The folks at ESPN put together a "re-draft" of the 2021 class last week, and based on its results, it's clear that the Kansas City Chiefs acquired some absolute steals.
The exercise, which ran through the first two rounds of last year’s draft, re-selected each pick based on what we saw performance-wise this past season. Some selections remained the same – such as the first three overall picks – but several did not. In fact, three of the Chiefs' eventual selections weren't even on the board when Kansas City made its first pick at No. 58 overall this time around.
The first to go was center Creed Humphrey, who went to the Chicago Bears at No. 20 overall in the re-draft. Humphrey – the No. 63 overall selection last year – earned not only the top Pro Football Focus grade of any center in the NFL last season, but of any center since 2017. Additionally, regardless of position, PFF graded Humphrey as the fourth-best offensive lineman in the league last season. PFF's metrics ranked Humphrey as the top rookie in the NFL in 2021, and remarkably, the Chiefs grabbed him in the second round.
Next up was offensive guard Trey Smith at No. 34, which was 192 selections ahead of where Kansas City selected him at pick No. 226 last year. Smith was one of the top guards in all of football as a rookie, lining up at right guard for 100 percent of the Chiefs' offensive snaps. PFF ranked him as the 12th best guard in the league last season among players with at least 1,000 snaps, and when compared to other rookies, only Humphrey and first-round picks Rashawn Slater and Penei Sewell earned a better grade.
The final member of the Chiefs' rookie class to appear in the re-draft was linebacker Nick Bolton, who ESPN sent to Dallas at pick No. 44. Bolton was outstanding in 2021, racking up the most tackles (112) for any rookie in franchise history. He was one of only three players last season to record at least 110 tackles and 10 tackles-for-loss, becoming just the ninth rookie to hit each of those marks since 2000.
Things are always crystal clear in hindsight, but considering that the Chiefs selected each of these guys – three players in the top 50 of this re-draft – without picking until No. 58 overall is nothing short of remarkable.