The Kansas City Chiefs have a lot riding on this year’s draft class. Head coach Andy Reid and general manager Brett Veach need to hit on not just their early-round picks, but also their late-round selections as they strive to keep Patrick Mahomes surrounded by a talented roster. As we have seen in the past, once a team ponies up big money to a quarterback it becomes increasingly difficult to pay other good players on the team and will lead to a lot of attrition with solid veteran players. This just puts more pressure on the Chiefs' brass to continue to draft well and add young and inexpensive talent to this roster.
Luckily for Chiefs fans, Reid and Veach have done a remarkable job in the draft and specifically in the middle rounds. Last year, the Chiefs struck gold with their fourth-round selection of cornerback L’Jarius Sneed, who by the end of the year was arguably the best rookie corner in the NFL. Finding players like Sneed late in the draft is what can keep this team competitive even though they won’t be able to sign many marquee free agents as the big money in Mahomes' contract begins to kick in.
For a team that has been to three straight AFC Championship games and two straight Super Bowls, the Chiefs do have quite a few holes. The team can use another receiver as they lost Sammy Watkins in free agency—Reid loves to play out of 11 and 10 personnel. The team can definitely use help along the offensive line that was decimated by injuries last season and was brutalized by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Super Bowl. Finally, adding to the defense is always a good idea as the team doesn’t want Mahomes and Co. to be forced to score 30-plus points every game for them to have a chance at winning.
Here is a seven-round mock draft for the Chiefs that could closely resemble what they do next week.
Round 1 (No. 31 overall): Terrace Marshall, WR, LSU
This pick came down to Marshall, Jayson Oweh, and Sam Cosmi and ultimately, I felt that Marshall is just too talented of a receiver to pass up. The Chiefs' interest in JuJu Smith Schuster and Josh Reynolds in free agency and the fact that they were unable to land either of them tells me that they will be aggressive in adding another pass-catcher for Mahomes to work with. Marshall’s skill set fits in well with the Chiefs, as he is a long strider who is excellent on vertical and in-breaking routes over the middle. Marshall has very good speed and size and is versatile enough to win inside or outside.
Round 2 (No. 63 overall): Jalen Mayfield, OT, Michigan
Once thought to be a first-round pick, Mayfield’s poor pro day testing and overall lack of sample size are likely to bring him down to round two on many teams' boards. That being said, there is a lot to work with here and he could prove to be a major steal for the Chiefs. Mayfield has very good size and length for the position and is a knee-bender who plays with excellent leverage. While his testing numbers were poor, he plays with good movement skills and can reach the second level with ease. Offensive tackle is a major need for the Chiefs after they released both Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz, so adding a talent like Mayfield in the second round would be a home run.
Round 3 (No. 94 overall): Cameron McGrone, LB, Michigan
Two Michigan Wolverines back-to-back. The Chiefs addressed linebacker last year with the addition of Willie Gay Jr. While Gay Jr. did show promise in his first year, I still believe the team could stand to add another linebacker as I don’t think Anthony Hitchens is dynamic in any way. McGrone has potential to be a very good player for the Chiefs and is a player I think will be a better pro than collegiate athlete. He has very good size and athletic ability and has the range to play sideline to sideline. He is an aggressive tackler who can shoot gaps and make plays in the backfield. McGrone would be a great addition to this Chiefs defense.
Round 4 (No. 136 overall): Patrick Jones II, EDGE, PITT
The Chiefs have two outstanding players along their defensive line in Chris Jones and Frank Clark but outside of those two they definitely could use more juice rushing the passer. Jones II definitely has some juice off the edge and can get to the quarterback in a hurry. Jones II has a very explosive first step and offers an advanced array of rush moves to go along with his natural burst. He is an underrated player in the run game as well.
Round 4 (No. 144 overall): Sadarius Hutcherson, G, South Carolina
Kansas City was aggressive in improving the interior of their offensive line this offseason as they added Joe Thuney and Kyle Long at guard, and also Austin Blythe at center. However, Long is coming out of retirement and has dealt with injuries in the past, so adding depth here would be very wise. Hutcherson is a versatile offensive lineman who can play both guard and tackle. He has good size with a good ability to anchor in pass pro and is a mauler in the running game.
Round 5 (No. 175 overall): Jamie Newman, QB, Wake Forest
This may be a little crazy, but here in the fifth round is when it's OK to take some shots. The Chiefs need to begin thinking about life without backup quarterback Chad Henne and getting a quarterback like Newman who has a really good skill set from a physical attributes standpoint makes a lot of sense. Newman is a well-built quarterback who offers plus arm strength and athleticism. He is a bit inconsistent with his decision-making and accuracy at times, but if any coach can maximize the talent that is there it's coach Reid.
Round 5 (No. 181 overall): Deommodore Lenoir, CB, Oregon
Adding depth at corner is always wise late in the draft because, at the very worst, they could hopefully develop into solid special teams players. Oregon’s Lenoir is coming off a very good senior season and offers inside and outside versatility. He is athletic and very smooth in coverage, showing an ability to flip his hips and run with ease.
Round 6 (No. 207 overall): John Bates, TE, Boise State
Bates is a unique prospect as he has very good size but is also very athletic for a big man. He is a former hurdler in high school and that track speed is evident in his play. He can stress the seam of the defense and shows natural hands. He is developing as a blocker, but his exciting athletic profile should make the Chiefs interested in the sixth round.
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