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Chiefs add receiver depth in 5th round with Cornell Powell from Clemson

Cornell Powell
Photo courtesy of Clemson Athletics

The Kansas City Chiefs found their new wide receiver with Clemson’s Cornell Powell, who they selected in the fifth round of the 2021 NFL draft with the 181st overall pick.

Powell is coming off the best season of his career at Clemson, where he took on a larger following the departure of Tee Higgins and injury to Justyn Ross. In 2020 Powell made 53 receptions for 882 yards with seven touchdowns, all of which were career highs. In his four previous years at Clemson, he 40 receptions for 329 yards and three touchdowns combined.

He put up a career-best 176 yards in a win over Pitt this past season, with a career-high 11 catches against Boston College earlier in the year. He made an impact in the College Football Playoff semifinal against Ohio State as well, with eight receptions, 139 yards and two scores in a losing effort.

At his pro day, Powell checked in at 6-foot, 204 pounds, which puts him near the median or slightly below it in both height and weight for Kansas City’s current receiver group. Jordan Foote of Sports Illustrated wrote that Powell’s frame could allow him to play either outside or in the slot, also noting his “reliable” hands and body control.

Foote projected Powell as a fourth-round caliber pick. This year’s 580 Sports Talk consensus big board had him listed as the 175th-ranked player in the class.

Here is some of the reaction to the Cornell Powell pick from Twitter on Saturday afternoon.

Powell is the second pass catcher the Chiefs drafted in the fifth round, along with Duke tight end Noah Gray. He’s the first wide receiver drafted by the Chiefs since they took Mecole Hardman in the second round of the 2019 draft.

The Chiefs have one pick remaining in this year’s draft, the 226th overall selection. The moved back to that pick after trading up to draft Gray earlier in the fifth round.


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