The Kansas City Chiefs draft class has been a mixed bag so far. General manager Brett Veach has had some major hits but he’s also had a couple of misses.
Fifth-round wide receiver Cornell Powell was released during the roster cutdown and fourth-round Joshua Kaindoh has barely played due to injury. Then you have tight end Noah Gray, who’s currently buried on the depth chart, and second-round linebacker Nick Bolton who’s been adjusting as he goes.
The two outright studs have been offensive linemen Creed Humphrey and Trey Smith. Both rookies have developed into reliable starters just five weeks into their NFL careers and not only that, one just swiped the throne for top-graded NFL player at his position according to Pro Football Focus.
ALL the latest Chiefs news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Chiefs newsletter here!
Creed Is King
Make way, make way, there’s a new king of NFL centers and his name is Creed Humphrey. At least for the moment, the rookie out of Oklahoma has claimed the top spot in the eyes of PFF.
Veach totally nailed this pick at number 63 of the second round. Humphrey currently holds an 87.1 grade as a rookie! — which is no easy feat believe me. Diving deeper, the first-year blocker has proven to be an absolute mauler in the run game, with 91.7 marks in that regard (second in the NFL). For those that aren’t familiar with the grading site, those numbers are elite.
His pass blocking has been more of a weakness, if you can even call it that. Humphrey owns a 69.0 pass protection grade with one sack allowed off two quarterback pressures. He’s also been flagged for two penalties. His record was actually pretty flawless on this side of the spectrum too during the month of September, allowing zero pressures through his first three starts.
In case all that isn’t good enough for you, the center is currently the top-graded rookie on PFF through the first five games — period. In a re-draft scenario, all of this would make Humphrey a clear first-round talent that Kansas City was able to snag during the second half of round two.
For a Chiefs offensive line that has undergone a massive overhaul in 2021, you couldn’t ask for more of a stabilizing presence from the rookie alongside big-money free agent Joe Thuney.
Follow the Heavy on Chiefs Facebook page, where you can weigh in on all the latest KC-related daily content, analysis, features and more!
Upcoming Schedule Provides Tough Test for Humphrey
Kansas City has already matched up against a few ferocious pass-rushers this season, including Joey Bosa, Myles Garrett, Javon Hargrave and rookie Gregory Rousseau among others. Outside of the Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle, however, these are all edge rushers.
That’s not meant to disparage the job Humphrey’s done so far but he will face a couple of challenging interior defensive linemen over the next few weeks. Washington Football Team has a D-line stacked with former first-round talent and Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne are the major names up the gut. The pair has four sacks combined and Allen has accounted for three of them.
The Tennesse Titans are next on the schedule and although they definitely aren’t known for their defense, one of their best players on that side of the ball is easily defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons. The 2019 first-round pick has 1.5 sacks on the year so far.
Even the New York Giants defense (three weeks down the line) is strongest in the trenches. Austin Johnson has three sacks in 2021, but the household names are Leonard Williams, Dexter Lawrence and Danny Shelton. That’s a lot of beef up front for Humphrey and company to deal with.
No matter who he’s up against, the Oklahoma product should be considered a force in his own right with the way he’s playing right now. If he continues on this trajectory, there’s no telling how strong of a draft pick this could end up being for this administration long-term.