It's time to draft.
With Marvin Jones Jr. at wide receiver, Tarell Basham at defensive end, Kevin Pierre-Louis at will linebacker and Austin Reiter re-signed in Part 2 of our mock offseason, the Kansas City Chiefs have filled the glaring holes on the roster outside of the tackle position.
The time has come for a mock draft.
In this mock draft (which was run on nflmockdraftdatabase.com), all players selected were not in the top three players remaining on the big board provided at the time. This is to make any draft picks in this mock draft a tad more realistic by removing any players that inexplicably fell due to the randomness mock draft simulators have baked into them innately.
So, how did the Chiefs' draft turn out?
Round 1, Pick 31: Samuel Cosmi, Offensive Tackle
Round 2, Pick 63: Amon-Ra St. Brown, Wide Receiver
Round 3, Pick 94: Trey Hill, Guard/Center
Round 4, Pick 136: Amari Rodgers, Wide Receiver
Round 4, Pick 144: Talanoa Hufanga, Safety
Round 5, Pick 176: Bobby Brown III, Nose Tackle
Round 5, Pick 180: Tay Gowan, Cornerback
Round 7, Pick 256: Grant Stuard, Linebacker
The Chiefs are pretty much forced to select a tackle within the first two rounds in this mock offseason after releasing Eric Fisher in Part One, but in such a deep tackle class, the bet that a quality tackle falls to the Chiefs at pick 31. In this draft, the Chiefs land Samuel Cosmi. Cosmi is a very large man coming in at 6’7” 310 lbs and he uses that frame to stonewall rushers when pass-blocking. He is more of an absorber at tackle and uses his frame and great balance to stop pass rushers in their tracks. He sometimes gets in trouble against inside moves and quicker guys with a mean first punch which showed in his LSU tape against future-pro K’Lavon Chaisson. Cosmi is merely a fine run blocker and is more of a “stand them up” guy, though he does excel at getting to the second level to find linebackers to block. Cosmi is a day-one starter at left tackle and Chiefs offensive line coach Andy Heck would help refine his game. Cosmi would be a franchise left tackle for the Chiefs from day one which is a heck of a get at the end of the first round.
This wide receiver class is deep. Very deep. Amon-Ra St. Brown is living proof of that fact. The USC wide receiver has an impressive skill set for being a late second-round pick, but in such a deep class, players like him will fall. St. Brown is a refined route-runner coming out of college and showed a diverse route tree inside in the slot and on the outside as a boundary wide receiver. He stacks cornerbacks well, can win at the line with consistency and has good acceleration in the first 10 yards. If there is a knock on St. Brown, it is that he's not really a burner. He's not slow, but he's not fast either. He also does not have an explosive lower body that would lead to game-breaking agility or jumping ability. St. Brown will excel at playing as a big slot or X wide receiver and will live off of intermediate routes with the occasional double move to surprise cornerbacks. St. Brown’s game is a great compliment to Tyreek Hill and Marvin Jones and gives the Chiefs an underneath opinion that can work both inside and outside the hashes.
With the offensive tackle position addressed in round one, it is time to turn inside and build out the offensive line with a mauler. Trey Hill is an interior offensive lineman who can play guard or center, but would most likely play guard for the Chiefs with Reiter coming back in this mock offseason. Hill is a big man, coming in at 6’4” 330 lbs, and he plays like it. He will push people off the ball and with authority. Hill is a mountain who can move which sets him apart from other big men on the inside around this spot in the draft. The fact that Hill is also a decent athlete lets him fit in the Chiefs’ zone-blocking scheme. Hill is the kind of guard the Chiefs need after rolling out the worst run-blocking offensive line in the league last year according to ESPN’s run-blocking win percentage stat. Pairing an excellent ability in the run game with a solid profile in pass protection, Hill is a really nice value at the end of the third to beef up the offensive line.
Double-dipping on wide receiver seems ludicrous, especially considering Marvin Jones was signed in free agency in this mock offseason, but the value of Amari Rodgers in the late fourth round could not be passed up. The Chiefs' system is notoriously hard on rookie wide receivers, so developing receivers now for when Marvin Jones is done with his two-year deal is a forward-thinking move. Rodgers is a smaller wide receiver built to play at Z wide receiver or in the slot and would be able to line up all over the formation in the Chiefs' offense. Rodgers is a dynamic athlete, runs crisp routes and fits into the Chiefs' scheme like a glove. In his final year at Clemson, he was a favorite of Trevor Lawrence, and if Lawrence loved throwing to him, Patrick Mahomes should too. Rodgers gives the Chiefs another speedy wide receiver who understands the nuances of playing wide receiver and surrounds Patrick Mahomes with an incredible cornucopia of weapons.
Fellow Arrowhead Report writer Jordan Foote did an excellent write up on Talanoa Hufanga that you can read here which showed the possibility of Hufanga being a fit for the Chiefs at third safety. Hufanga showed out as a playmaker on the USC defense and projects more to be a box safety as he lacks the true top-end speed and deep-ball instincts to be a free safety, but the Chiefs do not need a safety with that skill set when they already have Juan Thornhill. Hufanga seems like a good attempt at finding a replacement for Daniel Sorensen. Sorensen went back to playing that “does everything a little" safety when Thornhill moved back to his natural free safety position, which is what Hufanga excelled at playing at USC.
With Derrick Nnadi in the last year of his contract, it might be time to look for his replacement. Enter Bobby Brown III. Brown was a stout run-defender in college with limited pass-rushing upside built on a big frame. With running the ball becoming less and less of a focus in the NFL, great interior nose tackles like Brown fall into the later parts of the draft. This will afford the Chiefs the option to take their nose tackle of the future in the draft if they do not wish to sink money into Nnadi after the 2021 season. Brown is one such mid/late round nose tackle to consider and he can rotate with Nnadi during his rookie year.
Tay Gowan was an opt-out for the 2020 college football season and has the long and lean build that the Chiefs love in cornerbacks. Although the Chiefs should be fine with Ward, Sneed, Fenton and Baker at cornerback, it does not hurt to add some more bodies to the room to try and develop more young talent. With how Brett Veach has treated the cornerback position, a late-round flyer on a player like Gowan is certainly in play.
While he is not a great athlete, Grant Stuard does have some downhill ability and could eventually play a role as rotational SAM linebacker. If he does not get to that point he would at least be a good special teamer.
Coming out of the draft in this mock offseason, it is hard not to love how it went.
Here is an overview of what the final roster would look like after the draft.
Quarterback: Patrick Mahomes, Chad Henne, Jordan Ta’amu, Anthony Gordan
Running Back: Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Darrel Williams, Darwin Thompson, Derrick Gore
Wide Receiver: Tyreek Hill, Marvin Jones Jr., Amon-Ra St. Brown, Amari Rodgers, Mecole Hardman, Byron Pringle, Chad Williams, Antonio Callaway, Maurice Ffrench, Jody Fortson
Tight End: Travis Kelce, Nick Keizer, Sean Culkin, Evan Baylis
Tackle: Mitchell Schwartz, Samuel Cosmi, Lucas Niang, Martinas Rankin, Yasir Durant, Tega Wanogho
Guard: Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, Trey Hill, Nick Allegretti, Andrew Wylie, Kelechi Osemele, Bryann Witzmann
Center: Austin Reiter, Darryl Williams
Defensive End: Frank Clark, Tarell Basham, Taco Charlton, Mike Danna, Tim Ward, Austin Edwards, Demone Harris
Defensive Tackle: Chris Jones, Derrick Nnadi, Tershawn Wharton, Bobby Brown III, Khalen Saunders, Tyler Clark
Linebacker: Anthony Hitchens, Willie Gay Jr., Kevin Pierre-Louis, Darius Harris, Grant Stuard, Omari Cobb, Emmanuel Smith
Cornerback: Charvarius Ward, L’Jarius Sneed, Rashad Fenton, DeAndre Baker, Tay Gowan, Thakarius Keyes, Alex Brown, Chris Lammons
Safety: Tyrann Mathieu, Juan Thornhill, Talanoa Hufanga, Amani Watts, Rodney Clemons
Kicker: Harrison Butker
Punter: Tommy Townsend
Long Snapper: James Winchester
With minimal cuts to the roster and a few contract restructures, the Chiefs were still able to accomplish a lot in a salary cap-strapped season.
Many of the urgent holes were filled in free agency with mid-range players on affordable contracts. A couple of those players, like Pierre-Louis and Marvin Jones, project to actually play better than the player the Chiefs played at their positions in 2020 (Niemann and Watkins). Those two signings, coupled with signing Tarell Basham and bringing back Austin Reiter, afforded the Chiefs much more flexibility going into the NFL Draft and only forced the Chiefs to take one position early: offensive tackle.
Samuel Cosmi addressed the dire need that cutting Eric Fisher made. It is always risky to protect your franchise quarterback with a rookie left tackle, but Cosmi, under the tutelage of Andy Reid, Andy Heck and Mitchell Schwartz, is in a perfect spot to learn. The first four Chiefs draft picks were on the offensive side of the ball to accomplish the simple goal of investing in Mahomes. Give him weapons, give him protection, and let him go out and be Mahomes. The offense is getting older now with players like Hill, Kelce, and Schwartz moving through their prime (in Schwartz’s case, maybe being past it), so investing in a youth movement on that side of the ball is needed. Easing the burden on Hill and Kelce especially should be a goal, and a draft of this makeup accomplishes that by adding two more intriguing talents at wide receiver.
Where did this mock offseason fall short?
Defensive end still does not feel solved at the end of this mock offseason. Tarell Basham is a quality starter and bringing back Taco Charlton is a decent depth move, but there is still no high-upside rusher opposite Frank Clark. The 2021 season will be a prove-it year for Frank Clark to show he is worth his contract, as the Chiefs can move on from Clark in the 2022 offseason with a June 1st cut that saves $20 million. Hopefully, in 2021, Clark will start playing up to what he was paid.
On offense, Nick Keizer is the backup tight end, which is not preferred. In this mock offseason, there ended up being easily enough money for the Chiefs to go out and get a better backup tight end in free agency with the Chiefs’ final salary cap landing at $7.7 million with rookie contracts signed. Considering Veach’s recent comments on the backup tight end position, it is hard to see the Chiefs not investing in a good tight end in free agency or the draft. A player like Jacob Hollister is a very interesting name to watch in free agency and would provide a great backup for Kelce. If Hollister was signed in this mock offseason, the Chiefs’ salary cap would fall to somewhere around $6 million.
This mock offseason is just one path the Chiefs could follow over the next few months.
The Chiefs’ actual offseason already seems like it could deviate from this exercise with the news that Eric Fisher could return as early as August. The point of this mock offseason, however, was not to predict what would happen but to show what the Chiefs are capable of doing. With a roster losing many role players and the team sitting at $22 million over the salary cap, it seemed like the Chiefs were stuck treading water this offseason.
This mock offseason shows that the Chiefs have a wealth of options and that the roster could absolutely improve over the coming months.
The Chiefs have cap-creating tools to get a difference-maker to replace Watkins. They can fill their weak points on defense with capable starters. They can build out their offensive line so Patrick Mahomes does not replicate Russell Wilson's warpath a few years down the road. There are many offseasons that are possible for the Chiefs, and it is up to Brett Veach to choose which one to lead the Chiefs down. This mock offseason was just one such future, but it sure is an exciting one.