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Kansas City’s awkward draft position may dictate who the Chiefs take on Days 1 and 2

If Kansas City wants to make sure it walks away from the draft with a starting wide receiver, safety or cornerback, then the Chiefs probably have to take that respective player a round higher than his ranking would indicate.

Of note:

  • Kansas City has reportedly already met with Georgia wide receiver George Pickens. However, he would be considered a bit of a reach in Round 1 but probably wouldn’t be available when the Chiefs pick again in the second round.
  • Kansas City also could lose starting safety Tyrann Mathieu and starting cornerback Charvarius Ward to free agency. But the team would have to over-draft if it wants a potential walk-in starter, as the next-best safeties and CBs have early- to mid-second ground rankings.

Such is life for the team that finished with one of the best records in the league last season.

Kansas City will have 10 picks in the upcoming draft, including four in the top 102. However, all of the premium picks are late in their respective rounds after the Chiefs finished with a 12-5 record.

Here’s a look at some of the players who could be available for Kansas City on Days 1 and 2:

Round 1:

Safety

Top player

Kyle Hamilton, Notre Dame (No. 1 in Fanspeak-Jake Rigdon big board). Will he be there at 30? No way; Hamilton should go top-10.

Best of the rest

Daxton Hill, Michigan (No. 33); Jalen Pitre, Baylor (No. 45); Jaquan Brisker, Penn State (No. 52).

Wildcard

Lewis Cine, Georgia (No. 89)

Wide receiver

Top player

Drake London, USC (No. 10); Treylon Burks, Arkansas (No. 12); Garrett Wilson, Ohio State (No. 13).

Best of the rest

Jameson Williams, Alabama (No. 19); Chris Olave, Ohio State (No. 22), Jahan Dotson, Penn State (No. 38).

Wildcard

George Pickens, Georgia (No. 47)

Cornerback

Top player

Trent McDuffie, Washington (No. 7); Ahmad Gardner, Cincinnati (No. 8); Derek Stingley Jr., LSU (No. 9).

Best of the rest

Andrew Booth Jr., Clemson (No. 34); Tariq Woolen, UTSA (No. 35); Kaiir Elam, Florida (No. 39)

Wildcard

Kyler Gordon, Washington (No. 41)

The pick

It would be nice to add another weapon on offense, but there’s a good chance none of the top six receivers will still be available. Likewise at cornerback, as McDuffie, Gardner and Stingley should be long gone by the time the Chiefs pick in Round 1.

That’s why the Daxton Hill pick makes so much sense for Kansas City. It’s going to be hard to replace Mathieu’s playmaking and veteran leadership, but Hill is seen as a chess piece who can be used all over the secondary – similar to Mathieu. The 6-foot, 191-pound junior ran a blazing 4.38 40 at the Combine and would be perfect in the pass-happy AFC West – especially with Russell Wilson now under center in Denver.

Here’s what an area scout for an NFC team told NFL.com draft analyst Lance Zierlein about Hill: “He’s so fast and so athletic that it wouldn’t surprise me if a team tried to make him a full-time cornerback. I think he has that kind of potential.”

 

Round 2

Wide receiver

Who’s left?

Jalen Tolbert, South Alabama (No. 54); Christian Watson, North Dakota State (No. 70)

Wildcard

Alec Pierce, Cincinnati (No. 80)

Cornerback

Who’s left?

Marcus Jones, Houston (No. 56); Coby Bryant, Cincinnati (No. 60); Roger McCreary, Auburn (No. 71)

Wildcard

Derion Kendrick, Georgia (No. 75)

The pick

This is where Kansas City’s awkward draft position comes into play. As the talent pool shrinks, it makes it less likely that any of the next-best players at those positions are still available late in the second round. Hence, why Derion Kendrick could be the pick here for the Chiefs. This might be a tad high for the former Clemson transfer, but he very well could be the best remaining corner at this point in the draft.

During the Combine, Kendrick discussed the off-field issues that led to his transfer from Clemson to Georgia. Here’s what he told On3: “You know, teams are looking for the best. Off the field, mostly, so they don’t have to worry about you getting in trouble, and stuff like that. So yes sir, it has come up. And you know, I own up to my mistakes.”

 

Round 3

Wide receiver

Who’s left?

Wan’Dale Robinson, Kentucky (No. 83); John Metchie, Alabama (No. 86); Calvin Austin III, Memphis (No. 96); David Bell, Purdue (No. 99); Justyn Ross, Clemson (No. 102)

Wildcard

Skyy Moore, Western Michigan (No. 114)

The pick

All of these players are talented and should at least contribute their rookie years, if not start. With that said, there’s a reason why these receivers are still available at this point in the draft. Robinson had much shorter measurements (5-foot-8, 178-pounds) than listed in college; Metchie (torn ACL) and Ross (missed 2020 with spinal surgery) have injury questions; Austin, like Robinson, is shorter than ideal (5-foot-8, 170); and Moore is a fast-riser but won’t give you much on special teams and played against lesser competition.

Then you have Purdue’s David Bell, who probably wishes he had a “do-over” at the Combine, as his 4.65-second 40 was tied for the second-slowest among receivers.

Put on the tape, though, and you’ll see why the 6-foot-1, 212-pound junior was once seen as a Round 2 prospect.

Here’s what Pro Football Focus’ Trevor Sikkema said about Bell: “Purdue wide receiver David Bell won’t be labelled the biggest or fastest player at his position available in the 2022 NFL Draft, but the junior from Indianapolis is the type of player analysts and scouts describe as ‘natural’ — someone who makes the game and position look easy. That’s been a theme in his football journey since the moment he picked up a ball.”

What will the rest of Kansas City’s draft look like? Click here for Fanspeak’s latest Chiefs mock draft.

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