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With the full knowledge of the 2021 NFL draft in tow, things would have played out much differently.
At least that’s the case in PFF’s recent 2021 NFL redraft scenario. The Kansas City Chiefs didn’t have a first-round pick in the 2021 NFL draft after trading it away to acquire Orlando Brown Jr. from the Baltimore Ravens. The team still masterfully managed to grab some key pieces during the course of the draft — pieces that would now be selected much higher than they were.
PFF’s Sam Monson believes that a trio of Chiefs players taken would now have landed in the first round. Those three players were selected by Kansas City between the second round and the sixth round of the 2021 NFL draft.
Here is a look at each of those three players and the new teams they end up with in PFF’s redraft scenario:
Pick No. 14: NEW YORK JETS (VIA SEA) - C CREED HUMPHREY
AP Photo/Kyusung Gong
The Jets originally selected Alijah Vera-Tucker with this pick. Humphrey was the top-performing interior offensive lineman to come out of the 2021 NFL draft. He played at an All-Pro level as a rookie, grading out as PFF’s top-graded center. He would be a mainstay on any offensive line in the league. Vera-Tucker on the other hand, he goes three picks later to the Las Vegas Raiders.
“The Jets would be happy enough with the rookie season they got from Vera-Tucker, but Humphrey played at an All-Pro level for the Chiefs in his first season. He allowed 10 pressures in 17 games and had a run-blocking grade of 92.5. The Jets would need a reshuffle along the offensive line but may well be better off for it long-term.” – PFF’s Sam Monson
Humphrey was selected by the Chiefs at Pick No. 63 overall in the second round of the draft.
Pick No. 16: ARIZONA CARDINALS - OG TREY SMITH
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
The Cardinals originally selected Zaven Collins with this pick, but they pivot to the offensive side of the ball, grabbing a 17-game starter in Smith. Had NFL teams known what they now know about his performance and health, Smith would have been a surefire first-round pick, even as an interior offensive lineman. It might not be long before he’s recognized as the best right guard in the league.
“Collins may well end up a fine player, but the Cardinals just didn’t play him much as a rookie, leaving him behind Jordan Hicks. Collins played just 220 snaps all season, and Arizona’s offensive line was still a major problem. Trey Smith slid to the sixth round over concerns about a medical condition, but he was arguably the best rookie guard all season. He would be a significant upgrade for Arizona, particularly in the run game.” – PFF’s Sam Monson
Smith was selected by the Chiefs at Pick No. 226 overall in the sixth round of the draft.
Pick No. 29: GREEN BAY PACKERS - LB NICK BOLTON
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The Packers originally selected CB Eric Stokes at this pick, but he was taken by the Tennessee Titans about seven picks earlier. As a result, the Packers pivot in the draft and grab Nick Bolton, who was a pleasant surprise in Kansas City as a rookie.
“A season ago, the idea of De’Vondre Campbell embarking upon an All-Pro season would have seemed insane. He was coming off back-to back seasons with an overall PFF grade around 50.0 for two different teams and had never graded above 68.3 for a season. The Packers could easily have grabbed a linebacker like Bolton — a tackling machine — and even with the improvement from Campbell would have had a very dynamic duo at that level of the defense. Bolton missed only eight of his 102 tackle attempts including the playoffs and was particularly effective against the run.” – PFF’s Sam Monson
Bolton was selected by the Chiefs at Pick No. 58 overall in the second round of the draft.