With the NFL Combine in full swing it seems that “Draft Fever” has officially swept over the Chiefs Kingdom. While the start of free agency will drastically change the landscape of things in terms of team needs, the combine is the last major event that seems to alter the perceived “Big Boards” of where players are ranked. So called “draft experts” will now begin applying these rankings to the teams’ needs and coming up with their best guess of how things will shake out on draft day.
I’ll be honest, I love mock drafts. I don’t always put much stock in them, but they become an addiction for me this time of year. That having been said, I’ve had major problems with most of the pre-combine mock drafts that I’ve seen this year. Maybe I’m the one that’s off, but I feel like most of the draft experts have KC all wrong thus far. I’ve got three misconceptions that I feel many people are making about the Chiefs first round pick that I’ll address in this post. Let’s start with the one I feel strongest about…….
Misconception #1: Kelvin Benjamin Is A Likely Target If The Chiefs Draft A Wide Receiver.
If you have been reading many mock drafts prior to the scouting combine, you have seen that the most frequently mocked player, let alone wide receiver, for KC has been FSU’s Kelvin Benjamin. The logic for this is pretty simple. The Chiefs need a starting WR. The average WR big board has Benjamin as the 4th best WR behind Sammy Watkins, Mike Evans, and Marqise Lee. Most mock drafts have Watkins, Evans, and Lee off the board when KC picks so they go to the next WR on the list and mock him to KC. Sounds rational, right?
Well, I’ve always had major issues with the KC/Benjamin pairing but I’ve kept my mouth shut until now because I admittedly hadn’t watched a lot of Benjamin. So I thought I’d give him a chance to prove me wrong at the combine. He didn’t. Look, I think Benjamin has as much upside as any WR in the draft, he’s a physical freak. However, he really seems like a bigger Dwayne Bowe to me. A physically powerful WR that isn’t a burner, isn’t really fast out of his breaks, and has average hands. Is that what anyone has been thinking our offense has been missing? Was anyone sitting around watching KC last season going: “If only we had a WR that was a little bigger than Bowe, but not significantly faster or a better route runner, we’d be all set!” He just doesn’t seem to compliment Bowe well at all to me. Now if Bowe was on his way out and Benjamin was his replacement, that might make sense, but Bowe has a long term deal that makes it almost impossible to cut him in the next couple of seasons. So what KC needs is a compliment to Bowe.
Second, does Benjamin really strike anyone as an Andy Reid type of WR? Think about the guys he used in Philly before he left: DeSean Jackson (5’10”, 175 lbs), Jeremy Maclin (6’0″, 198 lbs), and Jason Avant (6’0″, 212 lbs). Then think about what Reid has done since he’s come to KC. He signed Donnie Avery (5’11”, 200 lbs) to be KC’s #2 WR last season and traded away Jon Baldwin (6’4″, 230 lbs) for AJ Jenkins (6’0″, 200 lbs). So explain to me why so many “experts” think he’s going to be drooling over a WR just because he’s 6’5″, 240 lbs? The real question is does Reid think he’s a fit for his system. Based on the players he’s targeted at WR over the past five years or so, it wouldn’t appear so. Then when you add to it the fact that his current #1 WR, Dwayne Bowe, is also outside the mold of Reid’s typical WR and I think the chances that Benjamin ends up a Chief is about zilch.
So who would be a good fit for Reid’s offense if KC were to draft a WR in the first round? I think Marqise Lee is probably the best fit in terms of a combination of route running, hands, and overall playmaking ability, but Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandon Cooks are also intriguing options based on their speed if Lee is off the board.
Misconception #2: After Wide Receiver, Tight End Is The Only Other Offensive Position KC May Target In The First Round.
I’ve seen a few mock drafts that had KC taking either Jace Amaro or Eric Ebron and even more that listed them as secondary options to the player that they actually mocked. While I agree that Amaro and Ebron are both good prospects that will likely make plays at the next level, the idea of using a first round pick on a tight end doesn’t make sense to me. Right now KC’s TE depth chart would be Anthony Fasano, Travis Kelce, Sean McGrath, and the recently re-signed Richard Gordon. I’m 100% comfortable with that depth chart going into camp. The only reason I wouldn’t be is if KC is worried that Kelce will never be the same after his knee injury. Kelce has true #1 TE upside and if KC thinks he’s going to be healthy there is no reason to draft a TE in the first three rounds, let alone with the #23 pick. Fasano is a serviceable starter and more than adequate #2 TE if Kelce lives up to potential and McGrath showed some promise last season as well. Even if KC believes Amaro or Ebron are going to be Pro Bowl caliber players, I don’t think they make sense for the Chiefs given some of their other needs and players that will likely be available.
On the other hand, no one seems to even be considering the possibility of KC drafting an offensive lineman in the first round this year. KC had seven different offensive lineman that started multiple games last season: Albert, Allen, Hudson, Asamoah, Schwartz, Fisher, and Stevenson. Of those seven, only four are currently under contract for the Chiefs. You can make a strong argument that KC’s two best lineman last season were Albert and Schwartz and they’re both poised to hit the open market soon. Yes, I’m hoping KC can re-sign one or both of them, but both are going to be one of the top free agents at their position and could command a sizable contract. If KC were to lose them both via free agency it would likely mean that offensive line would jump to the top of KC’s needs list. While I’m hoping that doesn’t happen I still think that offensive line should be on the radar for KC fans when considering first round possibilities.
Misconception #3: If KC Goes Defense In The First Round It Will Be A Defensive Back.
While we can all agree that upgrading the free safety position is a must for KC this offseason, I’m not sure that it’s going to be an option picking at #23 in this draft. There are only two safeties that warrant a first round selection in this year’s draft: HaHa Clinton-Dix and Calvin Pryor. The problem is that there are at least a half dozen teams drafting ahead of KC that have safety as a position of need. Since everyone knows that there is little to no depth in the safety draft class this year I think it’s very likely that both Clinton-Dix and Pryor will be off the board when KC selects. If I’m wrong, great, I’ll be happy with either of those guys, but I don’t think KC fans should be planning on either of them being there.
As far as the cornerback position goes, I see KC being in a similar position as with the TEs. Could there be a player available at CB at pick #23 that would be an upgrade to who KC has? Yes, there certainly could be. However, am I comfortable with Brandon Flowers, Sean Smith, and Marcus Cooper being our top three CBs next season? Yes, I’d be okay with that. I think KC needs to add some depth and competition at that position, but Smith and Flowers are starting caliber players and Cooper showed some real promise last season. Plus, KC fans need to recognize that the perceived drop off in secondary play coincided with the drop in effectiveness in KC’s pass rush. In other words, the secondary didn’t start getting picked apart until the pass rush dropped off. The two go hand in hand. If KC can revitalize their pass rush I’m guessing Smith, Flowers, and Cooper will start looking more like the players from their 9-0 start last season than the ones that appeared to struggle down the stretch.
That leads to the possibility of KC drafting a defensive lineman or edge rusher with the #23 pick. First off, KC is currently down a starting defensive lineman with Tyson Jackson about to hit free agency. While KC has Allen Bailey that could compete for that spot, I’m not sure I feel comfortable with him being handed the job. If Jackson walks, a defensive lineman could be another primary need. Plus, as teams realized how good Dontari Poe was last season, he began to see more double teams. If KC could land someone that could start in Jackson’s old spot and be an interior pass rush threat, that could be a huge score for them. Someone like Notre Dame’s Stephon Tuitt could be an option for KC at #23. Also, with Tamba Hali aging and becoming increasingly expensive, they could also draft an heir apparent that would provide much needed depth at that position and give Bob Sutton another weapon to play with in planning his pass rush attack.
So there you have it Addicts, three takes on the Chiefs first round draft pick that go against popular opinion. What do you think? Am I crazy? Do you think Benjamin is the right fit for KC? Would you like to see them draft a tight end in the first round? Do you think the secondary is a bigger issue than the pass rush? I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments below and can’t wait until free agency starts so we can start to get some of these questions about what KC needs in the draft answered.
As always, thanks for reading and GO CHIEFS!!!!!!!!!!
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