We are less interested in the actual mock draft part than we are the idea of adding a first round cornerback to next year’s defense. How would the it look?
A new mock draft is out for the 2020 NFL Draft. It appears that mocks are officially a year-round enterprise for some folks, and that’s fine, because it gives us something to discuss in the slower months. However, our interest is not so much in the actual latest mock from Thor Nystrom at Rotoworld but rather the position he’s picking for the Chiefs and how things would look next season.
Nystrom’s entire mock is actually a great read even if the idea of a mock draft 11 months out makes you roll your eyes. His wisdom is more about college players to watch this coming season and how draft stocks could rise and fall. It’s in-depth and worth reading and you’ll be a smarter college football viewer for taking the time.
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The new mock has the Chiefs picking at No. 26 overall, but we’ll ignore that idea for now, given that we all know the pick will be coming six selections later. Still it seems that Nystrom believes cornerback would be a nice first round investment for K.C.’s needs given his selection of Utah corner Jaylon Johnson. He writes:
"You may not have heard much about Johnson yet, but he’s one of the nation’s top returning cover men. Because the Pac-12 is stocked with receiver talent this fall, we should get at least a few showcase matchups to pour over during evaluation season."
From here, Nystrom goes on to discuss Johnson’s draft stock in depth, but for our purposes, we’re more concerned with the overall position. Perhaps it will be Jaylon Johnson or another cornerback, but we certainly have recognized the fact that we all will fall in love with multiple players who could fill that role at that particular point of the draft by next April. We’ll be wooed by Pro Day performances and Combine numbers and pre-draft rumors and scouting reports of our own.
What is important at this point is knowing what exactly cornerback could look like next year at this time?
How’s this for a fact: Charvarius Ward is the best cornerback under contract for 2020 for the Chiefs. Yes, a lot can change between now and then (and most certainly will), but on the surface, that’s not good. In fact, if some apocalyptic happened and the Chiefs were forced to roll with their secondary as is for another year, the starting safeties might be just fine in Tyrann Mathieu and Juan Thornhill, but your top three corners would be Ward, Tremon Smith, and Rashad Fenton.
The only good news: the Chiefs would have the least expensive corners in the game (with Smith the highest paid at $700K in 2020).
If Ward looks the part as a boundary corner, the Chiefs are going to be in much better shape overall at the position, both this year and the next. Kendall Fuller is scheduled to hit unrestricted free agency for the first time next spring, and Bashaud Breeland signed a one-year deal, which means the team’s two most experienced and talented corners will be hitting the open market at the same time. For a thin position, the timing isn’t exactly great.
That said, the Chiefs were able to add Breeland himself on an inexpensive one-year deal to shore up one outside spot in the secondary and every round of free agency features the same sort of players available. The Chiefs might also be interested in extending either player between now and then, depending on how they fare in Steve Spagnuolo’s new defense.
Therein lies the rub for anyone worried about the Chiefs future. It’s going to be a waiting game. The Chiefs are a team waiting to see if Charvarius Ward can be an NFL starter. The Chiefs are waiting to see if Bashaud Breeland fits the scheme well enough to offer him a multi-year deal. The Chiefs are waiting for Kendall Fuller to turn the corner as a player who can shut down the slot before thinking second contract.
If a few of these don’t pan out, then Nystrom might be right and the Chiefs might be once again waiting at or near the bottom of the first round on a cornerback to fall to them.