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Chiefs connected to potential first-round trade-up

NFL Combine Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

It sounds like the Kansas City Chiefs have been making calls about trading up in the first round, according to a new article from Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer on Wednesday evening. Here are the Chiefs notes from Breer:

There’s been a lot of speculation of the Chiefs trading up—and they’ve made those calls through the 20s the past couple days. I understand why a lot of people think it’s for a receiver. And it might be. But I’ve heard it could be for a pass rusher or a corner, too, and I have a scenario that I think is realistic.

The first piece would be moving from 29 to the upper reaches of the 20s to select Elam or Gordon. The second piece would be to take a receiver at 30. And to that end, keep an eye on Georgia’s George Pickens as a potential wild card. Pickens, I’m told, is off some teams’ boards altogether, due to maturity and reliability concerns. That said, he’s wildly talented, and the type of risk that Andy Reid and Brett Veach have hit on consistently.

In fact, if Pickens’s character was clean, and he hadn’t torn his ACL last spring (which cost him most of his final season), there’s a decent chance he’d be a top-10 pick. So while the 30th pick might be a little rich, I could see the logic in doing it—and other teams can, too.

“It’s early for the kid,” one exec said. “But it’s not early for the player.”

Our lead analyst, Ron Kopp, has written a profile on Florida cornerback Kaiir Elam...

If Elam is selected by the Chiefs, he projects to immediately start as an outside cornerback — especially in three-cornerback sets where Sneed moves into the slot. But Elam has the talent to push Fenton as the depth chart’s second corner.

In college, Elam was a shutdown cornerback, producing well in a conference that in recent seasons has consistently sent wide receivers to the NFL. He has the physical abilities to hold up immediately — and also improve Kansas City’s cornerback group. He should be more of an asset than Mike Hughes was in 2021.

Over the long term, Elam projects not only as a capable starter, but a player with enough ceiling to be worthy of a second contract.

...and our Kristian Gumminger did one for Washington cornerback Kyler Gordon.

In defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s scheme, Gordon’s physicality and burst will be a welcome addition to the cornerback group. With his ability to play both outside and in the slot — and the quick burst that allows him to go wherever he is needed — Spagnuolo will have another chess piece to move around.

Gordon possesses elite physical tools: short-area quickness, foot speed and ball skills. While he has some shortcomings, they look like they can easily be fixed — or should go away with more meaningful reps.

Since he only ran the 40-yard dash, Gordon’s NFL combine performance was a disappointment. This, however, should not affect his projection; his tape shows that he is more of a lateral athlete than one with long speed.

In a very talented cornerback class, Gordon has the potential to become a Day 2 steal — but it also wouldn’t be surprising if a contender in need of corner help selected him in the back half of the first round.

Finally, our Rocky Magaña covered Georgia wide receiver George Pickens.

Pickens comes with his red flags. His on-field issues, coupled with his injury history, make him anything but a surefire thing. In his three years at Georgia, he failed to live up to fans’ lofty expectations for him.

Of all of the top-end talent in this draft, I would say that Pickens is the most volatile from an investment perspective. If you told me that after a few months of working with the Chiefs training staff that Pickens will be stronger and more durable, and goes on to become a perennial All-Pro, then I would say I can see it happening.

But if you also said, he is going to have off-field problems and be injured for 80% of his career and struggled to get his footing and make an impact because of it; I wouldn’t be surprised either.

The potential is there for Pickens to be one of the best wide receivers in football. When you watch him on film, there is no weakness to his game beyond his ability to stay on the field.

If the Chiefs end up selecting Pickens, it will be because they liked what they heard when they met with him this week, and if Andy Reid signs off on it, then that’s good enough for me.

You don’t get an opportunity to acquire an elite talent like this every year in the draft. If Pickens is still there when the Chiefs pick at 29, go for it.

Chiefs general manager Brett Veach discussed the idea of trading up during his pre-draft press conference last week.

“We talk about 16 to 18 guys being valued in the first round, and all of a sudden you get to picks 19, 20, 21 and there are still some of those guys on the board, I think you make a decision and see if you can maybe find a trade partner,” said Veach. “If those 16 guys are off the board by the time you get to 19, 20, 21, I think it kind of drives the narrative to just stay put and just collect the assets. I don’t probably foresee a huge jump up, just throwing a haymaker and trying to get into the top 10, unless something unforeseen happens.

“I would say we’ll be flexible, and we’ll let the board talk to us and if there’s value we will, and if not, we’ll just stay put.”

What do you think of these scenarios?


As a Chiefs fan, I’d be happy with...

This poll is closed

  • 44%
    CB Kaiir Elam and WR George Pickens
    (1257 votes)
  • 11%
    CB Kyler Gordon and WR George Pickens
    (334 votes)
  • 43%
    neither of these scenarios.
    (1207 votes)
2798 votes total Vote Now

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