It is officially Mock Draft Season. Like every pundit, I have my own thoughts on where the Chiefs need to look for help. In my 4-round Mock Draft 1.0 for the Kansas City Chiefs, I’ll show you how the Chiefs can reload for another Super Bowl run.
Cameron Thomas, EDGE, San Diego St.
I don’t know if you know this, but the Chiefs Defensive Line was less than impressive this year. The Chiefs ranked 29th in the league in sacks and 31st in yards-per-carry by opposing running backs.
That’s not good. In fact, it’s horrible.
With the likely departure of Frank Clark and very little behind him to fill the void, the Chiefs go with one of the top EDGE prospects in the draft with their 1st pick.
Cameron Thomas is 6’5” and 270 lbs. That is exactly what Steve Spagnuolo would order if he could build his ideal EDGE. Thomas has an almost 80” wingspan and displays rare athleticism for such a big frame.
Thomas has been virtually unblockable all year and is shooting up draft boards with comparisons to J.J. Watt. Yeah, the Chiefs could use a guy like that.
Damone Clark, LB, LSU
If the departure of Frank Clark is almost guaranteed, so is the likely departure of Anthony Hitchens. Hitchens is a solid LB, but Nick Bolton is the future at the MLB position. Bolton is a savvy, tackling machine who can call the defense and provide a touch more speed. We all know Willie Gay is like a velociraptor, running sideline-to-sideline with abandon.
That leaves the last spot in the typical 4-3 alignment to Ben Niemann. That’s not an upgrade. In the 2nd round, the Chiefs take Damone Clark to complete their trio of athletic linebackers for the future.
Clark is 6’2” 240 and has decent pass rushing skills. He is also noted for his high motor and his ability to run sideline-to-sideline. Coming out of LSU, you know he’s NFL ready and will adjust to the level of competition quickly.
Marcus Jones, CB, Houston
This will be a year of big transitions in the Chiefs secondary. Tyrann Mathieu is a free agent, Dan Sorensen is a declining player who proved to be a liability too often. Rashad Fenton and L’Jarius Sneed are the only CBs currently under contract. Mike Hughes and Deandre Baker are possible, if not likely, returns. Charvarius Ward is a UFA who will be looking for a big payday.
The Chiefs address this emerging hole with Marcus Jones, a versatile slot corner who has a nice blend of tackling and coverage ability. Jones is a plus-athlete who will also figure into special teams.
In the pass-happy NFL, young secondary talent is at a premium. The Chiefs get a good one here with Jones.
Round 3 Compensatory Pick
JoJo Domann, LB/S, Nebraska
With Ryan Poles becoming the GM of the Chicago Bears, the Chiefs get an extra pick at the end of the 3rd round.
I will admit that WR or DT is a real possibility here, but in my mock draft, JoJo Domann fell to this spot and he’s one of my draft crushes this year.
Domann is a guy the late John Madden would love. He’s just a football player. He’s over-sized for a safety and undersized for an NFL linebacker, but he’s simply a joy to watch play.
He is who we hoped Dorian O’Daniel might become. Domann has good coverage skills and can easily match speed and size with TEs and RBs out of the backfield. As a LB, he is above average in coverage.
But Domann loves to tackle, too. He flies around on tape and is clearly an energetic leader. With defenses playing nickel and dime so often, Domann is a tremendous chess piece for Spagnuolo to use in coverage, mirroring the QB, covering backs in the flat, or picking up late releasing TEs.
Dave Toub would also love Domann on special teams. With O’Daniel and Sorensen likely gone, Domann can fill both roles with one player.
Alec Pierce, WR, Cincinnati
Would anyone like to add a 215 pound, 6’3” WR to the lineup? Uh, yeah. That would be ideal.
After Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce, the Chiefs receiving options fall off a cliff.
Mecole Hardman is the definition of a gadget player – great speed, so-so hands, and a ceiling that he appears to have hit.
I personally don’t want Demarcus Robinson back. He is the master of running backwards from the first down marker, hates to get hit, isn’t fast or particularly reliable, and doesn’t stand out on special teams. Why is he still here?
I like Byron Pringle, but he is an 3rd or 4th NFL WR, not a #2. He has shown flashes of being reliable, but he can’t stretch the field like Hardman, he’s not a special teams monster like Marcus Kemp, and he’s probably at his plateau as an NFL receiver.
While I think there is a good chance the Chiefs address the #2 WR issue in free agency, getting some young talent in the hopper makes sense here.
Pierce is a big target with above-average hands. While not as fast as Hill or Hardman, he has enough to be a legitimate downfield threat. He loves to block and, with his size, might spring more runners than the diminutive Hardman or Pringle.
Last but not least, Pierce can play wide or in the slot. With versatility, size, and excellent hands, he would be a perfect pick in the 4th round.
The Chiefs have a slew of late round picks they can use as capital to move up in the mid rounds. If they choose to stay pat, look for them to add a young body to the OL, a RB to throw in the mix, and a safety.
It would not surprise me to see the Chiefs pick safety early in the draft. If the decision is made to walk away from Mathieu, they will need immediate help at that position. Look at Jaquan Brisker from Penn State or Lewis Cine from Georgia at the end of the first round.
There are quality EDGE players well into round three and solid LB prospects throughout the first 5 rounds. I look for the Chiefs to be heavy on defensive picks at every level with a WR thrown in the mix in the 3-5 round range.
When Free Agency opens next month, the Chief’s needs will shift and I’ll revisit their draft scenarios in Mock 2.0.