From the FanPosts. Good stuff -Joel
Under the stewardship of John Dorsey and Andy Reid, the Chiefs transformed from a struggling franchise with very little direction to a perennial playoff attendee and AFC West contender. While the Chiefs have positions they need to improve this offseason, their record the past several seasons belies the notion that they are desperate for help at any given position.
That said, I've attempted to devise a different way to assess the Chiefs' needs than how most pundits do in their mock drafts. Mock drafts usually play out with the pundit making a selection that matches a team's positional needs with the "best player available." The further down the rounds you get, the slimmer the pickings are. The problem with mock drafts is that after about the first five or ten selections, it all goes awry because teams evaluate prospects so much differently than pundits.
The NFL breaks up the draft to take place over three days in order to generate the most viewership and media attention, and, thus, money. The unintended result is a natural division of the general talent level of the prospects drafted on each day. What I have done (and it isn't entirely novel, but also isn't in widespread use) is to sort the Kansas City's needs into tiers: Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3. Day 1 needs are the Chiefs' one or two most glaring holes, Day 2 needs are the positions where they could use a significant upgrade, and Day 3 needs are where they will be looking to fill some depth or to take a flyer on a developmental prospect. The theory is that predicting which prospects will be on the board when the Chiefs pick at 27, or predicting a trade up or down, is impossible. Breaking the Chiefs' needs into tiers gives a range of which positions the Chiefs should target on any given day of the draft. So here's a look at the Chiefs' needs (listed alphabetically in each tier):
Day 1 needs: CB, ILB, NT, QB
CB: The Chiefs have Marcus Peters, who in his two years in the NFL leads the league in interceptions and is already one of its better shut-down corners. After Peters, though, the depth chart gets dicey. Steven Nelson is better in the slot than on the outside, Kenneth Acker and D.J. White haven't stood out, and while Terrance "Small Sample Size" Mitchell played admirably down the stretch, his history in the league suggests his play was more likely "flash in the pan" than "real deal." There are a ton of good corners in this draft that Dorsey could pair with Peters on the right side of the defense for the next half-decade.
ILB: The Chiefs will never be able to replace Derrick Johnson. Ever. But given his latest Achilles injury and his age, they do need to start thinking about replacing him. Ramik Wilson looks like a keeper, but D.J. Alexander and Josh Mauga probably aren't the long-term answers in the middle. There are apparently a few ILBs that Dorsey likes in this draft, and it would be a worth while investment.
NT: Nose tackle is only a Day 1 need if the Chiefs can't re-sign Dontari Poe. If they can't, I'm not sure Chris Jones can play the nose, and Rakeem Nunez-Roches probably isn't strong enough consistently anchor the middle of the line. Dorsey has met with at least one DL prospect at the combine, and if the Chiefs do lose Poe to free agency they need to find a replacement.
QB: Quarterback is the one exception to the "most glaring hole" rule, because they have a winning QB in Alex Smith. However, the Chiefs have infamously not won a game with a quarterback they drafted since Todd Blackledge won 20-13 against the Chargers on Sept. 13, 1987. That's a truly stunning streak of QB-drafting-futility. I'm a Smith apologist, and think the Chiefs can win a Super Bowl with him. But as Peyton Manning demonstrated very recently, once quarterbacks lose "it," they plummet off a cliff. I would be perfectly fine if the Chiefs traded up in the draft to take the QB of their choice as Smith's eventual replacement (I'm partial to DeShaun Watson, but I trust Dorsey and Reid to make a good choice).
Day 2 needs: CB, ILB, NT, RB, TE
CB/ILB/NT: Cornerback and inside linebacker are the Chiefs' only true Day 1 needs (and NT if Poe leaves). Depending on what they do in round 1, they should try to address the others in rounds 2 and 3. The Chiefs have four selections in the first 104 picks (one first, one second, and two third round picks), so they should be able to add at least four starting-quality players to the roster in the first three rounds.
RB: Jamaal Charles is gone. Spencer Ware, Charcandrick West, De'Anthony Thomas, and Knile Davis (and Tyreek Hill?) give the Chiefs a stable of backs, but they each have their faults. The running game noticeably struggled last season after Ware's hot start, and the Chiefs could use an upgrade to stabilize and improve the running game.
TE: Travis Kelce turned into the best TE in the NFL last season. The rest of the Chiefs' tight ends could charitably be described as "terrible." The Chiefs need a serious upgrade behind Kelce, especially given how many two- and three-TE sets Reid likes to run.
Day 3 needs: DL, OL, OLB, QB, S
DL: If the Chiefs' re-sign Poe, they'll be largely set along the line. Jones, Poe, and Allen Bailey would be the starters, with Jaye Howard, Nunez-Roches and Kendall Reyes as the primary backups. If they see a significant upgrade or developmental prospect they really like they could take a flyer in the later rounds.
OL: Eric Fisher, Mitch Morse, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif and Mitch Schwartz are going to form one of the best lines in the NFL for the foreseeable future. The only question is at left guard, where Parker Ehinger started the season but Zach Fulton played the majority of the season after Ehinger tore his ACL. Fulton improved as the season wore on, but probably isn't the long-term starter. The Chiefs have taken an offensive lineman in every draft since taking over as GM (Fisher, 2013; Fulton, LDT, 2014; Morse, 2015; Ehinger, 2016), and I expect that trend to continue. Fulton and Ehinger will compete for the starting LG spot, with the other as the backup guard. Jah Reid goes into the season as the presumptive swing tackle, but I'd expect Dorsey to bring in someone for competition and depth.
OLB: Justin Houston and Dee Ford should make the Chiefs' pass rush very formidable this year, with Tamba Hali rotating in. But Frank Zombo is a JAG, and Dadi Nicholas is very raw. The Chiefs could use some depth on the edges.
QB: Andy Reid drafts QBs. Every year (almost). That's his thing. If there isn't someone they like on days 1 and 2, Reid will find a developmental prospect in the late rounds. The Chiefs have 10 draft picks, one of them is going to be a QB.
S: The Chiefs should be set at safety after locking up Eric Berry long-term. Between Berry, Ron Parker, Daniel Sorensen, and Eric Murray they should be set. If Sorensen leaves, they may look to add more depth.
Non-needs: FB, WR
FB: Anthony Sherman is one of the best fullbacks in the NFL, and no NFL team needs two. Even if they release Sherman, I don't see them drafting a FB given how rarely they use Sherman on offense now; they'll likely be able to find an UDFA or a waiver wire pickup to fill the role.