Studs or Duds: Looking Back at the Chiefs' 2018 Draft Picks

The Kansas City Chiefs and general manager Brett Veach are looking to strike gold in the 2021 NFL Draft this April, but how has Veach done in his previous drafts? This series will dive into each draft since Veach has taken over as GM of the Chiefs.
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Kansas City Chiefs general manager Brett Veach has been given the opportunity to select three draft classes worth of players. Trying to scout talent and bring the right players into the mix to try and bolster the 53-man roster can be a tricky task. There will almost always be more swings and misses than home runs hit in the draft. That’s just the nature of the beast.

With the 2021 NFL draft quickly approaching, we'll take a look at how the Chiefs' draft classes have worked out over the last three years. This week, I’ll be diving into Veach’s first class of players from the 2018 NFL Draft.

Round 1: No Pick, traded for Patrick Mahomes in 2017

It’s well-known by now that Brett Veach was the one who pounded the table to trade up to select then-Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes. He discussed the pick with Andy Reid and then-general manager John Dorsey about how this was the best quarterback prospect he’d ever scouted. The stories go on and on, but Veach didn’t have a round-one pick because of that trade. Not one person is upset the Chiefs didn’t have a first-round pick in 2018.

Round 2: Breeland Speaks, DE, Ole Miss

This pick was a dud. Unfortunately for Veach, this selection just didn’t work for a variety of reasons. If it wasn’t the weight gain or the suspensions, then changing defensive coordinators effectively ended Speaks’ run in Kansas City and now he is out of the organization and on the fringes of the league with an uncertain future.

Round 3: Derrick Nnadi, DT, Florida State

This pick was a stud. Nnadi has been a contributor on a successful Chiefs team and defense that has been overhauled over the past couple of seasons. He has made the cut, and Veach should be proud of this pick.

Round 3: Dorian O’Daniel, LB, Clemson

This pick has been a dud thus far. Will 2021 be the year that O'Daniel turns his profile from dud to stud? Only time will tell. Many thought O'Daniel would be a good option for the Chiefs on passing downs as a guy who could cover tight ends and running backs, and this has been a position of need throughout DOD’s tenure in KC. We’re still waiting for that production and 2021 will be his last chance to impress.

Round 4: Armani Watts, Safety, Texas A&M

Stud. Watts has been hit and miss for the Chiefs in the secondary, but he’s mostly been used as a depth piece, which is what you typically expect from fourth-round picks. That is why I put him in the stud category. He will never be a Pro Bowl-caliber talent, but he contributes when called upon, and that’s all you can ask for from some of these later-round draft picks.

Round 5: No Pick

Round 6: Tremon Smith, CB, Central Arkansas

Dud. Smith was a solid special teams player for a little bit before disappearing. The Chiefs rarely used him at cornerback and even tried to turn him into a running back towards the end of his time in Kansas City. It was a strange turn of events for Smith.

Round 6: Kahlil McKenzie, DT/OG, Tennessee

Dud. McKenzie was a defensive tackle who the Chiefs were convinced could be turned into an offensive lineman. This experiment did not work. Not even close. He never played a game in a Chiefs uniform.

The Takeaway

Now that we can take a step back and look at Brett Veach’s first draft class with more clarity, it is pretty easy to see that this was not a good class. There were no stars drafted by KC and there were a couple of good depth contributors. The 2018 draft will likely be the only time Veach ever takes an entire class full of defensive players. Live and learn. Will Veach be able to turn things around with his second draft class? It was a rough start for Veach out of the gates, but one draft class will not make or break a legacy.

Next week we’ll dive into the 2019 draft class. 

Read More: Kansas City Chiefs 2021 NFL Draft Guide: 100 Players in 100 Days