There are 10 weeks until the 2021 NFL draft, and in order to prepare for this year’s draft, FOX4 Sports is doing something a little different.
Producer Robert Rimpson is counting down Brett Veach’s top 10 draft picks as the Chiefs’ general manager.
While the sample is limited to three drafts and 18 picks, this will hopefully not only provide an informative perspective on some of Veach’s best picks, but it may also give a good look at what the Chiefs do in this year’s draft.
The players are evaluated in three areas: Their play on the field, how high their remaining potential is, and their value based on where they (and other players in their class) were drafted. The players get letter grades (‘A+’ being the best, ‘F-‘ being the worst) and at the end he reflects on how the player will impact the Chiefs 2021 draft.
No. 6 – Rashad Fenton
Play on field
In his two years in the NFL Chiefs corner Rashad Fenton not only played his part for the team, but he also improved his play from his rookie year to his sophomore season. His rookie season, Fenton played in 12 games for the Chiefs, but only played in around 15% of the defense snaps, mostly playing on special teams. Fenton did not see the field on defense much, but he managed to take advantage of the few opportunities he saw. In only 165 defensive snaps Fenton was able to force 4 pass deflections, grab an interception and force a fumble.
In his second year, Fenton’s play improved along with his snap count. Fenton played in all 16 games in 2020, and even got to start in three of those games. He played in almost 49% of the Chiefs defensive snaps at corner only trailing Charvarius Ward and Bashaud Breeland. In those 525 snaps Fenton nabbed another pick, had 35 total tackles and forced seven pass deflections.
Fenton has played solidly in his role providing depth for the Chiefs at corner, especially in 2020 when the team was plagued with injuries at that position.
Make no mistake, I don’t think Fenton is going to become a Pro Bowl Caliber player — he might not even become a full time starter – but ignoring his jump from year one to year two would be foolish while evaluating his potential. Fenton has already made clear that he can be a solid depth piece at corner, and if his good play continues his temporary move up to CB3 could become permanent.
He’s young, he’s managed to stay healthy and he’s been getting better every season. As long as those three things remain true, Fenton’s potential will keep growing.
Fenton was drafted in the lowest spot of all the players on this list. He was drafted in the sixth round in 2019 at the 201st overall pick. At that spot, it’s likely there weren’t many people that expected Fenton to be much more than a guy near the bottom of the depth chart. Fenton has reasonably exceeded those expectations and maybe a little more.
There weren’t any noticeable players drafted after Fenton at his position, although Tampa Bay wide receiver Scott Miller might catch a few eyes at the 208th pick. All that said, Fenton has been a solid player for the Chiefs, something not many teams can say about their sixth round picks in 2019, this retroactively makes him a great value pick for Brett Veach.
Mike Danna, who was ranked number 8 on this list, might’ve had a better start to his career than Fenton and might even have more upside as a player. But, Danna needs to improve or at least play just as well in his sophomore season to confirm how good he could be. Fenton has contributed more to the team over his career and has the benefit of exceeding expectations while being picked in a later round than Danna.
Fenton is a fine prospect for the Chiefs, the quintessentially low-round-in-the-draft value pick. He provides depth for his team, he’s healthy, he’s young and he’s gotten better in his second season. His ceiling isn’t incredibly high, but he checks every other box.
For those reasons listed above, I’m grading the Rashad Fenton draft pick at a “B” (Note: this grade was reassessed upon reflection when writing the draft review on DT Derrick Nnadi)
How will this affect 2021?
While Fenton does provide depth for the Chiefs at CB, depending on how free agency goes, the Chiefs will still have a great need at that position. If Fenton continues to grow as a player his presence on the roster may eventually influence the draft, but for now the Chiefs still have plenty of needs at corner ranging from depth to day-one starter.