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2015 NFL mock draft: First round inside linebacker for Kansas City Chiefs?

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

We've gone over plenty of 2015 NFL mock drafts that have the Kansas City Chiefs selecting a receiver such as SB Nation sending Arizona State's Jaelen Strong to Kansas City or Mel Kiper choosing former Missouri receiver Dorial Green-Beckham for the Chiefs. We knew going into this thing that everyone would be picking receivers for the Chiefs. But free agency hasn't happened yet so plenty can and will change.

There have been two more mocks lately that have the Chiefs selecting an inside linebacker -- Eric Kendricks out of UCLA. With injuries to Derrick Johnson and Joe Mays last year, I was waiting for this position to gain some momentum.

Josh Norris of Rotoworld sends Kendricks to Kansas City with the 18th pick in this mock draft. "Three down linebackers are so viable to a defense," Josh writes. "The last two years have displayed that, especially ones who can work behind a talented DL. Kendricks can do that in KC. His game against Virginia is my favorite tape of any prospect in this class."

Or as Josh said about Kendricks weeks ago in this mock: "Imagine Kendricks running free behind Dontari Poe and Allen Bailey..."

It's not just Rotoworld who sees Kendricks as an option. The great Terez Paylor of the Kansas City Star also has Kendricks going to the Chiefs in his first mock draft. Terez puts a lot of time and thought into his mocks so definitely go read his full write-up for the Chiefs. It boils down to this: "Kendricks is not very big, so long-term durability is a concern, but his plus instincts, quickness and passion for the game would allow the two-time UCLA captain to be a plug-and-play, three-down weakside inside linebacker who can immediately help a leaky run defense."

The Chiefs run defense did suffer with the injuries to starting inside linebackers Derrick Johnson and Joe Mays. But the ret of the defense ... didn't. The Chiefs defense remained one of the best in the NFL in the statistic that matters the most -- points allowed. That makes me stop and think about the value of this pick and this position. In the Chiefs defense, is this worth a first round pick? I tend to think it probably is but I do think it's something to consider. It doesn't feel like the slam dunk that receiver or tackle does. Th Chiefs excellent pass rush seems to cover up plenty of deficiencies in the defense.