Short of making some kind of blockbuster trade the Chiefs are going to need to find a long-term solution at left tackle in this draft class. There are still some stop gap veteran options available in free agency, but at this point there isn’t anyone that you would consider as a long-term solution. So the Chiefs need a left tackle with enough talent and upside to trust protecting Patrick Mahomes‘ blindside for years to come. You don’t do that by taking a tackle in the mid-to-late rounds and hoping they develop into a reliable player. You do that by drafting someone early. Thankfully for K.C., this is a good class to do just that.
As I look through this year’s tackle class I feel like there are 13 tackles (14 if you consider USC’s Alijah Vera-Tucker a tackle, but I think he’s likely drafted as a guard) that teams will consider taking in the first two rounds of the NFL draft. For comparison’s sake, last year Lucas Niang was the ninth offensive tackle taken with the last pick of the third round.
Now, I’m not predicting that 13 tackles will go in the first two rounds, but I do think there are that many prospects who merit consideration, and it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see double digit tackles come off the board in the first two rounds. That kind of depth at a position means that K.C. could conceivably have a tackle that might normally come off the board in the mid-first round fall to them at pick 31, or that a borderline first round talent tackle might make it to them at the back end of the second round.
Here’s the list of tackles that I believe are worthy of considering in the first two rounds. While this is my current working order, I still have a lot more tape to watch and it’s definitely a work in progress, so focus more on the depth of the group than the specific order at this point.
- Penei Sewell – Oregon
- Rashawn Slater – Northwestern
- Christian Darrisaw – Virginia Tech
- Teven Jenkins – Oklahoma State
- Liam Eichenberg – Notre Dame
- Samuel Cosmi – Texas
- Alex Leatherwood – Alabama
- Jalen Mayfield – Michigan
- Jackson Carman – Clemson
- Spencer Brown – Northern Iowa
- Dillon Radunz – North Dakota State
- Brady Christensen – BYU
- Walker Little – Stanford
That’s a great group of prospects, and while some of them could slide into the third round because of the depth of this class, they all have at least the potential to go earlier. Frankly, in other draft classes, players like Cincinnati’s James Hudson or East Carolina’s D’Ante Smith might have even been looked at towards the end of the second round as well by a tackle-needy team. However, I think there might just be too much depth for guys like that this year and that works to K.C.’s advantage.
The other thing working in K.C.’s favor is that there are some really good mauling right tackle types that other teams may target and push some of the more prototypical left tackles down to the Chiefs. For example, Teven Jenkins is a monster tackle prospect who will likely go before the Chiefs pick in the first round, but I see him more as a right tackle and Jenkins going before K.C. picks could allow guys like Liam Eichenberg and Samuel Cosmi, who I believe will play left tackle, to make it to the Chiefs.
If I had to guess today, I think the Chiefs might target Eichenberg, Cosmi, or maybe Alex Leatherwood in the first round or Dillon Radunz, Brady Christensen, or Walker Little in the second round. While I would feel better about the first round group having to play this season, I think any of those players would make a great long-term solution at the position.
So now let’s take a look at the depth of this wide receiver class.