It's starting to feel like spring in Kansas City, so that means we're only that much closer to the 2021 NFL Draft and more importantly, football season. As the calendar has flipped to March, we're starting to see some real player movement from week to week as the fourth edition of our mock draft is here.
Arrowhead Report draft analyst Jordan Foote joined me as we created this week's mock draft on today's episode of Roughing the Kicker.
For our mock draft, we partnered with NFL Mock Draft Database and its 2021 mock draft simulator. As for draft settings, we used the recommended realistic setting with strict trading.
Here is our updated 2021 Roughing the Kicker Chiefs mock draft. For more in-depth thought processes on the picks, go listen to the podcast where we give a comprehensive breakdown of each pick.
Round 1, Pick 31: Landon Dickerson - IOL, Alabama
We realize that Landon Dickerson has a checkered injury past, which drives people away and rightfully so. In his five college seasons, Dickerson has suffered four season-ending injuries. But when he's not worried about his ankles or knees, Dickerson is the best center in the game and it's really not close. He even has an award to prove it. In his final season with the Crimson Tide, Dickerson won the Remington Award for the best center in the country, beating out Iowa's Tyler Linderbaum and Ohio State's Josh Myers.
With Austin Reiter and Daniel Kilgore both set to hit the free-agent market this offseason, center is a major position of need for the Chiefs. Laurent Duvernay-Tardif and Lucas Niang are set to return from COVID-19 opt-outs and could possibly occupy other open slots along the offensive line, so perhaps taking a center early in the draft would be a good idea. Dickerson fits the Chiefs' zone-blocking scheme and could also potentially transition back out to guard at the NFL level if necessary.
Round 2, Pick 63: Chazz Surratt - LB, North Carolina
The conversation surrounding our second-round pick was quite a lengthy one. It was by far our most debated pick of the mock draft. With players we thought would fall to No. 63 not there, we were forced to look at other places. There wasn't much on the board when it came to positions of need or even best players available but we thought Chazz Surratt would be a decent move for the future at this position. While the pick gives us 2020 Willie Gay Jr. vibes, there's a good chance Surratt wouldn't see the field a whole lot in year one but that could pay off a season or two down the road when the Chiefs have a solid and young linebacking core.
Surratt is another guy that Jordan looked at early into his series. He said while the fit isn't great now, it could be good down the road.
The Chiefs' top two starting linebackers for next season are set in stone. Anthony Hitchens — who has one year remaining on his contract — will return as the MIKE and Willie Gay Jr. is primed for a larger role after not seeing the field much in year one. Damien Wilson, the team's previous SAM linebacker, is a free agent. Surratt's athleticism fits well in any system, but he'd likely be brought along similar to how Gay was in 2020. The possibility of forming an intriguing linebacker tandem down the road is interesting, but the immediate fit with the Chiefs isn't great.
Round 3, Pick 95: Brady Christensen - OT, BYU
Taking a tackle this late in the draft could be construed as risky but when it's Brady Christensen, you can't go wrong. The 6-foot-6, 300-pound tackle is technically sound and has a good football IQ as well. With that combination, Chiefs offensive line coach Andy Heck can do whatever he wants with him. If there is a need, he could get the call to step in and play right away if need be. All in all, Christensen would be a phenomenal addition to this offensive line.
Christensen is an asset in both the run and pass game, boasting a high floor as a prospect. He has a little work to do, but would likely be able to receive significant snaps very early on in his NFL career. The Chiefs have missed a mauler on the front line, and Christensen could be that player.
Round 4, Pick 127: Tommy Tremble - TE, Notre Dame
Something happened in general manager Brett Veach's press conference on Monday pertaining to the Chiefs' needs that stood out — he mentioned looking for a second tight end. While it's almost always been discussed as a need in Chiefs Kingdom, the organization never truly indicated it was a need until Monday when Veach brought it up unprompted.
When it comes to that position, Tommy Tremble could be a tight end that fits Kansas City's immediate role at TE2. Tremble has the ability to block and occasionally put his hand in the dirt but can also make plays in the receiving game when called upon. Having a second Travis Kelce-type weapon could be a fun toy for Patrick Mahomes to play with and another way this offense could rise to the next level.
Round 5, Pick 159: Jordan Smith - EDGE, UAB
Jordan Smith has been one of the biggest risers so far in the 2021 NFL Draft. Smith started ranked in the mid-200s on the NFL Mock Draft Database's consensus big board and has climbed all the way up to 155. His mix of size and raw athleticism is enticing but he needs to learn how to use his hands and seek contact to make it at the next level. This would be a project pick for sure.
Smith was a part of the first 20 prospects Jordan took a look at for his series and said while he can see a fit in KC, it might not be an easy road for Smith.
Early on, Smith would be nothing more than a situational pass-rusher for the Chiefs. In addition to being a raw prospect, he's light for a Steve Spagnuolo defensive end. Embracing that role would require him to improve his lower-body strength and overall plan of attack. The Chiefs' need for an EDGE is serious but if they're looking for an every-down player capable of working with his hand in the dirt consistently, Smith may not be the best option.
Round 7, Pick 223: Frank Darby - WR, ASU
Two weeks ago we selected Frank Darby at this position. With the way the board fell this time around, Darby was the best player available. It was probably a much-needed pick as we neglected wide receivers through the first six rounds.
Here's what I said about the selection of Darby in Mock Draft 2.0.
You can't go wrong with a physical receiver and that's what Frank Darby is. He has the grit and toughness you love to see and brings it to the wide receiver position. Darby touts good hands and nice range and has showcased the ability to create enough separation to get open but it's unsure if he has the speed to thrive at the next level.
For another perspective on him, here's what Jordan had to say about Darby's fit in the Chiefs offense in his 100 in 100 scout.
Far from a finished product, Darby could be a good developmental X-receiver for the Chiefs. He's fundamentally sound, a decent athlete with good size and would be a great cultural fit with the team. His high football IQ, route-running creativity and solid frame would give Andy Reid something he and his staff could mold into an impact player.
You can watch the full mock draft with Jordan and I's commentary on the Roughing the Kicker YouTube page or you can watch it below.