Kansas City Chiefs 2021 Mock Draft: Midseason Edition
In the midst of a bye week for the Kansas City Chiefs, I decided that it would be a good time to check out The Draft Network's 2021 NFL Draft Mock Draft Machine and do three mock drafts for the Chiefs with a variety of different results. These are all three-round mock drafts with no repeated picks and no trades. (The Draft Network has the Chiefs picking 30th, as they are currently the No. 2 seed in the AFC.)
Here are the results:
Round 1: Pick 30
Mock 1: Asante Samuel Jr. - Cornerback, Florida State
Mock 2: Dylan Moses - Linebacker, Alabama
Mock 3: Chris Olave - Wide Receiver, Ohio State
In my first mock draft, I took Florida State cornerback Asante Samuel Jr., son of former NFL All-Pro Asante Samuel. I know cornerback isn't a position Brett Veach has coveted in past drafts, and that cornerback isn't a position in dire straights at the moment, but Samuel has been incredibly productive for the Seminoles this season, racking up three interceptions on 32 targets, allowing 0.64 yards per coverage snap and being Pro Football Focus' (PFF) fourth-highest graded cornerback in college football with 400+ snaps played.
In my second mock draft, I went to what remains the Chiefs' weakest spot, linebacker, and took Dylan Moses from Alabama. The Draft Network currently has Moses as their 42nd ranked player, but I would still really enjoy this pick. Moses is a great tackler, getting an 80+ PFF tackling grade in all three of his seasons at Alabama, and he has been impactful in his run defense before, getting a 78.4 PFF run-defense grade and having 25 run stops in 2018. There is caution with him in coverage, as he's allowed three touchdowns and had just one interception and zero pass breakups in his last two seasons to this point, but there could be room for improvement with his high-level athleticism.
In my third mock draft, I added some fresh talent at wide receiver and went for Ohio State's Chris Olave. Olave is a high-level route runner with great body control, and he has been highly productive with 1,135 yards and 16 touchdowns in 17 college games over the last two seasons. Olave also has really reliable hands with just three career drops compared to his 79 career catches. Lastly, Olave also is a solid height, standing at 6'1", but he is a bit light at 188 pounds. Regardless, Olave would be a very interesting addition to the receiver group to add to Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, Mecole Hardman, Byron Pringle, and potentially Sammy Watkins and Demarcus Robinson.
Round 2: Pick 62
Mock 1: Jaelen Phillips - Edge Defender, Miami
Mock 2: Quincy Roche - Edge Defender, Miami
Mock 3: Jabril Cox - Linebacker, LSU
In the second round, I put a focus on the team's two weakest defensive positions: edge defender and linebacker. On the first two mock drafts, I went with a pair of Miami edge defenders, and, unfortunately, neither is Gregory Rousseau, who will likely go in the top 10. Despite not being Rousseau, both are among the better edge defender prospects in this draft class.
Quincy Roche joined Miami after a dominant 2019 season with Temple where he earned a 93.5 PFF grade, a 17.3% pressure rate and an incredible 13 sacks. Roche has followed it up with another productive season, having his PFF overall, run defense and pass-rushing grades all above 70 and racking up 26 pressures and four sacks.
Jaelen Phillips has been more productive this year than Roche. Phillips is the only Power Five edge defender with 80+ PFF run defense, tackling and pass-rushing grades. Phillips' natural talent is quite impressive, but the one thing to give pause is his small sample size due to injuries.
Jabril Cox has the tools to be a quality linebacker, and he has shown that on the field with both North Dakota State and LSU. With North Dakota State, Cox won Missouri Valley Conference Defensive Player of the Year in 2018. Pairing Cox up with Willie Gay Jr. could be a total change-of-course from what the Chiefs have shown at the position in recent years, with significantly more speed in the middle of the defense.
Round 3: Pick 93
Mock 1: Tylan Wallace - Wide Receiver, Oklahoma State
Mock 2: Hamsah Nasirildeen - Safety, Florida State
Mock 3: Ben Cleveland - Offensive Guard, Georgia
For the third round, I went with a wide variety of choices here with wide receiver Tylan Wallace, defensive back Hamsah Nasirildeen and guard Ben Cleveland. Wallace is a receiver that shows plenty of ability in contested catch situations, does well in getting yards after the catch and avoids drops, for the most part. He has put up some incredible production in Stillwater, now exceeding 3,000 career receiving yards and adding on 24 touchdowns.
Nasirildeen just played his first snaps of 2020 this past week after recovering from a torn ACL he sustained in the latter part of the 2019 season. In 2019, Nasirildeen was great all around, posting an 80+ PFF grade for overall, run defense, tackling and coverage. Nasirildeen also has the capability to play snaps at cornerback, so he would be a flexible piece in the secondary.
Cleveland is in his third season at Georgia, playing right guard, and he has not allowed a sack or even a quarterback hit at Georgia. The problem there is that he has only 515 total pass-blocking snaps per PFF, a sample size that is lacking a bit. There are also questions about Cleveland's athleticism, but he is looked at as a strong, intelligent player for the Bulldogs at right guard and that could be a nice addition to the Chiefs' interior offensive line, which still has its fair share of struggles.
All of these classes have some very clear benefits to them, and I wanted to make these mock drafts diverse, so there's a nice mix of different positions and holes filled with these three choices. Which one do you think is best? I ultimately preferred Mock 3, as I think Olave could be a great replacement for Sammy Watkins and/or Demarcus Robinson, and Cox could continue to help overhaul the Chiefs' linebacking corps alongside Willie Gay Jr. to create a dynamic young linebacker duo. Along with a new guard who has been successful in the SEC, that would be a nice start to the next class of future Chiefs.