As we explore what is a disappointing season, lets explore a way-to-early Kansas City Chiefs mock draft. It’s worth about as much as, well, you get the point. Regardless, as we begin to see the season taking shape and the holes on the team, we can guesstimate what may be a good direction for this organization to go.
Here’s a rough idea of a 2016 NFL Mock Draft:
ROUND 1: Christian Hackenberg, QB, Penn State
The much-talked about quarterback prospect has become the much-maligned prospect this season. A new coaching staff last year and a poor supporting cast and line play this year has hampered Hackenberg’s development, but there are still plenty of raw tools to work with.
With Alex Smith’s contract extremely prohibitive and difficult to move on from until after the 2016 season, there is no better time to find a quarterback to groom, develop and coach up then this draft. At 6-foot-4 and 228 pounds, Hackenberg certainly has the size and the arm to develop into a starting quarterback. Also, and this is why I rate Hackenberg ahead of a guy like Connor Cook, Cook is two years older then Hackenberg.
Hackenberg is a true junior this year, whereas Cook is a redshirt senior (fifth-year senior). The Chiefs don’t conceivably have to start a rookie in year one, allowing Hackenberg to spend a year (or part of it at least) working on his footwork and technique. Also, first round contracts come with a fifth-year option, whereas as any pick past the first round does not.
It makes more sense when developing a quarterback to take one in the first round then it does to draft one at almost any point in the second round. The Minnesota Vikings took advantage of this in 2014 draft when they selected Teddy Bridgewater with the 32nd-overall selection, allowing them an entire extra season before he hits free agency.
ROUND 2: Jarron Reed, DT, Alabama
While the Chiefs rush defense this year has been solid, this organization is looking at the probability of losing two of three defensive lineman this off season. Both Mike DeVito and Jaye Howard are free agents after the season and starting nose tackle Dontari Poe is scheduled to be a free agent after the 2016 season.
It’s hard to see a scenario in which DeVito returns. The Chiefs, regardless of the aforementioned issues, will need depth at the defensive line. Reed is a rather large human, standing at 6-foot-4 and 313 pounds. He also has experience playing in Alabama’s 3-4 defense. God only makes so many humans this size that don’t trip over themselves.
ROUND 3: Jalen Mills, S, LSU
Quick, name a safety currently under contract for next season. Ron Parker is the only main contributor signed, and Daniel Sorensen is an exclusive rights free agent (meaning while he doesn’t have a contract, he can only negotiate with the Chiefs). Eric Berry, Tyvon Branch and Husain Abdullah are all free agents after this season, and while I do expect at least one of those players to return, the Chiefs will certainly need to replace some bodies at safety.
Mills has to get better, especially in run support, but is a solid free safety prospect and has experience playing against good competition.
Round 4: Josh Ferguson, RB, Illinois
Going to put it on record here: I do not expect Jamaal Charles to be back with the Chiefs next season. This regime has a well-documented track record of moving on from players before they fall off the cliff, and Charles is coming off his second knee rebuild and does not have any guaranteed money left in his contract.
I see a very plausible scenario in which the Chiefs go forward with a trio of backs of Charcandrick West, Spencer Ware and a new mid-round rookie, in this case, Ferguson. Ferguson has some wiggle and a little bit of go in his game, and is a good depth type back.
Round 5: Eric Murray, CB, Minnesota
Kansas City, despite spending two picks on this position last year, will more then likely need to address the depth at this position for next season. Marcus Cooper and Jamell Fleming are scheduled to be free agents, and it’s hard to see them coming back. The wild card will be current starter Sean Smith.
He’s also scheduled to be a free agent after this season and could be looking at a big pay day. Last year, the Eagles gave Byron Maxwell a six-year, $63 million deal with $25 million guaranteed. I’d expect a deal for Smith to be very similar to that contract. With everything the Chiefs have going on, it’s hard to see how they can give out that big a contract.
Round 5: Evan Boehm, C/G, Missouri
Sure, the Chiefs drafted a center out of Missouri last year (though he was a tackle for Missouri), but the Chiefs will continue to add depth with the pick they added from Seattle in the trade of Kelcie McCray. Boehm has struggled with injuries this season, but is a big-body power blocker, someone that can provide depth at all interior spots on the line. Will be curious what the line depth looks like come the draft, as both Donald Stephenson and Jeff Allen are scheduled to be free agents. I won’t be surprised if Allen is brought back, and I would be surprised if Stephenson is.
Round 6: Jimmie Bean, OLB/DE, Oklahoma State
Chiefs will need depth at this position. Due to a bizarre quirk for Tamba Hali, the Chiefs are guaranteed to carry $4 million in dead cap money next year as his contract voids immediately after the season. It’s become evident the issues with Dee Ford, as he continues to have the best seat at Arrowhead, paid to be a observer. The organization will need depth at this position.
Round 7: Drew Kaser, P, Texas A&M
What the hell, a punter? Must have lost my mind. Not so much. Dustin Colquitt is a very expensive punter, due just shy of $4.5 million next year. Have a hard time paying a kicker that much money. Kaser is a solid punter, currently averaging 49.03 yards a punt this season.
NOTE: The Chiefs currently have multiple lineman, wide receivers and a running back on the practice squad. Kansas City appears to have back-of-the-roster offensive depth, somewhat negating a need to address depth on offense in later rounds at this point in the mock draft.