Mahomes famously went 10th overall in the 2017 draft and, after spending his rookie year on the bench, became one of the NFL’s top starting quarterbacks. The future NFL MVP was one of six players who joined Kansas City through the draft that spring.
A good rule of thumb is to re-evaluate draft classes after five years. With that said, now feels like a perfect time to re-evaluate the Chiefs’ six-man 2017 draft class.
For this list, players were graded on how they performed with the Chiefs. We factored in on-field performance, off-field issues, where the player was drafted, and how long they stuck with the franchise. Because we feel so much of a player’s success is dependent on the scheme and the organization around them, teams were not necessarily penalized for picking Player A over Player B. For example, the Chiefs’ grade for selecting Mahomes had nothing to do with the players drafted ahead of him.
Based on the aforementioned prerequisites, the Chiefs’ re-graded 2017 NFL Draft class looks as follows:
Round 1, No. 10 overall: Patrick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech
This entry speaks for itself. Mahomes enters the 2022 season as arguably the sport’s top quarterback — and if he’s not No. 1 on your list, he’s almost certainly in the top three. After only playing in one game as a rookie, the Texas Tech product totaled 18,707 yards, 151 touchdowns, and 36 interceptions from 2018-21. The four-time Pro Bowler also rushed for 1,179 yards and eight touchdowns on 5.1 yards per carry in that span.
But wait, there’s more! Mahomes won the 2018 NFL MVP after throwing for 50 touchdowns. He earned the Super Bowl 54 MVP Award after leading the Chiefs to a thrilling comeback following the 2019 season. Only months later, he signed a 10-year extension worth up to $503 million. The only knock against Patrick Mahomes is that we haven’t sent his younger brother, Jackson, to Poochie’s home planet yet.
In all seriousness, this is an easy A+ grade.
2022 Grade: A+
Round 2, No. 59: Tanoh Kpassagnon, DE, Villanova
Kpassagnon didn’t light up the scoreboard in four seasons with the Chiefs, but he did tally seven sacks, 12 tackles for a loss, and forced a fumble across 61 games and 24 starts. He also recorded two sacks during the Chiefs’ Super Bowl run following the 2019 season and earned a ring for his efforts.
Considering Kpassagnon’s contributions on defense and special teams for a team that reached the AFC Championship Game in three of his four seasons with the team, we feel comfortable awarding him a C+. The Super Bowl ring greatly helps him here.
2022 Grade: C+
Round 3, No. 86: Kareem Hunt, RB, Toledo
Grading Hunt is extremely difficult because of how his time in Kansas City ended. The Toledo product was among the NFL’s top running backs when the Chiefs released him in November 2018 after a video of him physically assaulting a woman earlier that year surfaced. It is worth noting he was never charged with a crime and served an eight-game suspension with the Cleveland Browns in 2019.
Hunt led the NFL with 1,327 rushing yards as a rookie in 2017 and was well on pace to reach 1,000 yards in his sophomore year. Those numbers alone are worthy of at least an A, if not an A+. However, the ranking criteria specifically notes that we used off-field issues and “how long they stuck with the franchise” when determining a grade.
In short, Hunt dominated opposing defenses before an off-field incident led to the Chiefs parting ways with him midway through his second season. After much thought, a B- grade feels fair. Such a score reflects both his strong play and the fact he didn’t complete two seasons in Kansas City.
2022 Grade: B-
Round 4, No. 139: Jehu Chesson, WR, Michigan
Who? Chesson hauled in two catches for 18 yards during his rookie season before the Chiefs cut him ahead of the 2018 campaign. The former Indiana standout played a significant role on special teams as a rookie, participating in 62% of the 2017 AFC West champion’s special teams snaps and returning three kicks for 65 yards.
Even if he only spent one full season, he at least played throughout the year. We’ll give him a D+.
2022 Grade: D+
Round 5, No. 183: Ukeme Eligwe, OLB, Georgia Southern
Much of what we just said about Chesson also applies to Eligwe. Both only spent a year with the Chiefs, saw some on-field action as rookies, primarily played special teams, and were cut ahead of the 2018 season. Eligwe totaled five tackles, including one for a loss, and a sack in 14 games during the 2017 campaign. He also participated in 52% of the Chiefs’ special teams snaps, although that wasn’t enough to guarantee him a roster spot the following season.
If we gave Chesson a D+, we’ll also give Eligwe a D+.
2022 Grade: D+
Round 6, No. 218: Leon McQuay, DB, USC
McQuay’s only regular-season action in 2017 came in a Week 17 victory over the Broncos, a game best known for Mahomes’ NFL debut. The USC product totaled four tackles and broke up a pass while playing 71% of the Chiefs’ defensive snaps and 64% of the special teams snaps.
The fact that McQuay played is enough to spare him from an F grade, and the Chiefs did keep him around as a practice squad player throughout the 2018 campaign. Still, the fact that he only cracked the field once in two seasons dooms him to a D-.
2022 Grade: D-