The first round of the 2020 NFL draft ended with a bang on Thursday night, as the Kansas City Chiefs used the round’s final pick to add talented running back who will also be a weapon in the passing game. Chiefs general manager Brett Veach had made it clear that adding weapons for Patrick Mahomes was a top priority — and they did that on day one. Rounds two and three are Friday night — and there are a lot of talented players still on the board.
As our own John Dixon mentioned in his most-recent ‘Where the roster stands’ article, the team came into the draft with 70 players of the offseason 90-man roster under contract. With new Chief Clyde Edwards-Helaire now in the fold, the other 19 will likely be on the team by Sunday night. With only four draft picks remaining (assuming the Chiefs make no trades), Veach will have to get creative to find value at each position of need, trying to find guys with upside to fill out the offseason roster.
As always, you can see the complete Chiefs roster — including salary cap information and a handy breakdown by position group — on Arrowhead Pride’s Chiefs roster page, which can be accessed under the ‘Resources’ tab at the top of this one.
So what are the remaining positions of need? I’ve ranked them in the four categories below based on how we see the depth chart — and what we expect to happen during the rest of draft weekend.
Likely to address on day two — seeking a potential starter
- Cornerback: Bashaud Breeland is back, which is welcome news. But it’s a one-year deal (like almost all of the team’s free-agent signings thus far), so the future at this position is still uncertain. Last season, the Chiefs got by with minimal investment in the group — but don’t count on them doing the same this year. The most obvious need for the team is still at corner — ideally one who has the potential to be a top-end starter by 2021. That may necessitate a day-two pick.
- Offensive line: Other than getting new weapons (like they did last night), nothing else is as important as protecting the face of the franchise — and the league. The Chiefs could use an upgrade at the interior offensive line positions, along with some depth (and future development) at tackle. In general, teams should draft a lineman every year, but it’s quite possible the Chiefs can find an upgrade — and perhaps some cap savings — on day two.
- Linebacker: If it were only up to the Arrowhead Pride Nerd Squad, this might be the team’s number one need. But it’s clear the Chiefs don’t see the position quite the same way we do. We agree they need a WILL linebacker who can cover. We agree that they don’t have the ideal player on the roster. We just may not agree with the solution. So don’t be shocked if the team passes on the top-tier linebackers in the first two rounds, but adds one later in the draft.
Likely to address in later rounds — seeking depth and special teams ability
- Wide Receiver: This is said to be a historically great draft for receivers — and the Chiefs have just re-signed two of their own to one-year contracts. There’s very little chance they draft a guy who will have a big impact in his first year, but you can bet they’ll be be looking for long-term options for Mahomes to target. With the depth of this class, there are receivers who could help the Chiefs in nearly every round — which also means there will be a number of undrafted free agents to watch.
- Safety: Given the presence of Juan Thornhill and Tyrann Mathieu, adding a third safety early would be a fairly unprecedented investment in the position — but it sure would be fun to watch! The Chiefs did lose Kendall Fuller — who was used in a hybrid cornerback/safety role at the end of 2019 — so it’s quite possible they’ll look to add a versatile safety who can provide depth and help on special teams.
Possible surprise picks
- EDGE: Emmanuel Ogbah — the surprise of 2019 — left in free agency, along with Terrell Suggs. The Chiefs do have Alex Okafor and Tim Ward coming off the injured list — along with Breeland Speaks, who could be a factor inside or outside. That’s great, but it doesn’t really instill a lot of confidence for the players behind Frank Clark and Tanoh Kpassagnon. If a Steve Spagnuolo-type defensive end is on the board, don’t be shocked if the Chiefs invest to bolster this rotation. It could even happen early.
- Tight end: While most of us agree that a good second tight end has been a need for this team, the draft class isn’t strong enough at the position to cause the Chiefs to allocate a high-value resource for a player who would compete with Deon Yelder and Ricky Seals-Jones. It’s a safe bet that an undrafted rookie free agent or two could join the mix. However, all of the depth players behind Travis Kelce (who turns 31 this year) are on one-year contracts. So if the right player is available on day three, drafting for the future isn’t out of the question.
- Interior defensive line: Assuming Chris Jones is back — at least for this season — the interior of the defensive line is a significant team strength. But if they trade Jones — or allow him to leave after this season — there could be an opening for the investment of another draft pick.
Not likely to address at all
- Quarterback: With Kyle Shurmur (and now Jordan Ta’amu) on the team, the Chiefs actually have a couple of interesting developmental options behind Mahomes and veteran backup Chad Henne. With only five draft picks, it’d be a major surprise to see the team call the name of a signal caller.
- Specialists (K, P, LS): It’s rarely a good idea to draft a specialist — though former third-rounder Dustin Colquitt seems to have worked out pretty well. The Chiefs specialists are pretty well set — and they already have a punter on the roster to create competition for Colquitt — so there’s no reason to think they’ll draft anyone here.