The Kansas City Chiefs walk away from the 2015 NFL Draft with nine new players, including first round pick Washington CB Marcus Peters. The Chiefs focused on cornerback and inside linebacker with four of their picks and touched on other holes in other picks, including Georgia WR Chris Conley in the third round.
Some of these players will be better than we thought and demand playing time; others will struggle and disappoint. We just don't know which picks are which yet. It's the way the draft goes every year.
So how do these new Chiefs draft picks project onto the roster? Here's my take...
Round 1 (18) No. 18 overall (Washington CB Marcus Peters)
Peters projects as one of the Chiefs starting cornerbacks. The question is, when? Sean Smith, who is a free agent after this season, and Phillip Gaines would appear to be the Chiefs top corners entering the 2015 season. Could the Chiefs see Smith and Peters playing on the outside and Gaines on the inside? That's my initial guess. The Chiefs also have third round pick CB Steven Nelson to consider playing on the inside. Jamell Fleming factors in there someplace, too. Playing behind arguably the NFL's best pass rush should Peters confidence so I vote that they get him in early and often, rather than waiting it out like they did with Dee Ford. If / when Smith leaves via free agency, Peters should step right in.
Round 2: (17) No. 49 overall (Missouri OL Mitch Morse)
Morse played everywhere on the line but Chiefs GM John Dorsey indicated he would be starting at backup center behind Eric Kush, the Chiefs 2013 sixth round pick. As a second round pick, Morse projects to a starting role. The question here seems to be whether he takes that job from Kush in 2015 or not. If he's not in a starting role, Morse can be the Chiefs swing lineman playing at multiple positions.
Round 3: (16) No. 76 overall (Georgia WR Chris Conley)
Playing receiver in Andy Reid's offense is not easy. Good thing then that Conley comes with rave reviews about his intelligence. Because Reid asks receivers to learn every receiver position on the field first, I could see Conley taking a little time to get acclimated. I could see him projected the Chiefs No. 2 receiver role if he can beat out Albert Wilson and / or Jason Avant.
Round 3: (34) No. 98 overall (Oregon State DB Steven Nelson)
He looks like a nickel corner. As I noted above with Peters, some of what happens here depends on who the Chiefs decide to line up at nickel. Gaines could be that guy in 2015 which would leave a lesser role for Nelson. Still, I see him as the Chiefs future nickel corner at some point down the road.
Round 4: (19) No. 118 overall (Georgia ILB Ramik Wilson)
Derrick Johnson, who is 32 and coming off an Achilles injury, and Josh Mauga, who just signed a three-year extension, project as the Chiefs starting inside linebackers. So I'm not sure how much Wilson be able to rotate into the lineup in his first season.
Round 5: (36) No. 172 overall (Oregon State LB DJ Alexander)
The scouting reports listed him as an outside linebacker but the Chiefs say he'll compete at inside linebacker. As stated above, DJ and Mauga appear to have those positions locked up in 2015.
Round 5: (37) No. 173 overall (Illinois State TE James O'Shaughnessy)
O'Shaughnessy is an athletic "move" tight end who will be competing for the Chiefs second tight end spot along with Demetrius Harris and Richard Gordon. O'Shaughnessy is less of a known commodity coming from Illinois State so he could take some time, too.
Round 6: (42) No. 217 overall (Southern Miss DT Rakeem Nunez-Roches)
I haven't figured out whether he's a backup nose tackle to Dontari Poe or backup defensive end to Allen Bailey, Mike DeVito, Jaye Howard and others. He was good at stopping the run so perhaps he carves out a rotational role on the Chiefs defensive line. I don't see him as a guy to replace Poe anytime soon (who could replace him anyway?).
Round 7: (16) No. 233 overall (Northern Illinois WR Da'Ron Brown)
This is a good spot for a receiver like Brown. The Chiefs have Jeremy Maclin, Conley, Wilson and Avant playing receiver. Beyond that, I don't see any sure things so I would guess that Brown ends up making the team. The Chiefs cut their 2013 sixth round pick Braden Wilson before the season started so it's no guarantee that he makes the team.