“In regards to the draft classes, it’s always different in regards to where the pockets are. One year you may have a pocket at this position. The next year you may be weak at that position. So I think in regards to it being unique, it’s just how you as an evaluator and you as your staff see the draft as a whole. Where you need to be aggressive, but where you can maybe look in a different direction because you know that maybe in (round) 3 and 4 you can get similar value because of the depth. So I think it’s just the process of just identifying where the pockets are, where the strengths and weaknesses are.” - Brett Veach on understanding value on a draft board
In Friday’s pre-draft press conference, Kansas City Chiefs general manager Brett Veach talked about the importance of understanding the “pockets in a draft.” This is a critical part of the process: knowing where the value is at certain positions and points in the draft and having a strong plan in how to attack it.
“Do I need to trade up to acquire Isaiah Oliver in the late second or can I wait to address corner later in the draft with a guy like Isaac Yiadom?”
The Chiefs, like every other team, are going through mock draft scenarios to understand value and have plans for how to attack the board. Let’s do the exercise as well. Here are the pockets I believe exist in this draft:
Late first round to early second round: Cornerback. If the Chiefs are going to move up, it’s likely for a corner. Players like Oliver, Jaire Alexander and Mike Hughes could all fall into this range.
Early to mid-second round: Safety. I expect there to be a run at some point on the safety position in this range. The question will be whether players like Justin Reid or Jessie Bates III stay there long enough to be selected.
Late second to early third round: EDGE. There aren’t very many pass rushers worth of early picks, but in the late second, we should start seeing some of the EDGEs with intriguing traits coming off the board. Players like Josh Sweat, Lorenzo Carter and Rasheem Green here their names called in this range.
Late third to early fourth round: Defensive lineman. Need may push some players up this board, but this is where players like Deadrin Senat, Tim Settle and R.J. McIntosh likely get picked.
Late third to early fourth round: Cornerback. If you miss out on the first wave, you’re likely waiting for names like Yiadom, Quenton Meeks and M.J. Stewart in this range.
How could this play out for the Chiefs?
Here’s how the Chiefs could attack these pockets in a seven-round mock draft:
54. S Jessie Bates III: One of my favorite players in this class has a realistic shot at being there. Would be a perfect center field option for the Chiefs. Bates is our official Arrowhead Pride draft crush.
78. EDGE Rasheem Green: Dense, athletic freak whose best football is ahead of him. Will be 20 on draft day. Nice developmental EDGE prospect.
86. DL R.J. McIntosh: The Chiefs only have Chris Jones and Xavier Williams under contract for 2019 along the defensive line. I expect the Chiefs to add one with a top 100 pick.
122. CB Quenton Meeks: Intriguing, young press corner who should be able to contribute as early as 2018.
124. WR Simmie Cobbs: The Chiefs add a new skill set to their receiving corp with a guy who can highpoint balls from his large frame. Could play in the slot early as well.
196. TE Tyler Conklin: The Chiefs need to address the tight end position in this draft. Travis Kelce isn’t getting any younger and it takes time for them to adjust. You can do a lot worse than Conklin.
233. OL Sam Jones: KelceKrazies turned me onto him. Developmental interior lineman.
243. QB Logan Woodside: I wouldn’t be remotely surprised to see the Chiefs add a quarterback late in the draft to start developing. Woodside has some good moments on tape.