on the field as they are off the field," Conley said of this class. "They were all successful and applied themselves in college. They just transfer all of that time and that energy and just put it right into Kansas City football and I think this is one of the results of putting that time and effort in."

While obviously these numbers don't equal wins, which is the bottom line, the fact that so many young players are getting so much action on the field compared to other teams sets up well for this team moving forward.

There's no substitute for NFL experience.

Ramik Wilson, who stepped in and led the team with 9 tackles last week against Adrian Peterson and a Vikings offense that struggled to run the football, said there's a special bond among this year's draft class.

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LB Ramik Wilson

"We've all been here for a while, since May, all of us," Wilson said. "We all rode in a van together for 7 a.m. workouts. We have that bond as a rookie class. We're real tight. We just learning from the older guys.

"We're feeding off of them and showing them that even though we're rookies and we're young, we still can make plays and help."

One of the guys who has been making plays for the Chiefs as a rookie is first-round pick Marcus Peters, who has already grabbed 3 interceptions and leads this group with 411 snaps played.


Here are a few more interesting notes from the information provided by charting every snap from every drafted rookie:

  • Five NFL teams have not had one snap played from their first-round pick (AZ, BAL, CHI, CIN, JAX)
  • Two teams (SD, CAR) have had at least one snap played from every draft pick, while four teams have had all but one drafted player get at least one snap (KC, NYG, CHI, DET)
  • Two teams (BAL, WAS) have FIVE players with at least 130-plus snaps, and ONE team has SIX players with 130-plus snaps—the Chiefs!
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