My parents still have half of a comfy but almost 20-year-old dark green, leather sectional sitting in their basement. I loved it so much I spent a summer in my college years sleeping on it. I still love that thing. We have too many memories to count sitting on it. We’re still making them.
Well...on the good half.
We were on a tight budget growing up, but we needed a new couch. My little brother wanted a leather one. My mom tried to set expectations low. But there this thing was at a furniture store. Big, soft, reclining seats and should have been way out of our price range. The only issue with it was a hole on the left side of the couch where a plastic lever that controls the recliner should have been. The discount was disproportionate to what ended up being a three-dollar replacement part and an easy installation. We got a much nicer couch than we were able to afford.
I’m not mad the Chiefs don’t have a first-round pick, for obvious reasons that you don’t need me to elaborate further on. It does make my first year writing about the draft a challenge (a fun challenge, but a challenge nonetheless).
So many things can happen until the Chiefs’ pick late Friday of draft weekend. How the team approaches it will be fascinating.
Brett Veach and the organization are backed into a corner with their financial and draft capital constraints. It’s a difficult challenge to take on in your first year as a general manager. Trial by fire in every sense of the word. The moves we’ve seen so far indicate someone up to the task. They’ve been creative since they broke training camp in finding ways to incrementally improve this team. If the Chiefs come out of the April selection meeting with an impressive haul, we’ll be talking about the next rising star in the personnel ranks.
The Chiefs will almost certainly be silent on day one (the first round) of the draft. I did the math using the somewhat-archaic-but-still-relatively-valuable draft pick trade chart, and the Chiefs would have to give up all of their 2018 selections (a little over 780 points on the chart) just to get their original first-round pick back (pick #22 comes in at 780).
I don’t see it happening.
First, let’s recap what draft picks the Chiefs own as it stands now (they should be in line for another pick when comps are announced Friday):
- Round 2 (54th overall)
- Round 3 (78th overall, via WAS)
- Round 3 (86th overall)
- Round 4
- Round 6
You’re likely going to have to wait until pick 54 (maybe a tad earlier, but more on that in a minute) to see the Chiefs select a player. We’re going to see a lot of good prospects come off the board before the Chiefs get a chance to select one.
The Chiefs can still have a successful draft within the constraints they have. In fact, I expect it. Go down the list round-by-round and you’ll see this scouting department has been able to find value in previous drafts. I know they’ve lost some members of the staff, namely former GM John Dorsey, but a lot of the process and talent is still in the building.
There are glaring weaknesses on this team, specifically on the defensive side of the football. Veach has already started working to fix it with the acquisitions of Kendall Fuller and David Amerson. But he can’t and won’t be done yet.
So back to that second-round pick.
Should the Chiefs absolutely go defense with that pick yes? I don’t think so.
I’m not saying they shouldn’t go defense; what I am saying is they shouldn’t limit themselves to it. For the six other people reading this who have seen the movie “Draft Day,” I don’t want to see Veach with a sticky note that reads, “(Defensive player) no matter what.”
There is likely going to be a prospect with round-one traits sitting there at No. 54. It may not be a defensive player. It may be a receiver. It may be a tight end. It may be a lower valued position like guard.
A good way to recoup some of what you lost in trading up for Patrick Mahomes last year is to maximize the value of what you have. The easiest way is to find the most talented player on the board regardless of positional need and draft him.
There will be one or more players when the Chiefs select with first-round traits that will have a recent injury, an off-field or personality issue that requires some fact-finding or a someone that requires some sweat equity by the coaching staff to refine those traits.
Names like offensive guard Isaiah Wynn (torn labrum), Hercules Mata’afa (transitioning to full time EDGE role), and possibly even EDGE Arden Key (off-field and injury concerns) could be players who find themselves falling within range of the Chiefs that have some special ability.
These are the situations the Chiefs need to work hard to see if they can exploit. That’s not to say they won’t come to the conclusion on whether or not they should trust a player or circumstance. But the Chiefs are the team who should be looking the hardest at situations like these.
The Chiefs went to extreme lengths to vet Marcus Peters when he came out of the draft. He’s now one of the best corners in football. The reason they have these draft constraints is because they believed enough in a young but raw signal caller that required time and work. He’d be taken before the 10th pick in the 2018 draft based on what we’ve seen so far from him in a Chiefs uniform. What would it have taken to trade up from 22 to get in range to take him this year?
Players like Peters, Mahomes, Chris Jones, Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce would all go in the first round (or higher in the first round in the first two’s case) of re-drafts of their draft class. This isn’t an accident. This is hard work, talent and an excellent process.
I don’t think all the magic that brought those selections in left for Cleveland and Indianapolis. Some left, definitely, but I think there is still plenty of it in there within that personnel department.
Positional need is often a tie-breaker on draft grades, and likely will bump some players up the Chiefs board. The defense absolutely does still need to be a focal point of this draft class. But I’d rather the Chiefs try to turn their second-round pick into a top-25 talent if they have the opportunity to.
There are too many variables between picks one and 54 to have a feel for what will happen. The board could go a million different directions. It could play perfectly, with excessive selections of quarterbacks, running backs and offensive tackles pushing a great player that fits the Chiefs’ needs into their lap. There could be runs on EDGEs, defensive linemen and linebackers that limit the Chiefs to get value from the defensive side of the football. But regardless, there will be value available. The Chiefs need to be willing to take advantage.
If the Chiefs find a player they think has no business in the second round that they love and want to strike, they could use the picks they have to move up 10 to 15 spots by trading their second-rounder and the third-rounder they got from Washington for an earlier second-rounder and a fourth-round pick. This would lose your flexibility to trade back (something I would like to see them do with one of their third-round picks), but they’re still keeping their volume of picks and gaining value by acquiring what they see as a first-round talent.
There’s going to be a couch out there with a stain you can live with, a missing piece, a broken handle that needs some repair. I want the Chiefs to identify that couch in this draft at pick 54.
Let’s hope we’re glad they did 20 years from now.