On the latest episode of the Arrowhead Pride “Draft Room” podcast, Talon Graff and I wanted to think outside the box when it comes to the Kansas City Chiefs’ first few selections in this year’s NFL Draft.
Talon and I each selected a prospect that could shock the fan base if they were available and selected by the Chiefs at the end of the first round. Here are the two players we named:
Talon - Nakobe Dean
Georgia linebacker Nakobe Dean fits the bill as a potential “off-the-wall” first-round draft choice for the Chiefs, given the fact that Brett Veach has taken a linebacker in the second round in each of the last two drafts (Willie Gay, 2020 Pick 63 | Nick Bolton, 2021 Pick 58).
Gay and Bolton enter 2022 as the clear-cut starters in Steve Spagnuolo’s 4-3 defense. In the wake of Anthony Hitchens’ departure, Kansas City signed a pair of linebackers in Elijah Lee and Jermaine Carter, but drafting Dean would add even more talent and depth to the group. Dean is an undersized backer at 5 feet 11 and weighing just under 230 pounds, but he is a rare athlete for the position.
He would fit in as the sub-package cover linebacker that we saw Ben Niemann handle during his tenure. Dean offers value elsewhere with his tenacity and gap control, but he would see immediate work in pass sets.
Considering the amount of time the Chiefs spend in the base defense, would the front office actually consider spending one of their firsts on a cover linebacker? We have less than a month before draft day, so it’s time to get creative.
Ron - Trevor Penning
The Northern Iowa right tackle would absolutely fit into the nastiness that the Chiefs’ offensive line room has developed over the last year.
Penning stood out in games and at the Senior Bowl due to how he finishes blocks — doing so with some bully-like energy and extracurricular shoves. It’s what gets him noticed, but he’s also a potential first-round pick because of how quick his feet are and how natural a mover he is; that combined with the raw power he played with has been enticing enough to be consistently mocked in the first 32 picks throughout this offseason.
It would take him falling past what he’s currently valued at to be a potential Chiefs pick, but it’s not entirely out of the question; not only is he a small-school offensive line prospect, there’s a decent group of offensive tackles to choose from at the top of this year’s class. Someone will have to be the odd man out and slip later than expected.
Suppose he does fall close to the Chiefs’ picks. In that case, they could strongly consider the acquisition of a potential starting right tackle with a very high ceiling and the heightened physicality that they now seem to covet from their starting offensive linemen.
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