As scouts, coaches and franchise executives head to Indianapolis for the annual NFL Scouting Combine, it’s time for Locked on Chiefs’ first mock draft of the year.
Recent roster moves by the team have changed some draft priorities. The signing of Eric Berry and the release of Jamaal Charles are the two factors that effected the draft plan pre-combine. Seth Keysor joins the podcast to react to these changes and look at the future.
Before we get to the selections, let’s take a look at the process.
I approach early mock drafts from the most basic stance. I don’t try to predict trades. I draft the early mock drafts straight with the selections as they’re assigned to the team currently.
For this mock, I used subscription-based website that simulates the draft process and I used the latest information available. I used my personal draft board for my selections and let all other teams boards be assigned at random rather than following a single board. the other teams used boards from, CBS, Bleacher Report (Matt Miller), Inside the Pylon, USA Today, Drafttek and a few others. Using multiple boards simulates the varied rankings by each NFL franchises’ personnel departments. That leads to more varied rankings for each player just as the actual NFL draft does.
My approach early in the draft is the “best player available at a position that can help the team the following season”. That is particularly the first two days of the draft. On day three, developmental prospects and depth are the focus for me with an eye on upside standouts.
This v1.0 mock draft was done just as the first players were arriving in Indianapolis for the combine.
#27 – LB Zach Cunningham, Vanderbilt
Zach Cunningham is it an athletic linebacker built in the mold of Derrick Johnson. When I look at his film, Cunningham has some very similar aspects to his game. With the top corners and edge rushers off of the board, this selection was a no-brainer. He can play the WILB on day one if Derrick Johnson has any hiccups in his recovery. He can play all three downs as well. Rumors are that the buzz around Cunningham is growing and the several NFL Teams have late 1st round grades on him.
#59 (Rd. 2-27) – QB Patrick Mahomes, Texas Tech
This pick is one that Chiefs fans have wanted to see. It was a bit surprisingly to find Mahomes was still available in the second round, which is actually where I think his talent warrants his selection. Alex Smith’s contract will price him out of Kansas City soon and Mahomes will need a year at the very least to develop into an NFL quarterback. There is still a lot of risks here but if anyone can bring him along it’s Andy Reid. Mahomes will need to do well on the white boards at the combine and team visits to be selected at this level.
#91 (Rd. 3-27) – OLB Derek Rivers, Youngstown State
The Chiefs pass rush has been beaten up for the last several seasons. Derek Rivers provides the length and power at the snap that can help immediately in pass-rushing situations. He can play in a stand-up OLB position and has the tools to be successful. An explosive combine performance could raise him out of this area of the draft.
#104 (Rd. 3-40) – RB Marlon Mack, South Florida
The decision to release Charles has put a new focus on the running back position. Luckily for Kansas City, this draft class is well stocked at running back. Mack could make a very formidable one-two combination with Spencer Ware.