Before the Kansas City Chiefs make their first pick in the NFL Draft on Friday night, Arrowhead Pride writers Matt Stagner and Ron Kopp Jr. discussed the biggest questions on their minds.
1. Now that the Chiefs have traded for Orlando Brown, should they still draft a tackle?
Matt: First of all, it’s easy to see why the Chiefs made the trade. Brown is going to be substantially better — especially for the next couple of years — than anyone who could have been within the team’s reach in the draft. But I wouldn’t be upset to see them go ahead and add another tackle — either someone who can play multiple positions like Jackson Carman or Dillon Radunz, or a pure tackle like Stone Forsythe or Spencer Brown who has the athletic ability to push Lucas Niang inside if they pan out. The Chiefs — like many teams in the league — like to draft college tackles and see if they develop into starters at other positions on the line.
Ron: I wouldn’t personally take another tackle in this draft — but if the Chiefs decide to do that, it just shows they’re serious about protecting Patrick Mahomes by investing in the line. And I’d like that. Besides, in an Andy Reid offense, you need to be able to play multiple positions, so drafting an offensive tackle doesn’t necessarily mean they’re taking him to play only at that position.
2. How should the Chiefs prioritize the team’s needs — and which needs require the investment of a premium pick?
Matt: I think there’s consensus on the top needs. In no particular order: center, tight end, cornerback, wide receiver, edge rusher and linebacker. Some of these could be addressed later in the draft — or in free agency — to fill out the bottom of the depth chart. But there are a couple of spots where we’d rather see an investment near the top of the depth chart, to push the rest down.
Ron: Right. I’d prioritize an edge rusher. That’s the position I’d like to see addressed in the second round. It’s the most important position, because if you don’t get a Day 2 talent, you’re depending on Mike Danna, Taco Charlton, Tim Ward and some reserve guys across from Frank Clark. I’d like to see a top 50-60 talent added to the mix there.
Matt: I can see that — but they could, in theory, address that in free agency with someone like Melvin Ingram, with whom they’ve already met. I’d like to see them prioritize tight end. The team hasn’t addressed the position in years — to the point where fans are longing for the days of Demetrius Harris. In this draft, the tight end talent drops off of a cliff after the first few, so I think you address it early — or not at all. Adding a player like Tommy Tremble in the second round could really add dimensions to this Chiefs offense that it hasn’t had recently: someone who can blow open running lanes — and make defenses pay when they are left open.
Ron: Brett Veach’s presser was notable in that he mentioned “depth” when talking about center Austin Blythe. I don’t think they’re content with Blythe at center; they’ve even mentioned Joe Thuney at center multiple times. If Creed Humphrey or Landon Dickerson — who are like Mitch Morse or Rodney Hudson back in the day — are available in the second round, I’d get an early center. Whatever the problem is, Veach does tend to overcorrect — so continuing to address the offensive line makes sense.
Matt: So that’s edge rusher, tight end and center where we could see a premium investment. Wide receiver is conspicuously absent from this list. I know you just wrote an article about how the Chiefs could skip the position altogether given the current depth chart. I could see it go either way. They could address it early with a player like Dyami Brown, who could leapfrog some of the guys already on the roster. If they don’t, I’m not sure I see the point in adding another late-round depth wideout/special-teams prospect. As you mentioned in your piece, they already have long shots like Antonio Callaway, Tajae Sharpe, Maurice Ffrench, Gehrig Dieter and Jody Fortson — just to name a few.
Ron: For the last two needs, I’d prioritize corner over linebacker. I’d like to see an outside corner. I know they tried to address the slot position in free agency to move L’Jarius Sneed outside, but I personally think he should stay inside for now. But Veach has a history: he hasn’t selected a corner in the first three rounds. But they’ve still been fine. When you can find someone who can contribute — like Sneed in the fourth and Rashad Fenton in the sixth — you have confidence you can wait for a cornerback.
Matt: It goes along with the concept of edge rusher being the biggest need — because if you can consistently get pressure from your front seven, that makes life easier for your defensive backs; you can get by with a smaller investment. But what about linebacker? They’re really thin at that position.
Ron: In my head, Anthony Hitchens and Willie Gay Jr. are the two linebackers who are really going to be on the field. But Gay was injured last season, too — so perhaps we shouldn’t count on him being a full-time player.
Matt: It’s clear they aren’t done adding to the linebacker position, but how early can you address it? The true, three-down linebackers go early — so by day three, you’re left with guys who can either stop the run or cover people, but not both. They’ve got Ben Niemann — a player nobody is excited to see get more snaps — but he does seem to find himself in position to make plays now and then. Then there’s Dorian O’Daniel, who has shown some ability to spy quarterbacks — and really close in when he has a chance to hit someone in space. But for some reason, he just hasn’t been given a full-time role on the defense.
3. What is the one thing the Chiefs should NOT do in the draft?
Ron: Please... please... NO running backs drafted!
Matt: No-trade ups — at least not on Friday. I’d love to see Brett Veach be patient and let the board come to him. They’ve already expended a lot of their draft capital — plus there will be talent available at 58 and 63, and the Chiefs will have the flexibility to take the best guy still on the board.
Bonus mock draft for the Chiefs’ remaining picks:
Ron, Pick #58: I’d really like to see an edge rusher — even though there was a run at the end of the first round, when Joe Tryon, Greg Rousseau and Jayson Oweh all came off the board. There’s still Joseph Ossai, Ronnie Perkins and a few others who may be available. But let’s go with Carlos “Boogie” Basham, Jr. He’s disruptive from the edge or inside — and is a great fit for the Chiefs’ defense.
Matt, Pick #63: With the later second-round pick — assuming Dyami Brown is off of the board — the biggest upgrade that could change the Chiefs offense in both the running and passing game is my guy: Tommy Tremble. The Chiefs would be getting their version of George Kittle: a nasty blocker with some playmaking upside.
Ron, Pick #144: One name that keeps coming up — the AP Nerd Squad loves him — is Stanford wide receiver Simi Fehoko. There’s a reason they comped him to DK Metcalf: he’s a big-bodied player who can get deep.
Matt, Pick #175: So now we’ve added two big receiving targets for Mahomes. If the right player is available, Kansas City could go offensive line here — but looking at the board, there are a couple of corners who make some sense. Robert Rochell from Central Arkansas is a good fit and is likely to be available, so we’ll go with a bigger corner with the first fifth-round selection.
Ron, Pick #181: Corner was the next thing that needed to be addressed, but we haven’t yet addressed offensive line. So let’s go with a guy the Chiefs they could try at center, but could also play along the interior line as depth. Pittsburgh’s Jimmy Morrissey is a guy I like — and he has center experience, which is a must.
Matt, Pick #207: Going back to our original list of six needs, it would be poetic to round out this draft with an off-ball linebacker. Let’s go with Buddy Johnson from Texas A&M, a good run defender who could start out at the SAM position, replacing departed linebacker Damien Wilson.