2017 NFL mock draft: Mel Kiper has Watson, Trubisky as only first round quarterbacks
By Matt Conner
The latest mock draft from Mel Kiper, Jr. only has two quarterbacks taken in the first round—and none by the Chiefs.
Mel Kiper Jr. has released his latest mock for the 2017 NFL Draft, and the ESPN analyst clearly believes that the quarterbacks in this class aren’t worthy of the hype they are receiving. Instead of the “big four”, Kiper has only two of them going in the first round—and nowhere near the very top of the draft. Instead, he has Mitchell Trubisky and Deshaun Watson being drafted back to back near the middle of the first round.
As for the Kansas City Chiefs, Kiper has the Chiefs skipping over Patrick Mahomes or DeShone Kizer for the sake of grabbing an elite wide receiver in Zay Jones. The Eastern Carolina product will have to accelerate his learning curve to adjust to NFL competition, but his skill set should allow him to make the transition to No. 1 receiver for the Chiefs. Says Kiper:
"Jeremy Maclin had a down season in 2016, and the Chiefs’ top pass-catchers were tight end Travis Kelce and rookie fifth-round pick Tyreek Hill, who’s not a true No. 1 wideout. Jones has moved up my board considerably thanks to his performances at the Senior Bowl and combine, where he ran a 4.45 40 and had a 36.5-inch vertical. At 6-2, 201 pounds, he put up huge numbers for the Pirates last season with 158 catches for 1,746 yards and eight touchdowns. Adding Jones would help open up the Chiefs’ offense and give Alex Smith a reliable, productive target."
Adding an elite wide receiver could fit John Dorsey’s mold of adding a player before another one gets too expensive. Until now, Jeremy Maclin has been the team’s top wideout and he should be for at least another year, but boasting a tandem of Jones and Maclin could open the offense alongside Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. It could also help provide some financial flexibility in case Maclin’s deal gets too heavy as it nears its end.
That said, the Chiefs would have to believe Jones is by far the best value on the draft board to take him at this point and ignore the available quarterbacks in this instance. The same could be said of another edge rusher, defensive tackle, inside linebacker, cornerback or running back. Each of those present positions more likely to be addressed than wide receiver in the first round.