The Kansas City Chiefs should draft defense with the 18th pick
Nov 3, 2013; Orchard Park, NY, USA; The Buffalo Bills offense lines up against the Kansas City Chiefs defense during the second half at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Chiefs beat the Bills 23-13. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports
The offensive line or wide receiver? Which is the bigger need for the Chiefs?
There has been a lot of debate over that question during this offseason. No matter where you come down on that question, it has been widely accepted that the Chiefs will be looking to bolster the offense with the 18th overall pick in the draft. Even several of those looking to break from the mold have Kansas City taking Marcus Mariota.
But what if the conventional wisdom does not hold? I do not have to remind you that offensive line and wide receiver were the most prominent areas of need for the Chiefs last year. When Kansas City was on the clock, though, they ended up taking a pass-rusher, a position that was already the strongest on the team.
If you are a stern adherent to the best player available draft philosophy, then you may have been applauding the choice of Dee Ford. For everyone else, knowing that there would be no second-round pick coming, it was a surprise. And though Ford may become a perennial all-star and anchor on the Chiefs defense, the holes left unfilled because he was selected showed in a big way over the course of last season.
With John Dorsey having shown great interest in beefing up the offense throughout this offseason, it seems like a safe bet that the Chiefs will not be selecting a defensive player in the first round for the second year in a row. Right? I say maybe not.
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All of the best wide receivers will probably be gone by the time the Chiefs are on the clock. If DeVante Parker manages to slide to No. 18, then great. But more likely the best bets will have already gone. With the addition of Jeremy Maclin, there is no need to try and reach in the first round. The position still needs depth, but it can be found later on.
I do not think I am stepping on too many toes with the above assertion. I may be when I say that offensive line might not make the most sense either. Yes, La’el Collins may be available for Kansas City, and he would probably be a fine addition to the team. But, in my opinion, tackle is not the area on the line that needs the most attention.
If you take a look at this depth chart from ESPN, you will notice that Eric Kush is the only player listed at center. That needs to change before the season starts. If the Chiefs are going to use a high draft pick on the offensive line, then I vote it goes to taking a center. Cameron Erving is ranked as the best at that position in this draft. However, he is not projected to be taken in the first round by any of the mock drafts in this compilation from NFL.com. That means the Chiefs may get a shot at him in the second round.
Even if Erving is gone by the time the Chiefs spend their second pick, they should still have the opportunity to go after the second-ranked center in the draft class, Hroniss Grasu. CBS Sports praises his agility and describes him as “quick to get to the second level.” All of that could play well in a Kansas City offense that often emphasizes runs and short passes.
As the offseason has progressed, I have also come to realize how different the Chiefs defense could look in a short period of time.
Justin Houston may have been franchised tagged, but he has not signed his offer and is reported to be disgruntled. The terms of his offer allow him to hold out until Week 10 of the regular season before being penalized for it, although he will be forfeiting a huge sum of money. His pass-rushing teammate Tamba Hali is far from disgruntled, recently agreeing to a restructure and pay cut in order to stay with the team. However, Hali is also 31 years old and turning 32 in November. He should end his career as a Chief, but you have to wonder how much longer that career is going to last?
Joining Hali in the over-30 club are Mike DeVito and Derrick Johnson. Both should be contributing this season, but are each coming off season-ending injuries. We saw how much the defense struggled against the run without them last year. So adding some depth, and hopefully an eventual replacement in the form of a guy like Eric Kendricks could be a great move for the Chiefs.
There is also the issue of preparing for the eventuality that Eric Berry is not ready to go at the beginning of the season. Kansas City has already brought in Tyvon Branch to help with the safety position, but he is unlikely to be a long-term solution.
I am not advocating that Kansas City take all of the offensive players off its board for the first round. If you can find a steal, take it. But whether it be Kendricks, nose tackle Danny Shelton, or strong safety Landon Collins, taking a defensive player in the first round may end up making the most sense.
What do you think, Addicts?