2011 NFL Mock Draft: Filling the Needs of the Kansas City Chiefs

James Adkins@KCChiefsBlitzCorrespondent IIDecember 15, 2010

2011 NFL Mock Draft: Filling the Needs of the Kansas City Chiefs

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    PASADENA, CA - SEPTEMBER 19:  Quarterback Carson Coffman #14 of the Kansas State Wildcats is met by Akeem Ayers #10 of the UCLA Bruins in the first half at the Rose Bowl on September 19, 2009 in Pasadena, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    While it appears the Kansas City Chiefs have made great strides in turning themselves into playoff contenders in 2010, they still have a few glaring needs they must fill in 2011.

    In this initial mock draft, I will break down some of the options the Chiefs should have in the middle to lower parts of each round to address the pieces of the puzzle they are missing right now.

    Sit back, bundle up next to the fireplace with a hot cup of cocoa and enjoy!

Round 1: UCLA OLB Akeem Ayers

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    PASADENA, CA - NOVEMBER 06:  Akeem Ayers #10 of the UCLA Bruins makes a catch in front of Dwight Roberson #59 and Cameron Collins #5 of the Oregon State Beavers at the Rose Bowl on November 6, 2010 in Pasadena, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Image
    Harry How/Getty Images

    In all likelihood, this will be the last season for veteran outside linebacker Mike Vrabel and the Chiefs need someone to step in at outside linebacker with the ability to drop into pass coverage and also blitz the quarterback.

    Ayers is an All-Pac-10 first team selection in 2010, and with 68 tackles, four sacks, two forced fumbles, two interceptions and 10 tackles for loss, he has been the Bruins' biggest playmaker on defense. Ayers would step in on day one as the Chiefs starting outside linebacker opposite Tamba Hali.

    Other options, if available, include:

    OLB Vonn Miller, Texas A&M

Round 2: Florida C Mike Pouncey

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    MIAMI - JANUARY 08: Mike Pouncey #55 of the Florida Gators reacts after a play against the Oklahoma Sooners in the FedEx BCS National Championship Game at Dolphin Stadium on January 8, 2009 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/Getty Images)
    Eliot J. Schechter/Getty Images

    The Chiefs made a smart move in bringing back center Casey Wiegmann and his leadership on the offensive line, but he has struggled at times, and at 37 years old, this could very well be the final year of a solid career.

    An ideal candidate to replace Wiegmann is the twin brother of Steelers 2010 first-round pick Maurkice Pouncey in center/guard Mike Pouncey. He is listed as one of the top one or two centers that are draft eligible and could very well slip to the Chiefs in the second round.

    Other options, if available, include:

    C Stefen Wisniewski, Penn State

Round 3: Florida State QB Christian Ponder

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    TALLAHASSEE, FL - NOVEMBER 27:  Christian Ponder #7 of the Florida State Seminoles throws for a first down during a game against the Florida Gators at Doak Campbell Stadium on November 27, 2010 in Tallahassee, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    If the Chiefs learned anything in their 31-0 blowout loss to the San Diego Chargers, they learned that Brodie Croyle is not a suitable replacement for quarterback Matt Cassel when he goes down with an injury.

    Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder would provide the Chiefs with a fiery leader behind Cassel, and also a guy that can make all the throws in Charlie Weis' offense. Although he missed four games in 2009 with a shoulder injury, his durability isn't nearly as much of a concern as it is with current backup Croyle.

    If the Chiefs truly want to find a quarterback to groom into an eventual starter to replace Cassel in a few years, Ponder is the ideal candidate.

Round 4: Baylor DT Phil Taylor

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    Despite improving to a middle-of-the-pack run defense in 2010, the Chiefs still have a gaping need up the middle, particularly at nose tackle. Veteran Ron Edwards has done an admirable job, but he is getting up in age and the Chiefs need to groom a replacement.

    Enter the mammoth 350-pound defensive tackle from the Baylor Bears, Phil Taylor. The only real knock on Taylor is the fact that, before joining the Bears, he was involved in an off-field incident while at Penn State.

    He is excellent against the run and is difficult to move. He also has good straight-line push up the middle that helps in collapsing the pocket against opposing quarterbacks.