Chiefs Named Top Team Fit for ‘Polished and Explosive’ Route-Runner - Sport News

Chiefs Named Top Team Fit for ‘Polished and Explosive’ Route-Runner

The Kansas City Chiefs addressed the wide receiver position in free agency by signing Marquise “Hollywood” Brown, but that might not stop them from doubling down at WR in the NFL draft.

One tantalizing prospect that could slip to the Chiefs at No. 32 overall is Georgia wide receiver Ladd McConkey — a draft riser who raised his stock with impressive performances during Senior Bowl week and the combine.

Chiefs called team fit for Georgia WR Ladd McConkey in NFL draft.

Bleacher Report scouting expert Derrik Klassen linked McConkey to the Chiefs on March 28, labeling KC as his top “team fit” at the professional level.

“Ladd McConkey is as polished and explosive a route-runner as you’ll find outside the top 10 in this class,” Klassen wrote. “But make no mistake: He is not a slot-only player.”

“His best routes are comebacks, outs and post routes from an outside alignment, routes that highlight his burst and snappy route transitions,” the draft expert went on. Noting: “He is more of a vertical Z than a pure slot player.”

Along with the Chiefs, Klassen highlighted the Dallas Cowboys and New England Patriots as potential scheme fits for McConkey.

Ladd McConkey-Chiefs Hype Didn’t Begin at Bleacher Report
Klassen isn’t the first analyst or scout to connect McConkey to the Chiefs. To many inside the industry, he’d be a natural fit for Andy Reid and company.

The 33rd Team’s senior NFL draft writer Connor Livesay mocked the Georgia star to Kansas City on February 26.

“Another big riser this offseason has been Georgia WR Ladd McConkey,” Livesay stated at the time. “As one of the best natural separators in this class, McConkey’s value comes in his route running and ability to create easy throwing windows for quarterbacks.”

“McConkey would finally give quarterback Patrick Mahomes a reliable receiver who can help take some stress off his shoulders in the Kansas City Chiefs offense,” The 33rd Team analyst concluded.

A couple of days later on February 28, Pro Football Focus contributor Dalton Wasserman listed McConkey as the “ideal first pick” for the Chiefs on February 28.

“The Chiefs won another Super Bowl despite a season loaded with drops and unforced errors at wide receiver,” Wasserman outlined. “Rookie Rashee Rice is a stud, but they need to continue to add weapons for Patrick Mahomes.”

“Realistically, there are a ton of options in this receiver-heavy draft for Kansas City,” the PFF analyst acknowledged before choosing to highlight Georgia’s Ladd McConkey as a top candidate for the job.

“An ultra-smooth route runner with underrated speed,” he detailed. Voicing: “Mahomes has become a much more conservative, yet precise, passer over the past couple of years. McConkey’s quicks and savvy would fit in seamlessly.”

Ladd McConkey Compared to Elijah Moore & Doug Baldwin at NFL Level
For more scouting on McConkey, we’ll hand things over to two of the industry leaders — NFL Network scouting experts Lance Zierlein and Daniel Jeremiah.

“If pass rushers have rush plans, McConkey has route plans that allow him to uncover on all three levels,” Zierlein praised to begin his report.

Continuing: “His pace and rhythm make cornerbacks more reactive than proactive. He has the footwork and body control to snap off crisp breaks and open windows for his quarterback. [Plus], he can manipulate coverage with an advanced feel for leverage and has enough top-end speed to get past cornerbacks who are non-believers.”

Zierlein did admit that McConkey “might not be sudden enough to beat press and will need to prove he has enough play strength to finish contested catches against tight man.” He likened him to 2021 early second rounder Elijah Moore, a speedy route-tactician out of Ole Miss.

As for Jeremiah, the long-time draft analyst ranked McConkey 34th on his most recent big board.

“McConkey is a slightly undersized receiver with excellent speed, quickness and polish,” he described. “He lines up both outside and in the slot. He is quick off the line, and he understands how to attack the leverage of his man.”

Jeremiah added that McConkey also “changes speed throughout the route and is efficient getting into and out of breaks. He will utilize head nods to sell routes and create separation. He has an excellent feel to settle in space versus zone coverage. And he has strong hands to pluck balls thrown away from his frame and is quick to transition up the field.”

“After the catch, he relies on his quickness to make defenders miss,” the scout said to round out the list of strengths. Finishing: “Overall, McConkey isn’t quite as physical as former [Seattle] Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin, but I see a lot of similarities in their route running and instincts. I could see McConkey having a similar career.”

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