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Mel Kiper mock draft 3.0: Chiefs use No. 31 on a potential starter at tackle

With the way free agency has gone so far, analysts believe the Chiefs will need to address the starting tackle position early in the NFL Draft.

ESPN NFL college/draft analyst Mel Kiper released version 3.0 of his 2021 mock draft on Tuesday. At the No. 31 draft position — for the second mock in a row — Kiper sent an offensive tackle to the Kansas City Chiefs.

31. Kansas City Chiefs: Liam Eichenberg, OT, Notre Dame

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 03 Notre Dame at Northwestern Photo by Daniel Bartel/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Chiefs are shaking up their offensive line, signing guards Joe Thuney and Kyle Long in free agency and letting tackles Mitchell Schwartz and Eric Fisher and interior linemen Austin Reiter and Kelechi Osemele walk (although Kansas City could still bring back one or some of them on short-term deals). And even after retaining Mike Remmers, it makes sense to draft a young tackle who could start down the road. There’s some buzz around Eichenberg, who was the Fighting Irish’s left tackle for the past two seasons. He has great feet and packs a punch in the run game.

At the time of Kiper’s last mock draft, the Chiefs’ outlook at the tackle position was very different. Eric Fisher and Mitch Schwartz were still members of the team, and the Chiefs had yet to lose out on a very aggressive push for the best left tackle available in the free-agent market — Trent Williams.

Also during that span between mocks 2.0 and 3.0, as Kiper mentions, the Chiefs held onto swing tackle Mike Remmers, who could be a decent option at right tackle. They also signed great interior options in Joe Thuney and Kyle Long. What remains is a very obvious need to bolster depth at the tackle position.

The 6-foot-5, 302-pound Eichenberg was a three-year starter for Notre Dame at left tackle, but the prevailing thought is that a move to the right side may be necessary for him to succeed at the next level. Eichenberg was named first-team All-ACC and won the Jacobs Blocking Trophy as the top lineman in the conference in 2020.

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Would you approve of the Chiefs taking T Liam Eichenberg?

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