The Chiefs' top draft needs from The MMQB
The NFL Draft is less than a month away, and the Kansas City Chiefs still have some offseason uncertainty. Without knowing the final results of the Chiefs’ plans with Chris Jones, Sammy Watkins and Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, the outlook may seem a bit foggy. Even now, though, a few things are clear: the Chiefs are a Super Bowl-winning team that can continue to get better this offseason.
For this team to pick up where it left off, head coach Andy Reid and GM Brett Veach must fill in some cracks. The biggest is in the secondary, where starting left corner Bashaud Breeland and unheralded utility DB Kendall Fuller are both gone. Breeland’s job can be filled by a traditional corner; Fuller’s is a different story. Late last season he became Tyrann Mathieu Lite for KC, operating at both safety spots and in the slot. His versatility made the actual Tyrann Mathieu even more valuable.
In front of the secondary, it would be nice to draft another edge rusher to go with Frank Clark (unless the Chiefs bring back Terrell Suggs, who is still very viable playing 20-25 snaps a game). But if the Chiefs have a linebacker they love, they should go there first. Kansas City’s incumbent linebacking unit—Anthony Hitchens, Damien Wilson and Ben Niemann—played much more efficiently as they grew more comfortable in coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s scheme, but it’s still not a particularly fast group. Plus, Wilson and Niemann are in contract years.
On offense, it’s just a matter of touching up some details: a backup to tight end Travis Kelce is needed (Blake Bell filled this role admirably in 2019 but recently signed with Dallas); a replacement must be found for free agent Demarcus Robinson, who was the No. 3 or 4 receiver (depending on the package); and a multidimensional running back to pair with the seemingly unbenchable Damien Williams wouldn’t hurt. (Williams is also due for free agency in 2021.)
Something to remember: When you have superstars like Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill and Kelce, the players around them are automatically boosted. So if the Chiefs ignore any of these “needs” on offense and simply promote some of the fringe players from last year’s preseason roster or practice squad, Chiefs fans need not cry out.
Gary Gramling also gave Chiefs fans a few names to keep an eye on when the Chiefs are on the clock in the Top 100:
Top-100 Targets (Kansas City owns picks 32, 63 and 96): They’ll be able to find back-seven help at the end of the first round. If they want that versatile piece to replace Fuller, they should probably look to the safety group. Alabama’s Xavier McKinney would be an ideal fit if he makes it to the end of Round 1, as does LSU’s Grant Delpit (though his inconsistencies as a tackler might be too much to overlook). If they wait until Day 2, Utah’s Terrell Burgess can fill a lot of different roles. Both LSU’s Patrick Queen and Oklahoma’s Kenneth Murray would bring needed athleticism to the linebacking corps if they’re available late in the first; that position group is thin though, and K.C. might have to pounce if one of them makes it to 32. While he’s not exactly filling a need, LSU RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire would be electric in this offense should he make it to the end of Round 2.
For MMQB's look at the entire AFC West, click here for the full article.