Andy Reid has been the head coach for nine of those seasons after Romeo Crennel led the franchise to a two-win campaign in 2012. From that point on, the Chiefs have not finished worse than second in the AFC West and a recent NFL ranking explains a major reason why that is.
On April 22, ESPN published an analytical breakdown measuring the NFL draft success of all 32 teams. The Chiefs finished second in this ranking, and it’s easy to see a correlation between their April selections and their win percentage.
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Chiefs Breakdown From ESPN
First off, to briefly explain how this metric was measured, I will quote ESPN. They explained: “To evaluate the players taken in each of the past 10 NFL drafts (2012-2021), we used Approximate Value (AV) — Pro Football Reference’s method of measuring the performance of every NFL player. We took each player’s career AV and measured it against a value based on where that player was taken in the NFL draft — we’re calling it Career Approximate Value Over Expected (CAVOE).”
ESPN noted that they ranked based on the combined 10-year CAVOE score of each organization and that “seven of the top eight teams in our ranking also had one of the eight best records over the last decade” — so the data is relatively accurate in determining NFL success.
Kansas City’s second-place CAVOE score was a +165.6. The only franchise with a higher mark was the Seattle Seahawks at +176.6. For reference, the New York Jets finished last with a CAVOE of -304.9.
Chiefs ESPN beat reporter Adam Teicher named 2017 the best draft of the past decade — because it landed Patrick Mahomes (+38.8 CAVOE). He wrote:
This draft produced only one player with a lasting impact for the Chiefs but that one player transformed the franchise. The Chiefs traded up with the Buffalo Bills to the 10th spot in the first round to draft quarterback Patrick Mahomes, and the Chiefs haven’t been the same since.
A fair reason, but 2017 actually ranked third over the past decade in CAVOE behind 2015 and 2016. The top players in those drafts were cornerback Marcus Peters (+18.7) and wide receiver Tyreek Hill (+61.2). Due to his fifth-round value, no KC draft pick was valued higher than Hill since 2012 — although Travis Kelce is close at a (+59.4) in 2013.
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Reid Is the Common Denominator
It should come as no surprise that the worst draft over the past decade was in 2012 (-42.8), according to this study. That was the only offseason Coach Reid was not involved in.
Since taking charge, Big Red has only given Chiefs Kingdom one negative draft in terms of CAVOE, the 2018 class headlined by second-rounder Breeland Speaks. That year produced a -18.5 total and Speaks accounts for a -12.5 on his own. The lone bright spot from this group was defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi.
Looking at this breakdown though, Reid’s consistency has been the real model of efficiency. Most drafts have provided the organization with at least one or two key contributors long-term and 2021 has shown strong signs of another positive score.
Both second-rounders — linebacker Nick Bolton and center Creed Humphrey — look like slam dunks and right guard Trey Smith may end up earning the best CAVOE mark of all, being that he was a sixth-round selection.
So long as Reid and his staff are in the war room, it’s safe to say that the Chiefs should be in pretty good shape long-term. The legendary coach can build on this legacy in 2022, his 10th draft with the organization.