KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City Chiefs didn’t have a first-round draft pick in 2018 and it showed in the limited contributions they received from their rookie class.
Grade: Below average
Best rookie: Nose tackle Derrick Nnadi took over as the starter early in the season. A third-round pick from Florida State, Nnadi accounted for 11 of the 17 starts made by the Chiefs’ draft class. Playing mostly in running situations, Nnadi was in on 35 tackles. The next step for him is to improve as a pass-rusher.
Most improved rookie: Linebacker Dorian O’Daniel played mainly on special teams early in the season but earned playing time in passing situations as the season progressed. O’Daniel, a third-round pick from Clemson, showed the ability to cover running backs out of the backfield that the Chiefs had lacked earlier in the year.
Jury is still out on . . . Outside linebacker Breeland Speaks, a second-round pick from Mississippi, was the Chiefs’ top choice. He started four games when Justin Houston was out with an injury in the middle of the season but saw his playing time decrease after that. The Chiefs were unable to provide him much playing time with Houston and Dee Ford ahead of him on the depth chart. Speaks held up well against the run but needs to add more pass-rush moves.
Undrafted rookie evaluation: Cornerback Charvarius Ward showed promise late in the season when the Chiefs gave him some playing time. Ward signed with the Cowboys after the draft and was traded to the Chiefs shortly before the start of the season. Running back Darrel Williams also earned some late-season playing time and could be part of the playing rotation next season.