On the latest episode of the Arrowhead Pride ”Draft Room” podcast, Bryan Stewart and I talked through plenty of NFL Draft topics from a Kansas City Chiefs perspective — whether it was my top-10 wide receiver rankings or going through a full first-round mock draft.
I wanted to discuss a separate question at the show's beginning: are there any positions we wouldn’t want the Chiefs to spend a draft pick on this year?
Besides quarterback (the obvious), we talked through two specific positions:
Interior offensive line
First of all, the Chiefs are set in the short term and the long term for all three spots among the line's interior. Veteran left guard Joe Thuney is signed through the next three seasons, plus center Creed Humphrey and right guard Trey Smith have earned the right to be viewed as the starters through the rest of their rookie deals.
Behind them, Nick Allegretti has the versatility to be a capable starter at all three spots — although he is a free agent after the 2022 season. Former starting center Austin Reiter was recently signed to the Chiefs on a one-year deal. If he isn't playing right tackle, Andrew Wylie is also still around to provide depth at guard.
Not only do they the significant roles for interior players on the 53-man roster spoken for, but they also only have picks in either the first four rounds — or the very last of the draft at pick 233 or later. They have enough holes at other spots on the roster to use all eight of their top-121 picks to address them and not guard or center.
On top of that, the Chiefs — and NFL teams generally — have shown they can develop interior offensive line from later-round picks at a higher success rate than other positions. A lot has to do with how dependent the position is on other factors; for example, an interior player always has a teammate to either side of them; a tackle is on an island with no help to their outside shoulder.
Kansas City has taken late-round picks and turned them into reliable depth disguised as capable starters multiple times — like Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, Nick Allegretti, Austin Reiter, and Andrew Wylie.
With where their roster is currently, they shouldn’t need to add anything more than a priority undrafted free agent at the interior positions; using one of their seventh-round picks is one way to secure one of those prospects they like.
I proclaimed this take personally on the podcast, so I won’t put Bryan’s name on this take.
This isn’t about the general value of the running back position; it’s about where the Chiefs are currently. They have three backs capable of playing snaps in Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Ronald Jones, and Derrick Gore. I believe Andy Reid will want to add a veteran back — like potentially resigning Jerick McKinnon — at some point, giving them a group of four on game days.
Any more depth should be found from the class of undrafted free agents (or seventh-round picks, again). Similar to the point about interior offensive linemen, there are too many other holes for other positions of need, and picks in the first four rounds could be more valuable used elsewhere.
On top of that, running back isn’t a position you draft for the future. Once you need it, you draft it to maximize the entirety of the four-year rookie contract. I really do believe the Chiefs want a veteran to fill the fourth spot in the rotation — but if they don’t, there will be room for a draft pick to contribute immediately, justifying the pick itself.
All that said, the Chiefs need to maximize this year’s draft class — and the best chance to do so would be to add numbers to more valuable positions.
How to listen to Arrowhead Pride podcasts
Arrowhead Pride podcasts are available on Amazon Alexa, Apple, Google, Spotify and Stitcher. Please rate and review, as this helps us grow AP Radio to reach more Chiefs fans all over the world!
Make sure you subscribe so you don’t miss an episode.