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AP staffers weigh in on the Chiefs’ moves in Day 1 of the NFL Draft

Our contributors predict Kansas City’s Day 1 moves.

2021 NFL Draft Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

By the end of the weekend, we’ll know a lot about the Kansas City Chiefs’ roster construction for the next three years. And we’ll also know which AP staffer had the best (educated) guesses on the team’s 12 draft picks.


John Dixon (@Arrowheadphones)

Prediction: Brett Veach wants to trade up, but can’t.

As the saying goes, it takes two to tango. And unfortunately, the Chiefs GM can’t find a dance partner. So he does the next best thing: when he’s on the clock, he doubles down: taking his favorite remaining healthy EDGE with the 29th selection and Michigan EDGE David Ojabo at 30. The healthy guy is then set to play across from Frank Clark in 2022, while Ojabo is there to take Clark’s place in 2023.

Talon Graff (@CoachGraff34)

Prediction: Chiefs trade up for a wide receiver and take a future edge-rushing star at 30

The Chiefs haven’t made a drastic trade-up since doing so for Patrick Mahomes in 2017. This time, the front office goes out to get a top-tier pass catcher for their quarterback. Whether it’s Jameson Williams, Garrett Wilson or Chris Olave, GM Brett Veach will try to aggressively get his next star wideout.

Then at 30, they look toward the future by selecting an elite prospect with an unfortunate injury: Michigan EDGE David Ojabo. A timeline for his healthy return is murky — but how often will the Chiefs have an opportunity to grab two top-15 talents in the same class?

Kristian Gumminger (@kgumminger)

Prediction: Chiefs trade up to 21 to pick up an EDGE

It may not be the sexy pick, but the Chiefs are going to move up to 21 to select George Karlaftis — who can play opposite Frank Clark on Day 1. They are going to have to sacrifice pick 29 and some Day 2 picks to make it happen, but it gets done to lock down that spot.

Then they come back and make everyone happy, ending the night by selecting Georgia receiver George Pickens. Get ready for the Mahomes/Pickens highlight reels for the next five years!

Ron Kopp Jr. (@Ron_Kopp)

Prediction: Chiefs pass on wide receiver to add high-ceiling defensive starters.

We don’t often get to see the Chiefs use first-round picks, but utilizing the value of the asset has always yielded an immediate starter in return — whether that’s trading for Frank Clark or Orlando Brown Jr. or drafting running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire.

I don’t believe the selection of wide receivers available to the Chiefs at the bottom of the first round will be ready to make that same level of instant impact as the defensive ends and cornerbacks they could get. And those are two positions where the the team truly needs starters.

That’s why I believe the Chiefs will select Michigan defensive back Daxton Hill — and then improve their edge pass rush by selecting Penn State’s Arnold Ebiketie.

Rocky Magaña (@RockyMagana)

Prediction: Chiefs trade out of pick 30 as a quarterback-hungry team jumps the Lions to get their guy.

While I think Veach and his team will be active on the phones all night, I don’t think the board is going to fall in their favor — where they would feel comfortable jumping up to get a guy. Instead I think a handfull of players for whom they have high second-round grades will be there when they are on the clock.

With pick 29, I think the Chiefs take the best player among the edge rushers , cornerbacks and wide receivers then available. Look for guys like Boye Mafe from Minnesota or George Pickens from Georgia. #PickensToKC.

But with pick 30, I think there will be a team like the Seattle Seahawks or Houston Texans that will want to jump up to get the developmental QB of their choosing — while also gaining a much-needed fifth year of control. The Chiefs will then have addtional mid-round picks at their disposal.

Jared Sapp (@TrumanChief)

Prediction: Brett Veach shocks Chiefs Kingdom by actually picking at 29 and 30.

All offseason, it seems we have been waiting for the real Brett Veach to show up — the one who aggressively targets his guys at all costs. So far, that version of the Chiefs’ GM has not shown up — and I think the patient approach continues this weekend. The Chiefs will let the board fall as it does on Thursday night. At the end of the first round, the Chiefs will pair the selection of an underwhelming remaining EDGE player with a splash at wide receiver: George Pickens or Christian Watson.

Stephen Serda (@StephenSerda)

Prediction: Chiefs stay put at 29 and 30.

There’s some urgency for the Chiefs to take a big swing by moving up on Thursday night. But the way they’ve approached this offseason, I find it hard to believe they’ll get a deal done. I find it far more likely they stay put at 29 and 30 to select Penn State edge rusher Arnold Ebiketie — and in a dream scenario, then take Georgia wide receiver George Pickens. With 12 total picks there’s a high likelihood they do move picks around, but I think that movement comes in Rounds 2-4 — although if they do want to make a big splash in Round 1, the Houston Texans have already admitted to being serious about moving back from their 13th pick. The Chiefs need to add playmakers in this draft — and their best chance of doing so is by being smart with their draft assets.

Matt Stagner (@stagdsp)

Prediction: The Chiefs trade up for an EDGE and take a receiver at 30.

This scenario is predicated upon something unexpected happening.

Everyone believes the premium EDGE rushers are going in the top-10 picks. One of them would have to slide in order for them to be within reach of the Chiefs practical trade-up possibilities. There are four guys who fit this category. Two of them will likely go to Jacksonville (Trayvon Walker) and Detroit (Aidan Hutchinson) at the top of the draft. That leaves Kayvon Thibodeaux and Jermaine Johnson II as possibilities for a Chiefs trade up at pick 12 or 13.

The Chiefs would need to trade something like pick 29 + pick 50 + pick 136 to get Minnesota’s or Houston’s pick. For the sake of this prediction, I’ll say it’s Thibodeaux, given that some teams will pass on him due to attitude concerns.

Then at pick 30, the Chiefs add a receiver with tantalizing upside: Christian Watson. Some think he could go later — but his elite athletic profile says he won’t make it to pick 62, so Brett Veach pulls the trigger. The same could be said about George Pickens, who would also be a great pick here if they prefer him over Watson. Starting this draft with elite potential at two big positions of need will set Kansas City up the for the future.

Bryan Stewart (@BryanStewart_)

Prediction: The Chiefs trade up for WR Chris Olave and select DE Drake Jackson at pick 30.

The NFL is now a full-blown offense-driven league. The AFC specifically is loaded with great quarterbacks whom the Chiefs will need to be able to beat in shootouts. To solidify their offense and round out what will be a better overall set of receiving weapons for quarterback Patrick Mahomes in 2022, Brett Veach goes up and gets a wide receiver — either Ohio State’s Chris Olave or Alabama’s Jameson Williams — to be the long-term No. 1 receiver. At the end of the night, they nab a high-upside starting defensive end by taking either Minnesota’s Boye Mafe, Penn State’s Arnold Ebiketie, or Southern California’s Drake Jackson.

Pete Sweeney (@pgsween)

Prediction: The Chiefs trade up in Round 1 for a wide receiver but keep pick No. 30, leaving Day 1 with a receiver and either a defensive back or pass rusher.

Mock draft season (and really, draft speculation season as a whole) isn’t my favorite because mock drafts can typically be ripped up within the hour of the draft kicking off. Then the next team reacts, and then another reacts — and then yet another reacts. You get it.

With the Chiefs picking 29 and 30, I don’t think they have one name they like at wide receiver. My guess would be they have two or three in a deep crop, and if one of those names falls to the magic pick — a spot in which you can still keep that second first-round pick — the Chiefs pull the trigger and go get the next big weapon for Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid. Then they presumably use pick 30 to address another need — which might just be a cornerback.