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Best- and Worst-Case Scenarios for Kansas City Chiefs' Top 3 Picks

James DudkoFeatured ColumnistApril 14, 2014

Best- and Worst-Case Scenarios for Kansas City Chiefs' Top 3 Picks

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    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    The worst-case scenario for the Kansas City Chiefs would be failing to land the right playmaker for their passing game with at least one of their top three picks in the 2014 NFL draft.

    General manager John Dorsey and head coach Andy Reid can go wrong if they reach for a physically imposing receiver whose technical skill is raw at best.

    Speaking of best, an ideal scenario would see the Chiefs pick up more than one new addition to their receiving corps. That could depend on a sure-handed flanker still being on the board at the back end of Round 3.

    The dream scenario for Round 4 would see one of the NFL's most safety-needy teams grab a versatile former USC ball hawk.

    Here's how the Chiefs will hope things play out with their top three picks, as well as a look at how things could go wrong.

Round 1, Pick 23 Worst Case: Reaching for Kelvin Benjamin, WR, FSU

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    The Chiefs should avoid risks with their prime pick, and that's just what towering wideout Kelvin Benjamin is. Not many players at his position tip the scales at 240 pounds or stand 6'5".

    But there are plenty of prospects more adept at the nuances of the position. Benjamin is extremely raw and boasts only limited production.

    He caught 54 passes for 1,011 yards in 2013, per cfbstats.com, although Benjamin's 15 touchdown receptions is a more impressive figure.

    However, 2013 was hardly a breakout season for a player who has not matched the efforts of some of the other members of this class.

    There is also the recent report from NFL.com analyst Gil Brandt that Benjamin refused to attend a pre-draft workout because he was " too tired."

    Benjamin's agent quickly refuted the claim, although Brandt remains adamant about his initial story.

    This isn't the first time Benjamin's commitment has been called into question. Unbelievably, even the player himself has raised doubts.

    In August of 2013, Benjamin told Palm Beach Post reporter Tom D'Angelo that he has taken plays off. NFL Media Analyst Charles Davis also cited concerns about Benjamin's weight to Pittsburgh's 93.7 The Fan Morning Show.

    Benjamin's potential as a matchup nightmare is obvious. But that potential shouldn't tempt the Chiefs to overlook some of the real issues surrounding the player.

    As Kansas City Star reporter Terez A. Paylor pointed out, the Chiefs were burned the last time they were enticed by a physical mismatch, 2011 first-round pick Jon Baldwin.

    Back in February, Sports Illustrated scribe Doug Farrar suggested the Chiefs will take Benjamin at 23. Nearly two months later, that is a scenario the team should avoid.

Round 1, Pick 23 Worst Case: Missing out on Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandin Cooks

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    A truly nightmare scenario for the Chiefs in Round 1 would involve seeing a pair of ideal prospects taken before the 23rd pick. Both Brandin Cooks and Odell Beckham Jr. offer the versatility and big-play skills this team needs at wide receiver.

    NFL.com Media Analyst Bucky Brooks believes the Chiefs will covet Beckham in the opening round. Meanwhile, CBS Sports writer Rob Rang suggests Cooks will be the player Dorsey and Reid deem too good to miss on the first night of the draft.

    But it's possible the Chiefs may not have the option of taking either receiver. In his latest mock draft, WalterFootball.com writer Walter Cherepinsky has Cooks going to the New York Jets at 18, while the Eagles snare Beckham one pick before the Chiefs.

    It would be a blow for Kansas City if the franchise misses out on two suitable targets. While two worst-case scenarios is not strictly possible, this is more a case of one following the other.

    If Cooks and Beckham are off the board, the Chiefs might well reach for a high-risk player like Benjamin.

Round 1, Pick 23 Best Case: Marqise Lee Is Still on the Board

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    The best-case scenario for the Chiefs in Round 1 is Marqise Lee still sitting on the board at 23. It's a scenario that has a realistic shot of panning out.

    Sports Illustrated analyst Chris Burke suggests Lee is not creating "buzz" due to injuries and a dip in form in 2013. But anyone who has consulted Lee's 2012 numbers knows he is a true playmaker.

    That season, he recorded 118 catches, including 14 touchdown grabs, according to cfbstats.com. The 6'0", 192-pounder also proved his worth as a credible kick returner.

    After letting Quintin Demps and Dexter McCluster walk in free agency, the Kansas City return game, a team strength last season, could certainly use a boost.

    But Lee's biggest impact would come as a roving weapon in Reid and coordinator Doug Pederson's version of the West Coast offense. In particular, the pair would make great use of Lee's remarkable skills after the catch, a trait highlighted by NFL.com draft pundit Nolan Nawrocki:

    Very good athletic ability. Is a nifty runner after the catch -- can navigate through traffic and create with the ball in his hands. Can shift into top gear and run by tacklers -- terrific acceleration and short-area burst.

    That flair in the open field makes Lee perfect for a scheme built on getting pass-catchers in space via slants and screens.

Round 3, Pick 87 Best Case: Jarvis Landry Is Still on the Board

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    It would be a welcome sight if Jarvis Landry is still available when the Chiefs pick again at the back end of the third round. The reliable pass-catcher should be too tempting to ignore with the 87th pick.

    Landry could still be there thanks to a disappointing 4.77 40-yard dash time at the Combine. CBS Sports writer Dane Brugler projects Landry as a third-rounder.

    Despite the question marks over his speed, there are few receivers in this class as sure-handed and savvy as the ex-LSU standout.

    That makes the physical possession ace a good fit for a team whose receivers can't always be trusted to hang onto the ball.

    Given the question marks at the position, compounded by Dwayne Bowe's current legal troubles, Reid would be smart to acquire more than one impact wideout from this draft.

Round 3, Pick 87 Worst Case: Going Defensive Too Early

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    The decision-makers in Kansas City don't need to target defensive talent in Round 3.
    The decision-makers in Kansas City don't need to target defensive talent in Round 3.USA TODAY Sports

    The third round is a round too early for this team to target defensive help. Despite some woes in the later stages of the 2013 season, the Chiefs remain strong defensively.

    The same cannot be said for the offense. The need for help at wide receiver is obvious, but perhaps equally pressing is the need to bolster an offensive line depleted during free agency.

    Those are the positions this team should use its top two picks to help reinforce. Jumping the gun for a talented defensive back or another pass-rusher would be reckless.

    Reid and Dorsey did some solid work in free agency, adding Joe Mays and Vance Walker to the front seven. While the secondary remains questionable, core talent remains in the form of safety Eric Berry and cornerbacks Brandon Flowers and Sean Smith.

    The Chiefs should bide their time and wait for the next round to help out their defense.

Round 4, Pick 124 Best Case: Selecting Dion Bailey, S, USC

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    The fourth round should offer rich pickings at the safety position. The ideal scenario for the Chiefs would be having Dion Bailey fall to them at 124.

    The former USC star is an underrated free safety who combines opportunism and tenacity. A one-time linebacker, Bailey has enjoyed considerable success since converting to defensive back.

    He picked off five passes and made 62 total tackles in 2013, per cfbstats.com. Bailey has the range to operate in the box as a force player, as well as patrol deep zones as a shrewd and dangerous ball hawk.

    That flexibility would prove invaluable in coordinator Bob Sutton's pressure-based defense. Sutton places a lot of demands on his safeties, but Bailey is versatile enough to handle it and form a feared partnership with Berry.

    CBS Sports reporter Rob Rang projects Bailey as a fourth-rounder, although 2012 shoulder surgery and just one season playing safety appear be the main influences for this projection.

    But the Chiefs can feel comfortable overlooking those minor doubts to land a potential steal.

Round 4, Pick 124 Worst Case: Failing to Land a DB

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    Ed Reynolds is one of many talented defensive backs potentially available in Round 4.
    Ed Reynolds is one of many talented defensive backs potentially available in Round 4.Mark J. Terrill

    The Chiefs shouldn't leave the fourth round without selecting a defensive back. While their problems on offense can be solved with primary picks, the team can't ignore its struggles in the secondary.

    The pass defense was routinely torched during the second half of the 2013 campaign. Fortunately, the fourth round is expected to feature several players who could help.

    A glance at the CBS Sports prospect rankings at free safety shows not only Bailey, but also players like Ed Reynolds and Kenny Ladler potentially available.

    The cornerback projections are just as encouraging, with the likes of Victor Hampton and Louchiez Purifoy expected to hear their names called at this stage.

    The fourth round offers the ideal opportunity for the Chiefs to restock the secondary rotation with some talented bodies to suit Sutton's daring coverage schemes.

    It is an opportunity Reid and Dorsey cannot afford to miss.

    By staying patient and avoiding the "wow" factor attached to certain prospects, the Chiefs can add instant and reliable contributors in their biggest areas of need. 

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