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Chiefs go with a first-round center in new NFL.com mock draft

Analyst Daniel cJeremiah thinks that Kansas City will start their offensive line rebuild from the inside out.

CFP National Championship Presented by AT&T - Ohio State v Alabama Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

On Tuesday, NFL.com analyst Daniel Jeremiah published his mock draft 2.0 for this April’s selection meeting.

Like Austin Gayle’s PFF mock draft on Monday, Jeremiah has three quarterbacks — Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence, BYU’s Zach Wilson and Ohio State’s Justin Fields — coming off the board during the first four picks, followed by Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell with the fifth.

Also like Gayle, Jeremiah sees a lot of offensive tackles being taken before the Kansas City Chiefs pick at 31st: Northwestern’s Rashawn Slater (12th), Virginia Tech’s Christian Darrisaw (19th), Michigan’s Jaylen Mayfield (24th) and Oklahoma State’s Teven Jenkins (29th).

But Jeremiah thinks that with their first pick, the Chiefs will go a different way on the offensive line.

31. Kansas City Chiefs: Center Landon Dickerson, Alabama

Dickerson, who’s recovering from an ACL tear, comes with durability concerns, but the Chiefs are in position to make this type of bet on the best interior O-lineman in the draft.

Jeremiah could easily know what he’s talking about. Aside from fullback — where Anthony Sherman is scheduled to become a free agent when the new league year begins on March 17 — center is currently the thinnest position on the roster: 2020 undrafted free agent Darryl Williams is presently the only center signed to the team. Last season’s starter Austin Reiter — and backup Daniel Kilgore — will also be free agents.

During his rookie season, Williams played in seven regular-season games and two postseason contests — but never played an offensive snap. So it’s reasonable to think that the Chiefs might go this way. And by Jeremiah’s reckoning, Dickerson would be the first center taken in the draft. The former Florida State guard was moved to center for the Crimson Tide — and during his senior season, he won the Rimington Trophy as the nation’s top center.

It’s not entirely certain that Reiter — Kansas City’s most-experienced option — would even be available to the Chiefs at a price they want to pay. On Friday, PFF’s Anthony Treash identified Reiter as the league’s “most underrated” center, suggesting that on the open market, he could get a two-year deal worth $9.5 million.

This kind of contract would barely make Reiter one of the 20 highest-paid centers on an annual basis. Yet, over the last two years, Reiter has ranked third at his position in pass-block grade and first in pressure rate allowed at 1.1%.

Reiter’s run blocking hasn’t been nearly as strong, given that he ranks 27th among centers in run-blocking grade since 2019, but should that outweigh his standout pass protection and put him in the bottom half of the league’s starting centers in terms of annual pay? I’d say no.

While it’s possible the Chiefs might want to sign Reiter to that kind of deal, it’s far from a certainty. Meanwhile, Kilgore — who started three games when Reiter was injured in the first half of the season — could likely be signed for much less; the ten-year veteran came to Kansas City on a minimum-salary deal last August.

Dickerson was injured December 19 in the SEC Championship game, so it’s unknown whether he would even be available to play in 2021. But he is clearly a talented player who could be a building block in an improved Kansas City offensive line.

Poll

Which player would you like to see the Chiefs start at center in 2021?

This poll is closed

  • 33%
    Landon Dickerson
    (464 votes)
  • 17%
    Austin Reiter
    (241 votes)
  • 5%
    Daniel Kilgore
    (73 votes)
  • 43%
    Someone else
    (600 votes)
1378 votes total Vote Now