Reach’s Early R1 Options For The Chiefs

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The NFL’s Scouting Combine convenes in Indianapolis a week from today. In roughly two weeks, we’ll have a clearer picture of what players the Kansas City Chiefs will realistically have a shot at in the opening round. For most of the Kingdom, an offensive line pick is a foregone conclusion. I’m not convinced so today I’d like to share three first round options for the Chiefs that aren’t offensive linemen. Make no mistake, I realize it’s a glaring need for Kansas City, I just don’t think they have to get one at the top of the 2015 NFL Draft.

Reid and company have plenty of fish to fry if they’re to make a return to the postseason in 2015. John Dorsey still has several holes to plug on this roster. The offensive line is clearly an area of concern, but so too is safety (as Berry battles Hodgkin Lymphoma) and wide receiver (as the Chiefs went an entire season without a single touchdown going to a wideout). There are also less pressing needs at positions like inside linebacker (DJ’s training videos are promising, but he’ll still be 33 before the 2015 season is over). Dorsey can go a couple different directions with the 18th overall pick in the draft.

Here are the non-offensive line players I think the Chiefs should consider at 18:

Jaelen Strong, WR, Arizona State

Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The front office has a decision to make about Dwayne Bowe. His 2014 suspension for a marijuana-related offense gives the Chiefs leeway with his contract. They stand to gain $5 million in cap space by cutting Bowe. That space could prove valuable in extending players with expiring contracts this offseason. It’s tough to envision an even younger wide receiver corps in Kansas City, but Bowe could be on borrowed time if the Chiefs approach him with pay cut conversations and he refuses them.

The cream of the R1 crop at wide receiver (Amari Cooper, DeVante Parker, and Kevin White) will all be off the board when the Chiefs go on the clock. A lot of this hinges upon how well Jaelen Strong runs at the Combine, but he could very well be the fourth receiver drafted this year. He’s a 6’3, 212-pound pass-catcher who reminds quite a few people of New Orleans Saints wideout Marques Colston. He could replace Bowe’s skill set should Kansas City decide to move on. Strong is a physical receiver who can high-point the ball,  box out defensivebacks, and snatch a ball away in traffic. In two seasons at Arizona State, Strong amassed nearly 2,300 receiving yards and 17 touchdowns.

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