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What would it take for the Chiefs to get into the first round?

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NFL: AFC Wild Card-Tennessee Titans at Kansas City Chiefs Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Every once in a while, you hear something that makes your ears perk up. Whether that be the random noises I hear around my house when I’ve stayed up too late (kinda creepy) or hearing Chiefs GM Brett Veach say, “Who knows, maybe we’ll be back in the first round before it’s all said and done.”

How are you going to do this to us Brett?

In fact, I’ve been bothered by this quote from Veach ever since the moment he said it. How exactly do the Chiefs get back into the first? What would it take for them to do so?

I Believe Veach

For starters, I do believe Veach is actively trying to get into the first round of the draft. I say this because of the 2017 draft:

Now, we all know Dorsey was the GM for the Chiefs during the 2017 draft, but we’d all be completely naive if we didn’t think Veach played a large role in how the Chiefs draft went in 2017.

There is a reason Veach is the GM, and Dorsey isn’t any more.

I believe the Chiefs tried a new draft strategy in 2017, and the strategy was vindicated by the success of each player they traded up to draft. There is little doubt in my mind Veach and the Chiefs will identify players they want in the 2018 draft, and they will trade up to get them if given the opportunity.

The Draft Value Table

Everyone loves looking at the draft value table! You can see the table I’ve used for this article at Drafttek.

If you combine all the Chiefs 2018 draft picks, they have a total value of 832.6. Looking at the draft value table below that’d be enough to get the 21st overall pick in the draft.

NFL Draft Values

Pick Team Value
Pick Team Value
20 DET 850
21 CIN 800
22 BUF 780
23 NE 760
24 CAR 740
25 TEN 720
26 ATL 700
27 NO 680
28 PIT 660
29 JAX 640
30 MIN 620
31 NE 600
32 PHI 590

If the Chiefs were using nothing but their 2018 draft picks for trade compensation, they would have to trade their entire draft just to get into the 20s.

So it doesn’t seem feasible for Veach to pull a Mike Ditka and trade his entire draft for one player, especially since the Chiefs have so many holes to fill on defense.

What About Players?

Veach could always trade a Chiefs player to obtain a first round pick, but unfortunately for the Chiefs, that means they’d have to give up a great player for an unknown commodity.

I’m not a big fan of trading a player for a first round pick, but to explore all avenues the following is a list of Chiefs players who I believe could garner a first round pick.

Justin Houston - Houston does have the talent to garner a high pick. However, I do not see another team being willing to absorb Houston’s contract.

Eric Berry - Like Houston, I doubt another team would want to take Berry’s contract. Also, I’m pretty sure Arrowhead would be burnt to the ground if Eric Berry were traded.

Tyreek Hill - I hate to say it, but if Veach is looking to trade one player for a first round pick, Hill is the best candidate.

Hill would easily garner a first round pick, and teams would be more than willing to take his salary. The Chiefs also have a slight excess at the WR position with the signing of Sammy Watkins.

Of course, I absolutely hate the idea of trading Tyreek Hill. I also doubt Veach wants to trade Hill either, but if there were one guy to trade, Hill makes the most sense.

Now please, don’t go and spread rumors.

Patrick Mahomes - File the thought of trading Patrick Mahomes under the dumbest idea ever.

Spencer Ware, Chris Conley, etc - The Chiefs have good depth at RB and WR, and they may be interested in unloading some players in combination with a draft pick(s) to get into the first round.

For example, the Chiefs could offer Spencer Ware, their second round pick, and another mid round pick to get into the late first.

Next Year’s Picks

I believe the most likely, and most reasonable, way for the Chiefs to get into the first round of the 2018 draft would be to use a combination of picks from both their 2018 and 2019 drafts.

The Chiefs currently have the following picks in the 2019 draft: One first, two seconds, one third, one fifth, one sixth, and one seventh. (Please correct me if I’m wrong, I couldn’t find this information anywhere.)

Trading future picks can be dicey though; especially when it comes to the trades value. So I put myself in the shoes of another team’s GM, and I asked myself what value I would place on the Chiefs 2019 first round pick.

The Chiefs typically get to the playoffs, they have an exciting young QB, and a high successful head coach. If I’m a GM of another team, I would go conservative and believe the Chiefs 2019 first round pick is worth 700 points — which is what the 26th overall pick is worth.

Here is the value of each of the Chiefs picks in 2019, given my assumptions as the GM for another team. Keep in mind I went conservative with the second round pick received in the Peters trade. I expect the Rams to finish in a similar position as the Chiefs.

Chiefs 2019 Project Draft Values

Round Value
Round Value
1 700
2 330
2 320
3 140
5 25.8
6 11
7 1

There are a number of ways the Chiefs could get into the first round in 2018. Below is a list of some potential moves the Chiefs could make to get into the end of the first. (Please note the number in parentheses represents the pick’s overall draft selection):

Some Draft Trade Estimations

Pick(s) Traded Pick Received
Pick(s) Traded Pick Received
2019 1st and 2nd + 2018 2nd 2018 1st (9)
2019 1st + 2018 2nd 2018 1st (16)
Both 2019 2nds + 2018 2nd 2018 1st (16)
2019 1st 2018 1st (26)
2018 2nd + 2019 2nd 2018 1st (27)
Both 2019 2nds 2018 1st (29)

As you can see there are a number of ways for the Chiefs to get into the first round in 2018. The Chiefs third round pick wasn’t used when I was running the numbers, and that would provide even more possibilities. If Veach wants to trade up, the opportunity is certainly there.

From an organizational standpoint, I believe if the Chiefs trade up in the 2018 draft it should be to receive a pick towards the end of the first round. If I were to pick a trade to make, I would choose to trade two second round picks to get into the late first — that is IF there were a player available whom I fancied.

Random Side Thought

This is from left field, but I’ve always wondered this: What’s stopping an NFL team from constantly trading their next year’s first round pick?

Has there ever been an organization that chose to use this philosophy? Essentially it’d be like gaining an additional first round pick if a team was able to do this over several years.

I’m sure there’s an excellent reason why some team hasn’t tried this yet. Perhaps the cost of trading up is valued higher than the actual picks received .... but if you were able to trade with teams you knew would take a step back the next season you could really pull in a haul.

... but I digress.

It’s all on Veach

Ultimately the decision to move up is all on Veach, but if there is a player he wants who is available at the end of the first round I have very little doubt Veach will trade up to get them.

If Veach does trade up, I’d look for him to go after help along the defensive line, at cornerback, or safety since they are all positions of need.

Given Veach’s comments and how the Chiefs 2017 draft panned out, I believe Veach will trade up at least once in the 2018 draft.

If Veach can repeat what the Chiefs did in 2017, he could very well acquire the pieces needed to build a solid defense in Kansas City starting as soon as next year. If Veach does trade up, he has to hit big on the player. Personally, I believe Veach will be able to trade up and land at least one solid player in the 2018 draft, much like the Chiefs did in 2017.