2017 NFL Draft: A REALLY early look

May 8, 2014; New York, NY, USA; A general view of the stage and podium before the start of the 2014 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports
May 8, 2014; New York, NY, USA; A general view of the stage and podium before the start of the 2014 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports /

The 2017 NFL Draft. In July 2016? Come on, what are you doing?

Well, with so many storylines covered to the point I feel like news outlets are reaching for news (One news outlet asked the question if Tom Brady would lose his starting job to Jimmy Garaoppolo after his suspension). So, with that in mind, these are just a handful of players at positions I believe the Kansas City Chiefs may target early in the upcoming draft.

We’re going to start at running back, because it’s as deep as running backs have been in a long time. And with the likely departure of Jamaal Charles after the upcoming season, running back could be a position the organization looks at. Backs that could make sense as well as possibly be available (I’m not listing Leonard Fournette for that very reason).

  • Florida State Dalvin Cook (6-0/ 210) A quick and fast running back with the ability to catch the ball. Is not a great power, short yardage back, but could be a nice replacement for Charles combined with West and Ware.
  • Georgia Nick Chubb (5-10/220) Does a lot of things well, and could replace Charles well, but much will depend on how well he’s recovered from 2015 midseason knee surgery. His draft stock, at this point, could be all over the map.
  • Stanford Christian McCaffrey (6-0/200) A very versatile athlete, can do a lot of things well, both running, catching, and on special teams. A fun player to watch out west. More of Charcandrick West style player, albeit with far more potential,  then a Charles.
  • Oklahoma Samaje Perine (5-11/240) Far and away the most powerful back listed in this group, Perine uses vision, balance and strength to succeed. Ankle injury will require a second look during the upcoming draft process.

Next, we will look at offensive tackle. For those that try to pin future draft positions based on previous actions, Eric Fisher is a 2018 free agent (currently) and the Chiefs could choose to draft the position a year ahead, as the new regime has done basically since they arrived in town. As we did above, I have forgone previewing Alabama’s Cam Robinson, as I view him as a top five pick.

  • UCLA Connor McDermott (6-8/280) Best way I can summarize McDermott from scouting reports I’ve read is that McDermott is Fisher at this point in Fishers development. Great athlete and quick feet, but not very powerful and needs to develop his base.
  • USC Zach Banner (6-8/360) A massive human being in all sense of the word, Banner needs refinement and work on technique and footwoork to truly take over as the left tackle, but could be the second tackle to come off the board.
  • North Carolina Jon Heck (6-6/300) Son of Chiefs offensive line coach Andy Heck, Jon comes form a pedigree of experienced blocking. Has experience playing at right tackle, will likely play left tackle this upcoming season.

Next, we will cast our eyes to the defense, and will look specifically at middle linebacker. Much like the other position groups, there is a good chance the Chiefs could lose a lot of depth at the position, with the likely hood Josh Mauga leaves and a possibility that Derrick Johnson leaves. The middle linebacker position group could be really good upcoming, highlighted by the following two names.

  • Florida Jarrad Davis (6-2/230) Davis is a powerful run stopping linebacker with a knack for hitting people hard and has really impressive closing speed for a middle linebacker. Really showed himself during the SEC Championship game, showing himself to be a force down after down.
  • Ohio State Roekwon McMillan (6-2/240) A much more traditional middle linebacker, is a beast with great instincts, though he hasn’t proven at this point to be a great blitzer. Dorsey has not drafted a BigTen player in the first round since he arrived (if at all).

While I’m never  fan of drafting offensive lineman early, the options at middle linebacker and at running back are enticing. The Chief thankfully are a very deep team, so a series of trade backs could very well be in store.