Chiefs pick offensive lineman Mitch Morse in second round
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) Chiefs general manager John Dorsey loves dropping that old cliche about selecting the ''best player available'' when Kansas City is on the clock in the NFL draft.
If that's true, the best players available filled some glaring holes.
The Chiefs shored up their offensive line in the second round Friday night by picking Mitch Morse from nearby Missouri, then traded with the Minnesota Vikings to move up four spots in the third round and grab speedy, athletic wide receiver Chris Conley out of Georgia.
Then, they grabbed their second cornerback of the draft in Oregon State's Steven Nelson with the No. 98 overall pick. The Chiefs had chosen Washington's Marcus Peters in the first round.
''We addressed some needs we had to get filled here,'' Dorsey said simply.
The 6-foot-6, 305-pound Morse played center and guard for the Tigers before shifting to right tackle in 2013 and left tackle last year. He could play any of those positions for the Chiefs, but he is likely to shift to center after Rodney Hudson signed with Oakland in free agency.
''If I have to move back to that position, I'll be just fine,'' Morse said. ''I had a lot of game-time experience at center, if that's where the Kansas City Chiefs need me to play.''
The Chiefs also had needs at wide receiver and inside linebacker, but runs at both positions early in the second round left the Chiefs with taking the best player on their board.
It wound up being a local player, too. Morse has family in Kansas City.
The selection caught even Morse by surprise. He admitted that he didn't think he would be picked as high as No. 49 overall, and certainly not by the Chiefs. They interviewed him at the scouting combine but hadn't been in contact in the lead-up to the draft.
Asked whether he remembered his conversations with the Chiefs at the combine, Morse replied: ''Man, I was so star-struck at the combine I was just trying to make a good impression.''
The Chiefs' offensive line struggled much of last season. Eric Fisher is still trying to live up to expectations as a former No. 1 overall pick at left tackle, while Donald Stephenson and Jeff Allen are expected to compete at right tackle. Ben Grubbs and Zach Fulton are the front-runners at the two guard spots, but untested Eric Kush is the only center on the roster.
In other words, Morse could fit into a number of spots on the offensive line.
''That's the fortunate thing with me. I was able to move around a bit,'' Morse said. ''I'd like an opportunity to stick with one position, but wherever I can help out the Chiefs.''
Since arriving in Kansas City three years ago, general manager John Dorsey and coach Andy Reid have invested heavily in the offensive line. Along with trading a fifth-round pick for Grubbs earlier this year, they had used five of their first 16 selections on offensive linemen.
Conley was the first wide receiver they had selected. The 6-foot-2, 213-pound speedster will join free-agent signing Jeremy Maclin in a revamped fleet of pass-catchers after Alex Smith failed to throw a single touchdown pass to a wide receiver all of last season.
''I like to be a guy who studies. I like to pay attention,'' he said, ''and as soon as I saw they were giving me some attention, I paid attention to Kansas City, and who they have on staff there, who they have on the roster. I can't wait to get there and begin working with them.''
Conley will also be reunited with former Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray, who was picked in the fifth round of last year's draft and will again compete for a backup job.
''He texted me as soon as they made the pick,'' Conley said, ''saying congratulations and, `Hey, get ready to come and grind with me again.'''
While Peters should compete for a starting cornerback spot, Nelson might see time early in his career at nickel back. He had 60 tackles and two picks for the Beavers last season.
In today's football, where the game has gotten outside, you can't have enough good corners on your team,'' Dorsey said. ''You'd like to get as many as you can because that's the way football has changed a little bit in the last five years.''
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