Draft Day is finally here!
We asked each member of the Arrowhead Pride staff to weigh in on their final predictions for Thursday night. While everyone has their own take, yYou’ll see a common theme — and it’s not too surprising.
After winning the Super Bowl, the Kansas City Chiefs are in a rare position of making their selection with very last pick of the night. And since they are also returning nearly every starter, they won’t have to worry much about filling immediate needs; they’ll be able to pick the best player available. They also enter the draft with only five draft picks. This makes a trade up less likely — and a trade down more likely.
While you’re waiting to see what happens, catch up with our 23 Days of Draftmas series. Read the KC Draft Guide — and listen to Craig, Matt and Kent on the AP Laboratory podcasts to learn more about different prospects and how they might fit in Kansas City.
Before long, it will be time to grab your favorite beverage — and sit back to watch the (virtual) fireworks. Here’s everything you need to know to watch the draft.
Now... our official final predictions for the Chiefs on Thursday night:
Tom Childs (@tomchilds56)
Prediction: CB Trevon Diggs, Alabama
I do believe the Chiefs want to trade down and acquire some assets—although this may be easier said than done. The Seattle Seahawks have almost made it an annual tradition to trade out of the first round. Their NFC West rival San Francisco 49ers haven’t exactly kept it a secret that they want out of the first round as well.
So against his will, Chiefs general manager Brett Veach will be forced to make a first-round pick for the first time since arriving in Kansas City. He’ll be happy, though, as a run on receivers and offensive linemen will leave him a good group of defensive players from which to choose. The pick? He’ll take a high-ceiling corner: Alabama star Trevon Diggs.
Craig Stout (@barleyhop)
Prediction: Trade down
There are a plethora of players that I would be happy with at pick 32 — and most are predicted to be available. The Chiefs know this, too — and could see an opportunity to drop back a handful of picks while still drafting in that tier of players.
John Dixon (@Arrowheadphones)
Prediction: Stick to the board
I’m sure the Chiefs would like to trade back, but it won’t be easy. So I’m not expecting a lot of drama — except for watching players fall from their predicted positions; given the unusual circumstances, I think we’ll see more of that than normal. Aside from linebacker and cornerback, Veach has put the team in a position where there aren’t a lot of huge holes, so I expect him to methodically follow his board, picking the best players he can get. It may be ho-hum, but for a defending Super Bowl champion, it’s a solid strategy.
Ethan Douglas (@ChiefsAnalytics)
Prediction: Focus on positional value
Given the research I’ve seen on draft pick value, it would be great to see the Chiefs trade down — thereby taking advantage of another team’s overconfidence. But given the circumstances of the draft, I could see trade downs being rare. Absent a trade down, I expect Veach to pick best player available — while keeping their positional importance in mind. In other words, he’s far more likely to consider a cornerback (instead of a running back) to be worth his first round pick.
Ron Kopp Jr. (@Ron_Kopp)
Prediction: Best player that can help in 2021 and beyond
As Thursday night unfolds, the Chiefs will actively be looking to trade down, but I think they will ultimately stay put. The player they select will play a position where there will be little opportunity to produce immediately, but will be chosen with the 2021 season (and beyond) in mind. Whether that turns out to be offensive tackle, interior offensive line, wide receiver or outside cornerback, the Chiefs will come away with a talented player that fits a long-term need.
Matt Stagner (@stagdsp)
Prediction: CB Kristian Fulton, LSU
I honestly think that trading back is the most likely scenario, but my talented friend Craig Stout already predicted a trade down — as have others — so I’ll go a different route. Veach has been clear that the strategy is to take a multi-year approach — and that he wants to add weapons for Patrick Mahomes. Look at the important positions on the roster that are dominated by one-year deals. So wide receiver, offensive line, running back and cornerback stand out as spots in need of long-term investments. Given the depth of receivers and running backs that will be available, I think they’ll look there on days two and three. Given the contract restructure for Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, there is slightly lower chance they attack offensive line early. So if they pick on Thursday, it’ll be a cornerback.
Kent Swanson (@kent_swanson)
Prediction: Cornerback (after a trade down)
The Chiefs won’t make a pick on Thursday night. We’re going to have to wait an extra day to see the Chiefs make a selection, but our patience will be rewarded with another day two pick.
Pete Sweeney (@pgsween)
Prediction: Trade down in a deep draft
Everybody knows the Chiefs need depth at the cornerback position. They could also use an offensive lineman of the future interior — as soon as this year, tackle next year — and it is never a bad idea to give the greatest quarterback in the world more weapons at wide receiver. What do these have in common? Veach said in his pre-draft presser that he feels there is depth throughout the draft at all three positions. The Chiefs currently have only five picks. Perhaps more than any position or player, they need more opportuntities to hit on starters for this year and next. I think they move a few picks down to get a sixth pick and we hear their first selection on Friday night.
Matt Lane (@ChiefinCarolina)
Prediction: LB Patrick Queen
Listen to the AP Laboratory podcasts to hear more about Matt’s draft takes.
From the upside down
The Chiefs trade their next two drafts for Jerry Jeudy and CeeDee Lamb. I hope NFL defenses like meat — because they’re getting fifty-burgers in every game. — Pete Sweeney
Stags called us “boring,” with everyone (including me) predicting a trade back. Fine. So let’s make it a little spicier: the Chiefs will take a cornerback with their first pick in the draft. Whether they make their first pick or not, it’s to get short and long-term help in their defensive backfield. — Kent Swanson
WWVD? (What will Veach Do?)
This poll is closed
CB Trevon Diggs
CB Kristian Fulton
Best Player Available
LB Patrick Queen
Other (reply in comments)