Dec 31, 2013; El Paso, TX, USA; UCLA Bruins linebacker Anthony Barr (11) during the game against the Virginia Tech Hokies in the 2013 Sun Bowl at Sun Bowl Stadium. UCLA defeated Virginia Tech 42-12. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

NFL Mock Draft: McShay, Kiper Send Receiver To Chiefs

Both Todd McShay and Mel Kiper updated their mock drafts today and both of them sent the same player to Kansas City. Let’s get to this.

With the 23rd overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, McShay and Kiper project the Chiefs will take Marqise Lee, a wide receiver from USC.

McShay’s writeup:

The Chiefs could look to trade back here to get back the second-rounder they used to acquire Alex Smith last year. But if they stay here, a wide receiver makes sense given that it is one of the biggest needs on the roster. Lee doesn’t have the timed speed of some of the other receivers in this class, and he had some issues with drops in 2013, but he has excellent fluidity as a route-runner and is faster on the field than his 40 time would indicate.

Kiper’s writeup:

Given their needs and the depth in this draft, I could see the Chiefs moving down if they can add a pick or two. They don’t have one in Round 2 thanks to (the success of) the Alex Smith trade. However, if they stay put, they could use a receiver who can help immediately — K.C. really is a “win-now” team on the personnel side despite a huge leap in 2013 — and Lee comes in as a possible steal, given his uneven junior season after he’d firmly established his value for evaluators.

Once again both Kiper and McShay have Anthony Barr dropping past the Chiefs and into the mid-20′s in their mock draft. This I do not understand, why is Barr suddenly no longer a top 15 pick like he seemingly has been all spring?

It is very difficult for me to think the Chiefs would pass on Barr if he is there at 23 given the depth of the draft at wide receiver and the Chiefs’ need to improve the pass rush both now and in the future. Barr is the perfect kind of player the Chiefs are looking for as a Hali replacement and would make all the sense in the world for KC.

The tools Barr has to work with are excellent. He’s 6-5, 255 pounds and runs a 40 in 4.41 seconds (4.66 at combine, 4.41 at pro day). More impressive is his excellent 6.83 three-cone time which is important in both pass coverage and rushing the passer. Tons of athleticism comes with Barr.

What may be the downside for some teams – and the only reason why he may fall – is he’s raw as an outside linebacker. He started his career as a running back before switching to linebacker, so he’s still developing the technical skills for the position. Kansas City doesn’t have to worry about this as much because they can play him behind Tamba Hali for a season or two.

Think about the kind of speed the Chiefs could have coming off the edge with both Justin Houston and Barr? Two 250 pounders running at halfback speeds towards the quarterback would be a huge burden for opposing teams to deal with. Barr also has a much higher upside than Hali as a pass defender in coverage because of his athleticism.

As a prospect, Barr is a no doubt top 10 player in this draft. One wonders if he had made the switch to outside linebacker as a freshman if he’d be a lock in the top 10. If the Chiefs are going best player available then this is the guy. The fact that he can help now and fill a big hole in the future is only an added bonus.

But hey… MUST DRAFT RECEIVER OR ELSE!

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