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Chiefs will likely need to trade up for first-round receiver

A Monday note from the NFL Network host shows Kansas City may need to be aggressive for the player it wants to pair with Patrick Mahomes.

Denver Broncos v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images

On Monday, NFL Network “Good Morning Football” host and renewed Arrowhead Pride advocate Peter Schrager made a few noteworthy comments about one of the Kansas City Chiefs’ 2022 positions of need: wide receiver.

The Chiefs are returning Mecole Hardman and have added both JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdez-Scantling in free agency. Still, the departure of Tyreek Hill via trade to the Miami Dolphins (and to a lesser extent, Byron Pringle to the Bears and Demarcus Robinson to the Raiders) has made drafting a potential day-one contributor at wideout a serious consideration.

Let’s go to Schrager:

SCHRAGER: “I’m told there are five first-round-worthy wide receivers in this draft. Here are the top five wide receivers — order them however you want. Here are the names: Jameson Williams (Alabama), Chris Olave (Ohio State), Garrett Wilson (Ohio State), Treylon Burks (Arkansas), Drake London (USC). That’s five guys.”

At Arrowhead Pride, we have profiled Williams (link here), ranked them in February (link here) and before that in December (link here). The Chiefs have also been tied to Georgia’s George Pickens.

SCHRAGER: “There are 32 teams in the NFL, there are about 26 with first-round picks, and if you start getting to the 20s and the 30s, there are a lot of teams who are going to want to take a wide receiver. They might be gone by then. I say all this to say — a Green Bay at 22 — they may have to trade up to get one of these players. New Orleans — who has the 16 and the 19 — they might have to trade up to get one of their guys. The Chargers at 17: they might need to trade up. There might be a run on these wide receivers with their only being five first-rounders. At 8 with Atlanta? Maybe 10 with the Jets? Washington has 11... all these people at home, who are like, ‘Oh, we’ll just take a wide receiver in the 20s. Hey, we’ll just get the best wide receiver. Guess what? There might not be. So I would say this — there are five that have first-round grades. Keep an eye on those.”

This brings up an intriguing puzzle to be figured out for Chiefs general manager Brett Veach as he arguably enters his most important draft as the team’s lead personnel man. Schrager has become as plugged-in an NFL insider as they come. If his suggestion that wide receiver-needy teams such as New Orleans and Green Bay will have to trade up at 16 and 22, respectively, Veach will undoubtedly need to trade up for the receiver of his choosing rather than waiting at 29 or 30.

It is important to note that, at the time of this writing, there are still 17 days between now and the first overall pick. Maybe the Chiefs manage to bring in Odell Beckham Jr., in whom they had an interest last year. Perhaps DK Metcalf actually is available, and Veach pulls off another pre-draft stunner. Jarvis Landry has still yet to sign with a club.

But say none of those scenarios come to fruition — and the Chiefs enter the draft weekend with the lingering hole to fill. They have all the ammunition to trade up, as they enter the draft with 12 selections. In addition to those two first-rounders, the Chiefs have two picks apiece in Rounds 2, 3 and 4.

Let’s assume the Chiefs see the NFL Draft as the solution for their WR1 of the future (and potentially the present), and they do want to trade up to the No. 10 selection. The two first-rounders may get it done, or it’s possible the Chiefs could move one of their first-rounders and their two second-rounders. Considering their other significant needs at EDGE and defensive back, could they really afford to do this? Do they sit back, keep the picks and go best player available? Do they take an EDGE or wide receiver with one of their picks, then trade back for more dart throws?

As explained on these pages before, with the trade of Hill for picks, Veach and his staff have bet on themselves. They have previously shown us they can be aggressive.

The Chiefs don’t draft until 29 and 30, but I would recommend strapping in for the whole evening. Thursday night of the NFL Draft is primed for the Chiefs to make waves.

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