The 2020 NFL Draft is officially concluded, and the Kansas City Chiefs added several young, interesting rookies to the mix. While each rookie will have their chance to compete, some have a clearer path to stardom than others. Whether it’s need at the position, individual talent, or a combination of both, these are the Chiefs rookies that should be able to contribute right out of the gate.
Kansas City Chiefs Rookies: Potential 2020 Impact
Day One Starters
Willie Gay, LB
When factoring in positional value, Willie Gay will probably make the biggest impact in the 2020 season. The Kansas City Chiefs need as much coverage help as they can get, and Gay is one of the best coverage linebackers coming out of the draft. He can play sideline-to-sideline, match up with tight ends and running backs, and has the instincts required to thrive in zone coverage. If he can keep his head out of trouble, he should be a strong starter for the duration of his Kansas City career.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB
While one could definitely argue the merits of taking a running back in the first round, nobody can deny that Clyde Edwards-Helaire is a talented back that should thrive in this offense. Blessed with a three-down skill set, Edwards-Helaire should be able to successfully serve in the Kareem Hunt role for the 2020 Kansas City Chiefs. Head coach Andy Reid said that Damien Williams will be the starter, but I’d be surprised if Edwards-Helaire doesn’t win the job by the start of the season.
Lucas Niang, OT
Offensive tackle Lucas Niang probably won’t be ready to win a starting job as a rookie, but he is an interesting prospect that should develop into a starting-caliber tackle with time. He’s already great in the run game, but could use a season or two on the bench to iron out his flaws in pass protection. He’s never going to be as good as Mitchell Schwartz, but he could be the heir to Eric Fisher if everything breaks right.
L’Jarius Sneed was a safety in college, but he’ll probably have to transition to cornerback in order to survive in the NFL. While he leaves something to be desired in the run game, he has NFL speed and reflexes, meaning he could develop into a decent slot cornerback in time. Kansas City’s zone-heavy defense could be a match made in heaven, but he’s one or two years away from being ready to be a full-time starter.
Outside Looking In
Michael Danna, EDGE
Bopete Keyes, Cornerback
Edge defender Michael Danna and cornerback Bopete Keyes are longshots to even make the team, much less contribute in any noteworthy fashion. As late-round prospects, both Danna and Keyes have a long way to go before they’re ready to see extended action on the NFL stage. Keyes probably has the easier path to playing time, as Kansas City is pretty weak at cornerback. From a build standpoint, Keyes’ long arms and sturdy frame should translate to the NFL. However, he’s not that quick, has poor footwork, and struggles to recover when beat.
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