2019 NFL Draft: A comprehensive preview and predictions for the Kansas City Chiefs

ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 26: The 2018 NFL Draft logo is seen on a video board during the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft at AT&T Stadium on April 26, 2018 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 26: The 2018 NFL Draft logo is seen on a video board during the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft at AT&T Stadium on April 26, 2018 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /
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Round 1, Pick 29

Priority #1: Find a defensive contributor, preferably at EDGE.

With the departures of Dee Ford and Justin Houston, the Chiefs will be looking to add an above average pass rusher for the new 4-3 defense. Chris Jones will provide some pass rush ability, and Breeland Speaks is a more natural fit in a 4-3. Emmanuel Ogbah and Alex Okafor are solid players who should be productive rotational players. The defensive line is missing a pass rusher with truly dominant potential, a player that forces double teams and will be a double-digit sack player. Those are hard to come by, especially at the end of the first round. Depending on how the board falls, the Chiefs may surrender some draft capital to snag a top-tier defensive end.

Priority #2: Secure a cornerback with lockdown potential

It is no secret that the Chiefs cornerbacks were abysmal last year. Steven Nelson left in free agency, and Kansas City replaced him with Brashaud Breeland. Kendall Fuller‘s first season in Kansas City was up and down but ended strong. Andy Reid showed faith in Charvarius Ward down the stretch. It’s worth noting that both Ward and Fuller came to Kansas City from zone defenses in Dallas and Washington and could be more productive in the new scheme.

Tremon Smith provides some depth as size and speed guy but will continue to be a special teams mainstay. The Chiefs have some tough matchups in the AFC West with Antonio Brown joining the Raiders and the late-season emergence of Chargers wideout Mike Williams. The Chiefs lack a player with the athletic ability, technique, and size to match up with teams #1 wideouts and should look to find a guy who can take on that task.

Priority #3: Don’t reach, find value

This may seem like a vague statement, but it is important for the Chiefs not to reach for a position of need in what is a relatively deep draft class. Veach spoke of the importance of some of the offseason signings and the stability they provide at positions of need, so it’s safe to assume that Veach is prepared to play the game and make sure the selections Kansas City makes are ones that upgrade the team. This also means that at the end of round 1, the Chiefs may simply grab the best player left on the board-or look to find a trade partner and secure more draft capital overall.

Primary Targets

Montez Sweat, DE, Mississippi State* (Trade up Candidate)

Sweat is a prototypical 4-3 defensive end and checks the boxes that Brett Veach seems to look for in terms of size, power, and contact balance. Sweat was highly productive in the SEC and has a relatively high floor, but there are questions about his flexibility.

Sweat blew up the combine and has been seen as a consensus top 15, top 20 pick since. However, rumors emerged this week suggest Sweat may fall because of a heart issue discovered at the NFL combine. These rumors are, just that, rumors, and it’s hard to imagine Sweat falling too far. The Chiefs met with Sweat at the NFL Combine.

Byron Murphy, CB, Washington

Byron Murphy has had a roller coaster of a draft season, at one point it seemed Murphy would be the consensus first corner off the board, only to have his draft stock cool considerably around the Combine. That may be due to Murphy coming in with average measurables for the position. Kansas City may hesitate the pull the trigger on adding another 5’11 corner to their defensive back group, but Murphy has the production and elite traits that will quickly make teams forget his size. He should be a plug-and-play corner with plenty of upside, solidifying one of Kansas City’s weakest position groups. The Chiefs met with Murphy at the NFL Combine and had him in for a private visit as well.

Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson

The 2019 NFL Draft class is unusually strong at the top of the pass-rushing group but falls off quickly. Ferrell may be the last of the top tier pass rushers and would be a fit in Kansas City. Similar to Sweat, Ferrell has excellent balance and power at the point of attack. Ferrell had an average performance at the NFL Combine, but flashes a little more bend and flexibility on tape than Sweat. Ferrell was once considered a lock for the top 10, but has found himself on the outside looking in after an average pre-draft process for the Clemson defensive end. The Chiefs met with Ferrell at the NFL Combine.

Honorable Mention

  • Amari Oruwariye, CB, Penn State
  • Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi State
  • Jerry Tillery, DT, Notre Dame
  • Juan Thornhill, S, Virgina