Chiefs Draftmas: a volleyball-playing tight end and a project on defensive line

Chiefs Draftmas: a volleyball-playing tight end and a project on defensive line

Chiefs Draftmas List

EDGE Dorance Armstrong, Kansas | EDGE Hercules Mata’afa, Washington State | Guard Isaiah Wynn, Georgia | Safety Kyzir White, West Virginia | WR D.J. Moore, Maryland | S Jessie Bates III, Wake Forest | Jaire Alexander, Louisville | Tarvarus McFadden, Florida State

What a week it’s been. Friday, we launched the AP Chiefs Draft Show. On Saturday, my co-host and I headed to Indianapolis for the weekend to watch the defensive line and linebacker groups at the NFL Combine. It was well worth the trip. We were able to get an in-person view of the front-seven class and came away with some good intel.

I feel good about my grade on Jessie Bates after hearing a few things this weekend. Bates’ performance at the combine only enhanced that. I would not be surprised to see him selected in the top 75 when it’s all said and done.

As we mentioned on the podcast this week, Bates being a sophomore and a somewhat surprising early entry into the 2018 draft likely will cause him to receive the “late riser” tag in the coming weeks.

We’ll have a couple interesting nuggets from around the league on this week’s podcast. Also, with combine results coming in, some grades have been adjusted. Athletic metrics play a role in our final grades, and a few prospects on the Draftmas List have been altered. Don’t worry, they’re all still staying. Their value has been tweaked, however.

The Draftmas List welcomes a player who helped himself this week and one who didn’t.

6’ 5” 247, Penn State

Projected Draft Range: secibd round

Games watched: Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State

Prospect grade (out of 100): 81.9

I would take him in the: second

One sentence bio: Former volleyball player who posted a 99.3 percentile SPARQ score at the combine for the tight end position.

One sentence scouting report: Athletic, dynamic weapon with huge catch radius that blocks like a kicker.

One play:

Why he fits in KC: Gesicki has been ready to be added to the Draftmas List for a long time. I wish I would have added him earlier. He’s borderline unrealistic after as strong of a combine performance as you can have.

Gesicki possesses a remarkable catch radius. As a former volleyball player, he was able to translate his jumping ability to the football field. Not only can he jump out of the stadium, he is as smooth of a route runner as you will see at the tight end position. He looks like he’s floating at times with his incredibly long strides. He can be sudden when accelerating, especially starting with a throttled down release off the line of scrimmage.

Simply put, he would the perfect kind of offensive weapon to pair with Patrick Mahomes.

Gesicki’s biggest weakness is glaring: he’s a bad blocker. While he should be able to develop that ability and showed growth during the Senior Bowl, Gesicki still has a long way to go for consistency.

It doesn’t matter though. Gesicki would be an excellent addition to the Chiefs offense. He would help the Chiefs create yet another mismatch and force difficult personnel decisions. Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill already have the ability to do a variety of things.

The Chiefs could create even more blurred lines with their skill groups by adding a player like Gesicki. Imagine putting Gesicki on the field with Kelce, Hill, Chris Conley and a pass-catching running back. Teams would have to decide if they should play base defense or lighter personnel. The Chiefs could exploit a decision either way. Having big receivers like Gesicki, Kelce and Conley combined with a threat like Hill would help Mahomes and his development.

I was hoping Gesicki might be available in the third round. That now seems unlikely. Gesicki has elevated himself to the early second-round discussion.

I know some would be disappointed to see the Chiefs invest in the offensive side of the football with their first pick in the draft. I disagree. If there’s a value like Gesicki, the Chiefs should strongly consider it. It would make sense to continue to support your young signal caller with traits that are able to complement his unique ability.

6’ 3” 329, Virginia Tech

Projected Draft Range: third or fourth round

Games watched: Clemson, Miami, Pittsburgh

Prospect grade (out of 100): 80.1

I would take him in the: late second round, early third round

One sentence bio: 20-year-old early entry into the NFL Draft.

One sentence scouting report: A strong, agile and flexible interior defensive line project.

One play:

Why he fits in KC: Put on Tim Settle tape and you won’t see an athlete who tested this weekend in the second percentile for defensive linemen. While he may not have performed well, Settle shows plenty of athleticism and potential.

Settle was asked to do a variety of things, and performed admirably. He played in several different alignments and showed the ability to play multiple roles.

He can disrupt in the run and pass game as a one gap player. He showed the ability to two-gap. He’s stout at the point of attack.

Settle is also very young. He’ll be 20 years old on draft day. There’s a lot of upside to him as a player. He’s disruptive and moves better than his athletic testing tells you. His best days as a player are ahead of him.

That’s both a blessing and a curse. Settle is inconsistent. He needs to continue to work to develop all facets of his game. He needs to be better against double teams and at playing with discipline. He would benefit from time spent in an NFL strength program to re-work his body. There’s plenty of room for growth, and that’s a great thing.

Settle is a project, but a project that could still contribute early. There’s a lot of potential with his age and ability to become a very good interior lineman. I would be comfortable with Settle in the second round and thrilled to see him sitting there in round three. I would be glad to #SettleforSettle.

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Published at Wed, 07 Mar 2018 19:00:02 +0000