NFL mock draft: Chiefs connected with inside linebackers

Derrick Johnson’s injury and age has mock draft analysts projecting the Kansas City Chiefs to think inside linebacker in the first round.

The Kansas City Chiefs are checking out free agent Gerald Hodges with a visit, which means John Dorsey is thinking the same thing mock draft experts are: the team needs help at linebacker. Specifically, the Chiefs are checking out some guys who could help the heart of the defense alongside Derrick Johnson until they actually need to replace him.

The latest mock drafts from both Carl Cockerham of With The First Pick and Ryan Wilson of CBS Sports project the Chiefs to go with an inside linebacker if they stay in their given slot of No. 27 in the upcoming NFL Draft. Specifically Cockerham has the Chiefs going with a Florida product— linebacker Jarrad Davis. He writes:

So they need that guy at ILB that can help stop the run, especially with Derrick Johnson coming off injury. Jarrad Davis is a good candidate to play along with him or replace him. He has great instincts, he’s physical, and has great speed on the football field.

Wilson picks an Ohio State player, keeping with a major school theme, with Raekwon McMillan. He also identifies Vanderbilt’s Zach Cunningham as another name to watch. Either way, he expects the Chiefs to address their run defense.

With Derrick Johnson set to turn 35 next season, McMillan is an athletic playmaker who could provide a smooth transition once Johnson calls it a career. Vanderbilt’s Zach Cunningham is also an option here, but a lackluster combine could have personnel types revisiting his game tape.

Despite his injury concerns, Davis comes with great two-way ability and is the best projection to fill Johnson’s shoes long-term of the two players. McMillan is a rather questionable first round choice and would likely be derided by Chiefs fans if Dorsey made that sort of selection.

In his only full season as a starter for Florida, Davis had 94 tackles, including 11 for a loss, 3.5 sacks, 1 interception and 4 passes defended.