As the second wave of NFL free agency continues, the Kansas City Chiefs have some room for improvement at the tackle and wide receiver positions.
The Chiefs currently need a tackle (even after adding Jawaan Taylor), and they are relying on Marquez Valdez-Scantling, Kadarius Toney and Skyy Moore as the only returners at the receiver from 2022. With JuJu Smith-Schuster signing with the New England Patriots, the Chiefs lost another option at receiver for 2023. Perhaps a reunion with Mecole Hardman is possible, but the Chiefs might be relying on improving their roster through the NFL Draft.
Here's a four-round mock using the Pro Football Focus Mock Draft Machine. For this mock, we will be targeting offensive tackle and receiver, as well as other positions of need (edge rusher, defensive tackle).
Early in this mock, it was trending well for the Chiefs to potentially move up to select their favorite wide receiver. After 13 picks, no wide receivers had been selected. At that point, a target trade partner would be the Detroit Lions' second pick in the first round (18th overall). The Chiefs just needed to get past the Patriots and Green Bay Packers as receiver-needy teams. But, the Washington Commanders surprised all by taking Quinton Johnston (TCU) just a pick after the Patriots selected Jaxson Smith-Njigba (Ohio St.). Then the Pittsburgh Steelers grabbed help for Kenny Pickett by selecting Jordan Addison (USC) at No. 17.
The dropoff at receiver had become noticeable, and the top three tackles were also off the board. The next potential trade candidate could be the Vikings at No. 23 — as their general manager has been very vocal about his preference to trade down in the first round. At No. 23, the Chiefs can draft the sixth edge prospect, the fourth tackle prospect or the fourth receiver. It still looks like staying at 31 would be ideal for the Chiefs.
At No. 31, the Chiefs have three prospects that profile as right tackles in Dawand Jones (Ohio State), Darnell Wright (Tennessee) and Matthew Bergeron (Syracuse). All three of these players could likely start at right tackle Week 1 for the Chiefs but probably would have to stay on the right side long-term. At receiver, the Saints snagged Zay Flowers just in front of the Chiefs, leaving names like Jalin Hyatt (Tenesse) and Josh Downs (North Carolina).
The pick: Darnell Wright, offensive tackle, Tennessee
Analysis: Wright has the highest ceiling of any of these right tackles because of his elite athleticism. The Chiefs choose to get more athletic at tackle in free agency with Taylor. Wright brings more to the table as a pass protector than Bergeron or Jones.
With the next wave of receivers being in play, the Chiefs have several names they can wait on. It's likely many of them will have a similar trajectory as Skyy Moore, but the Chiefs need to get younger at the position either way. However, the wideouts get picked on pretty quickly again, as Josh Downs, Jalin Hyatt and Rashee Rice (SMU) all get selected quickly in the second round.
There are still some great names on the board here for the Chiefs at No. 63. Sam Laporta (Iowa) is a tight end who has been a recent riser on draft boards. He could bring something as a pass-catcher to the offense outside of receiver. The best receiver names on the board at this pick were Tank Dell (Houston) A.T. Perry (Wake Forrest) and Cedric Tillman (Tennessee).
The pick: Adetomiwa Adebawore, edge rusher, Northwestern
Analysis: Adebawore was one of the biggest stories of the Scouting Combine. He is athletic at 6'1" and 280 lbs., which is impressive. He brings a lot of things to the table that the newly signed Charles Omenihu does. He can play on the inside or outside of the line and generate mismatches with his agility.
As Round 3 went by, the Chiefs addressed some of their most significant needs in the trenches, and now they need to get more dynamic at receiver. Holding out hope that Cedric Tillman would be waiting at No. 95, the Chiefs stayed patient, but he went off the board for the Las Vegas Raiders at No. 70.
Needing to prioritize size and boundary play, the Chiefs moved up with the New Orleans Saints for No 71. Kansas City sent picks 95 and 123 to secure a high-upside "X" receiver. With the Chiefs having two fourth-round picks, they get to keep one by doing a pick swap and throwing in Miami's (Tyreek Hill trade) fourth-round pick.
The pick: A.T. Perry, wide receiver, Wake Forrest
Analysis: The 6-foot-3 Perry would instantly be one of the largest targets for Patrick Mahomes. Perry was a multi-sport athlete in high school, including basketball — which shows up in his ability to track the ball and win contested catches.
After the trade-up for Perry, the Chiefs are content to let the draft board play to them. They've addressed their three biggest needs with their three best draft assets. They now have the flexibility to go "best player available" all the way down to No. 134. There are still many good prospects on the board here, but most of the premium positions have been sorted through.
The pick: Moro Ojomo, defensive tackle, Texas
Analysis: Ojomo fills the Derek Nnadi and Khalen Saunders void for 2023. Like most mid-round defensive tackles, he profiles as a run stuffer with some pass-rush upside.
The bottom line
Overall, the Chiefs walked away from this exercise with at least three potential starters.
Wright, Adebawore and Ojomo could be Day 1 contributors for the Chiefs. Perry would likely take some time to develop, as most rookie receivers have under Reid. However, he brings a skill set the Chiefs have not had at the position for quite some time. This mock illustrates how hard it is to get high-value positions with low-value draft capital.