The Kansas City Chiefs had two selections on the second night of the 2021 NFL Draft. General manager Brett Veach and the front office decided to stay put rather than making a trade and made their selections at No. 58 and 63. Their picks weren't flashy, but Kansas City got better on Friday.
Round 2, Pick No. 58: Nick Bolton - LB, Missouri
At pick No. 58, the Chiefs selected linebacker Nick Bolton from the University of Missouri. A lot of Mizzou fans reside in Chiefs Kingdom so that pick will make a lot of people happy.
It also made some Chiefs fans a little bit uneasy. There were a handful of wide receivers and edge rushers sitting there that would have excited the fanbase. Picking a linebacker seemed like a “best player available” selection from Veach while also filling depth at a position of need.
It will be interesting to see how the Chiefs utilize Bolton in his first year. He certainly has the knowledge and athleticism to play whatever linebacker spot defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo needs.
Bolton played the MIKE linebacker position in college. That position is currently filled on the roster by team captain Anthony Hitchens. Willie Gay Jr. is expected to be a starter heading into 2021 as well, possibly at the SAM linebacker spot. Bolton could start out at WILL but has the versatility to play any of the roles. The Bolton selection also leads to the conclusion that Ben Niemann should get less playing time going forward.
Bolton was a player that some were projecting as a late first or early second-round selection. He isn’t a flashy pick but the Chiefs got younger and more athletic at a weak spot on their roster. The Chiefs are hoping he makes a big impact from day one while understanding he has time to grow and become a defensive captain in the future.
Round 2, Pick No. 63: Creed Humphrey - C, Oklahoma
At pick No. 63, the Chiefs selected center Creed Humphrey from Oklahoma. The offensive line rebuild is complete after this pick and quarterback Patrick Mahomes couldn’t be happier with the selection.
Veach has been able to re-tool the entire offensive line in just under two months. Even though he brought in center Austin Blythe on a one-year deal, it didn’t feel like the final move at that position. The Humphrey selection shows the Chiefs wanted to make a long-term investment at center and he is the kind of player that should compete with Blythe for a starting job.
Humphrey was a three-year starter at Oklahoma. According to Pro Football Focus, he didn't allow a sack in 39 career games. That’s 1,230 snaps at the position. That'll play. His athletic testing was also off-the-charts, as he posted the highest Relative Athletic Score of any center dating back to 1987.
After seeing what happened at the end of the 2020 season, Veach wanted to make sure Mahomes is going to be taken care of going forward. As a Chiefs fan, you can’t be upset with that logic.
A new starting offensive line projection featuring Orlando Brown Jr., Joe Thuney, Creed Humphrey, Kyle Long and Lucas Niang seems like a step in the right direction. There is now depth up and down the line as well when you include Mike Remmers, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, Blythe, Nick Allegretti and Andrew Wylie. Who knows, maybe the Chiefs will kick the tires on old friend Mitchell Schwartz as the season gets closer as well.
The first two days of the draft have come and gone. The Chiefs loaded up with safe, not flashy picks. Left tackle Orlando Brown Jr. was added with the first-round pick. Linebacker Nick Bolton and center Creed Humphrey were added at the end of the second round.
These are the type of moves that don’t get the fanbase overly excited but should set up the franchise with players that can be meaningful starters for the next five-to-10 years. That’s how a team can build around their franchise QB to keep the Super Bowl window open as long as possible. That’s what should keep Chiefs Kingdom excited.