Kansas City Chiefs 2014 Mock Draft Roundup
Composing a mock draft is sort of like watching the series finale of Lost; its creator can make an educated guess as to what's going on, but, really, he has no earthly idea.
Sure, he can pinpoint a team's specific needs or gauge a potential prospect's value, but he simply can't account for the spontaneity and time-pertinent decisions that are made in the draft war room. Just ask Kevin Costner.
Still, per usual, hundreds, if not thousands, are generally released in the three-month layover between the Super Bowl and draft day. Each one projecting a variety of different selections for a plethora of different reasons.
Admittedly, it's fun to play out the possible scenarios.
And for a team with as many question marks as the Kansas City Chiefs, the scenarios are plentiful.
Now, less than two weeks away from Roger Goodell strutting across that stage at Radio City Music Hall, things are beginning to get real.
It's time to take a comprehensive look at which routes those hundreds of mock drafts predict Kansas City taking on draft day.
Round 1, Pick No. 23
If the Chiefs began their season today, Donnie Avery would likely serve as Alex Smith's second target at wide receiver. That's a problem.
Avery didn't exactly blow the socks off of anybody last season. Yes, he was good for the uber-rare deep ball from Smith, but was generally inconsistent on a game-to-game basis.
It's enough for the majority of pundits to declare WR as Kansas City's most pressing need.
And with general manager John Dorsey failing to secure any capable wideouts via free agency, hopes to improve its receiving corps rest entirely on the draft.
Most experts like either LSU's Odell Beckham Jr. or Oregon State's Brandin Cooks as the best fits for Reid's West Coast offense. Both are projected to be selected right around the Chiefs' 23rd overall pick.
Arrowhead Pride's Joel Thorman says that Beckham Jr. would be a good fit because he "allows Andy Reid to open up more of his playbook to stretch the defense and open things up for Jamaal Charles." Moreover, he's a capable punt returner, which would ease the loss of Dexter McCluster.
But Terez A. Paylor of the Kansas City Star sees the Chiefs taking Cooks, saying he "does his best work out of the slot and can stretch the field, two things that will make him a valuable asset to Chiefs coach Andy Reid." He's most dangerous after the catch, which meshes perfectly with Smith's tendencies as a passer.
Unfortunately for KC, both Cooks and Beckham Jr. have seen their draft stock rise significantly over the past few months. The chances that both, or either, are available this late in the first are growing smaller each day.
Though that may be for the best.
The 2014 draft class is stacked at wideout and the Chiefs' issues in the secondary are equally concerning. If either Ha Ha Clinton-Dix or Calvin Pryor—both prototypical free safeties—slip to No. 23, it would be the better value pick.
Round 3, Pick No. 87
The Kansas City GM will hear 62 names called between his team's first and second picks. For an organization that accomplished as little as the Chiefs did through free agency, that's huge.
Still, in a draft as deep as this one, there should be plenty of talent remaining on the board in the third round. With receiver and free safety presenting the most obvious needs, nearly all mocks have KC selecting whichever of the two it didn't pick up with its initial pick.
Bleacher Report's own James Dudko likes USC safety Dion Bailey here, referencing the Chiefs' need for a safety compatible to defensive coordinator Bob Sutton's scheme:
The need for a more accomplished safety is obvious after defensive coordinator Bob Sutton's single-high concepts were destroyed during the second half of the season.
If they roll the dice in Round 3, Reid and Dorsey can land a true steal in former USC ace Dion Bailey. He is projected as a fourth-rounder by CBS Sports in their updated, post-Senior Bowl position rankings. But Bailey is worth a so-called "reach" to the Chiefs.
The converted linebacker is a heavy hitter, but he does his best work breaking on the ball in coverage.
While it's a move that could certainly pay off long-term, his inexperience at the position—he moved to safety just last year—makes him a long shot to contribute in 2014. Kansas City needs secondary help now.
Kent State utility man Dri Archer, however, would be a fantastic addition here.
He substantially improved his stock through February's scouting combine, clocking the event's top 40 time and quelling concerns about his strength. His 20 reps on the bench press were four more than Sammy Watkins—who weighs in at nearly 40 pounds more than Archer.
Though he played running back in college, he projects as a slot receiver in the NFL. Think McCluster 2.0.
Round 4, Pick No. 124
Safety isn't the only concern within the Kansas City secondary. Its glaring lack of a third cornerback also troubled it all season. (See: 2013 AFC Wild Card Game.)
It routinely struggled against three-receiver sets, never quite able to find a reliable body behind Brandon Flowers and Sean Smith.
Rookie Marcus Cooper looked like, well, a rookie, and vet Dunta Robinson confirmed the sentiment that he's totally washed up.
With Robinson released back in February, Dorsey is likely combing through the depths of this year's draft class for an underrated cover corner. One name that's popped up repeatedly, albeit for just about every team with any concern at the position, is Lindenwood's Pierre Desir.
Rant Sports likes Desir for Kansas City's fourth-round pick, saying that he would be "a great place to start [addressing the secondary] despite the fact that playing his college career in Division II could cause a few more growing pains than most prospects have."
Yes, it's true that he wasn't challenged much at Lindenwood. But Desir turned heads at the Senior Bowl as well, matched up against college football's premier talent from all levels. He impressed all week in practice before coming down with a pick in the actual game.
It's hard to put much stock into a single week, but Desir's frame and athleticism should provide him the benefit of the doubt. He could become a legitimate possibility—the fourth round seems about right for the Chiefs to target a corner.
Desir's physicality and ability to jam wideouts at the line would fit well in Sutton's 3-4 defense.
If he's available here, Kansas City could do much worse.
Round 5, Pick No. 163
Somewhere lost in all the hoopla concerning his sexual orientation was the fact that Sam was the SEC's Co-Defensive Player of the Year in 2013.
How exactly does the best defensive player in college football's best conference find himself available in the fifth round?
Though he played defensive end at Mizzou, his lack of size has him projected as an outside linebacker in the NFL. He damaged his stock with poor combine performance as well.
He'll certainly endure an adjustment period and presumably won't have an opportunity to make an impact in 2014.
But with a relatively stable group at the position, Kansas City won't necessarily need him to. Sam would have a full year to absorb the game's faster pace while getting additional reps at OLB.
Though a handful of other mocks have the Chiefs taking the linebacker route here too, I simply don't see it.
With Branden Albert, Geoff Schwartz and Jon Asamoah all lost to free agency, the concerns regarding Kansas City's offensive line have increased tenfold since the end of the season. And possessing the ability to make or break Jamaal Charles' season, those concerns are warranted.
Dorsey will address the Chiefs' needs before their wants, and a linebacker is certainly a want.
An offensive guard like Nebraska's Spencer Long—whose stock has significantly dropped due to an injury last season—could be a steal if available. The unrpoven Rishaw Johnson is first in line for snaps at now-vacant right guard; Long would provide additional depth and possibly present a legitimate battle for starting duties.
Round 6, Pick No. 193
Many analysts have the Chiefs pegged as either adding O-line depth or doubling up at safety with the first of their two sixth-round picks.
Rant Sports projects the latter, as it has Kansas City selecting Wyoming safety Marqueston Huff.
It observes that Huff is "an athletic, ball-hawking safety who would seem to be a perfect compliment to SS Eric Berry."
But, as with Dion Bailey, he's relatively new to the safety position—he played it in college only during his final season. He's not a candidate to contribute immediately, which is what the Chiefs are looking for.
Considering the now gaping holes in their line, snagging another offensive lineman could provide valuable depth in 2014.
Ohio State's Andrew Norwell is one projected late-round pick that stands out.
Norwell, a two-time All-Big Ten selection, is primarily a guard but is also competent at tackle. He was impressive as a run-blocker for Carlos Hyde and proved capable in pass protection as well. His versatility could be too intriguing for Kansas City to pass up in the sixth.
Round 6, Pick No. 200
At this juncture, it's anybody's guess who'll be available.
Arrowhead Addict likes the aforementioned Archer, but it's highly unlikely he remains on the board this late into the sixth.
Assuming the Chiefs have already secured their more pressing needs, taking a flier on a defensive end is probably the move here.
Though Kansas City's season was lost in the secondary, its lackluster run defense didn't do it any favors either. It tied for 24th in the league, allowing 4.5 yards per carry.
This offseason, it's already lost 2013 starter Tyson Jackson, who's now in Atlanta. If he wasn't before, Dorsey is now surely in the market for a promising end.
Chaz Sutton, the "other" DE out of South Carolina, would be a quality addition with Kansas City's final selection.
Sutton was predictably a busy man in 2013; SEC offensive coordinators made it a point to stay away from Jadeveon Clowney.
On the other end of the line, it was Sutton who saw the most action. Despite routinely being picked on, he actually held his own fairly well, logging 8.5 tackles for a loss and three sacks.
He's yet to reach his ceiling and will continue to improve in the NFL. Kansas City already signed free agent Vance Walker this offseason, but Sutton would serve as a nice insurance plan with the potential to become a starter two or three years down the road.