Jeremiah Ledbetter, DE, Arkansas
By going a bit deeper in a mock draft, you can begin to see where the Chiefs might address a position with multiple picks rather than just the first few selections, and this is where Reuter’s draft gains another layer of interest. With the selection of Montravius Adams in the second round and Jeremiah Ledbetter in the fifth round, the Chiefs continue to rework the defensive line in consecutive drafts in much the same way Dorsey has been retooling the secondary since he arrived in Kansas City.
The aforementioned free agency that looms over Bennie Logan and Jaye Howard could also strike Allen Bailey, if the veteran doesn’t perform up to standards after returning from a season-ending injury. If Bailey struggles in 2017, it’s likely that Dorsey will cut ties with him before the 2018 season given he has an $8 million-plus cap hit.
One year from now, the Chiefs could find themselves with only Chris Jones and Rakeem Nunez-Roches along the defensive line, which makes it not surprising that Dorsey might grab a few options in this year’s draft. Adams already provides some necessary size in the middle and now Ledbetter’s selection in the fifth provides more versatility, some pass rush punch and a high future ceiling.
Ledbetter had 7.5 tackles for loss in each of the last two seasons for the Razorbacks, and he has the sort of punch to disrupt the pocket at the pro level. That said, he’s going to need more mass and functional strength. The good news is, like Adams, Ledbetter would largely sit and watch during his rookie season as there are plenty of veterans around in the short-term. Ledbetter’s ceiling can be achieved given enough time and coaching up, and that’s exactly what the Chiefs d-line coaches have proven themselves able to do.