Welcome to Mock Draft Monday, a weekly feature from Brendan Dzwierzynski getting you prepared for the 2020 NFL draft from all angles, specifically as it pertains to the Kansas City Chiefs (and the rest of the league, too).
It’s finally draft week, an oasis in the sports desert we currently find ourselves in. Obviously, we are facing far larger issues as a society than which mock drafts are the most accurate this year, but this is a sliver of normalcy in a world that currently is anything but.
The Kansas City Chiefs own the 32nd pick in this year’s NFL draft, and one in each of the first five rounds total. With a need to build a roster with cheap talent, though, don’t be surprised if Kansas City wheels and deals once the draft starts to move back and add more capital.
The reigning Super Bowl champions are in a luxurious position right now, with no dire needs that need to be addressed as soon as possible. With that in mind, the Chiefs can truly live up to the “best player available” draft philosophy. That’s not to say they couldn’t use to fortify a few positions, and analysts are split on which spots need support the most.
With the draft mere days away, let’s take a look at who the experts think the Chiefs will draft in the first round (and beyond) this year.
We’ll have more on Gladney later, but the reason we’re starting with King’s mock draft is because of this nugget in his write-up:
Craziest rumor of the first round: Chiefs want to trade up for Henry Ruggs if he falls into the twenties. Insane. Do they want every sub 4.35 guy in the National Football League? A couple of theories: There are only two very good cover corners in this draft, Okudah and Henderson, and they’d be long gone by the time the Chiefs could make a reasonable offer. Sammy Watkins is a short-termer, probably only one more year in KC, so another quick-twitch guy would fit either this year or next. Finally, fast guys with slight builds who collide with defenders tend to get hurt, so Ruggs would be good insurance for that in 2020 and a stalwart beyond that.
That’s significant, to say the least.
The Chiefs’ interior offensive line is certainly in need of fortifying, and Cushenberry is arguably the second-best IOL in this draft (he’s naturally a center). Coulter is an intriguing pick in the fourth round, a small-school receiver with a high ceiling that wouldn’t need to do much offensively in Year 1. McFarland in the fifth round is a good player and spot if Kansas City wants a running back.
Dobbins is a good player. He would also be a luxury pick at a position the Chiefs already feel like they have filled well. This is not at all a value pick for Kansas City.
Back to the offensive line idea, this time with the consensus top interior lineman in the class. Ruiz shined at Michigan in his career and would be an improvement for the Chiefs at either center or guard.
Great minds think alike.
Again with the running backs. Like Dobbins, Swift is a good player who can probably be a Day 1 No. 1 back for some team. But the Chiefs do not build around the running game, they build around their all-world quarterback. Why would you invest in someone who takes the ball out of Patrick Mahomes’ hands? Dantzler is a small corner but has great speed. He’s projected all over the middle rounds this year.
The running back thing is just so tired. Igbinoghene is a project, an incredible athlete who was moved to corner after getting to Auburn. He’s got a high ceiling, but development is key.
Risdon calls this his “What I Would Do” mock draft, and his pick is also what I would do. Protecting your franchise (Mahomes) is paramount for Kansas City. Picking Swift is more stomachable in the second round. It’s still a luxury, but the value is better.
Another Swift pick. It’s low-hanging fruit. Cushenberry at 63 overall would be good value for a starting-caliber player who could take over for either Austin Reiter, Andrew Wylie or Laurent Duvernay-Tardif right away. Carter can play cornerback or safety, but NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein gave him a “priority free agent” draft grade.
Gladney may not make it all the way to No. 32, but he’d be a stellar addition if he does. He’s long and athletic with good speed on the outside. That all compensates for what he lacks in size.
Baun’s best fit is as an OLB in a 4-3 base, which meshes with the Chiefs. He’s got EDGE skills and plays with range, both of which are plusses for a weak linebackers group.
Another Gladney pick, which would undoubtedly make the Chiefs’ secondary better (from a depth perspective at the bare minimum). A second-round running back still seems like a misallocation of assets, but Akers is a nice player at a price that’s likely less steep than that of one of the top three running backs.
This is an excellent mock draft for Kansas City. Ruiz is a smart pick early. I love the Bryce Hall pick at 63, especially with his medicals coming back clear. A running back in the third round is tolerable, and Benjamin is an exciting prospect after he lit it up at Arizona State.
I think Taylor is the best of the top three running backs in the draft this year. He’s still not worth a first-round pick.
Johnson’s biggest strengths are his physicality and constant fight in coverage, which make him a fun prospect. Claypool is an interesting choice, a good player at Notre Dame who can line up anywhere. I liked Benjamin in the third round but love him in the fourth. Jones had the worst RAS of anyone who worked out at the combine. That’s … not good.
If Patrick Queen and Kenneth Murray are off the board, Baun’s the next best option at linebacker at the end of Day 1.
It’s a weak year for interior linemen, so getting the best one available would be a coup for the Chiefs.
This may be considered a reach, but Arnette is undervalued as a prospect because of who he played with at Ohio State (likely top-five pick Jeff Okudah).
You can’t go wrong with either of these options. With any pick at corner, it just comes down to whether or not they fit the very particular needs for Steve Spagnuolo’s defense. Ruiz feels like a safe investment.
The most interesting part of Fischer’s pick is pointing out that the Chiefs likely hope Utah State quarterback Jordan Love falls so they can trade No. 32 to the highest bidder. A trade back for any number of reasons would be smart business for Kansas City.
Now this is an interesting choice. Delpit was considered a potential top-10 picks mere months ago, but uneven tape and injuries in 2019 have dinged his draft stock. He was tremendous in 2018, though, and if he’s healthy he could be a steal late in the first round. Given the Chiefs’ relative depth at safety, though, this would be a luxury pick (for now).
Thank you to NFL Mock Draft Database for access to hundreds of mock drafts this year. For more Mock Draft Monday posts, click here.