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Mel Kiper Jr. makes long-term reaches for KC Chiefs in latest mock draft

STATE COLLEGE, PA - OCTOBER 31: Jayson Oweh #28 of the Penn State Nittany Lions lines up against the Ohio State Buckeyes during the second half at Beaver Stadium on October 31, 2020 in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
STATE COLLEGE, PA - OCTOBER 31: Jayson Oweh #28 of the Penn State Nittany Lions lines up against the Ohio State Buckeyes during the second half at Beaver Stadium on October 31, 2020 in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /
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Earlier this week, ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. released his latest 2021 NFL mock draft (subscription needed). His mock draft included two trades and six total quarterbacks taken in the first round.

In terms of the K.C. Chiefs, Kiper Jr. nailed it for Kansas City, as he had the Chiefs taking two players who would fill major holes on the roster. With his two picks for the Chiefs in this two-round mock, he selected linemen who will help the Chiefs in the trenches. Let’s look at how things look up close.

Round 1, Pick 31: Penn State DE Jayson Oweh 

Pass rush was been a glaring weakness for the Chiefs. The team lacked consistent four-man pressure, and that is why the team utilized blitz packages at one of the highest rates in the league last season. Kansas City added Jarran Reed this offseason to bolster the defensive line, but the Chiefs are still missing an edge rusher opposite Frank Clark. Adding one in the first round would be hard to argue with.

Oweh is regarded as one of the most intriguing prospects in the draft, one who continues to fly under the radar. The Penn State product offers a ton of upside, but many see the fact that he did not record a sack in the 2020 season as a red flag.  This may be true, but Oweh was not utilized correctly with his freakish athletic ability.

"“A pass-rusher with no sacks? What’s up with that? Well, the bottom line is you don’t necessarily feel he was utilized properly. He should have been on his feet, coming off the edge. Jayson Oweh had five and half sacks in 2019, had none this past year. He plays the run well, hustles and he’s a freak. Six-five, nearly 260 with incredibly long arms and that 4.39 speed. That will wake people up to the potential he has.”"

During the 2019 season, Oweh was a rotational player for the Nittany Lions and struggled with stopping the run. However, last season, he stepped up with 21 tackles against the run. He’s demonstrated that he is open to learning and improving his game where it needs to be improved.  Oweh would also  fit Kansas City’s defense as defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo loves speed and explosiveness in his personnel. Teams may be worried about his ability to get to the quarterback, but with coaching and development, Oweh could be a great fit with the Chiefs.

Kiper did have the Chiefs passing over Miami defensive end Gregory Rousseau, who was selected by the Atlanta Falcons at No. 35. People may have forgotten about Rousseau because he opted out in 2020 due to COVID-19, but in 2019 he totaled 15.5 sacks and 54 tackles. In this case, if Kansas City was looking for immediate impact, then Rousseau may be their guy because of his natural pass rushing ability. However, Oweh offers more upside and could be a player who breaks onto the scene later in the season.

If the Chiefs do end up taking Oweh with this pick, the team will need to understand that Oweh may not pop right out of the gates. Oweh is a redshirt sophomore who has only played about 20 collegiate games. There is plenty of potential in him and he should be expected to be a double-digit sack per season pass rusher. The explosiveness, length, bend, and plenty of room to improve in his game may be too tempting to pass up for the Chiefs.

Round 2, Pick 63: Stanford OT Walker Little

Drafting an offensive tackle in the first round may make more sense to some people, but this draft offers an abundance of depth at the position. Walker Little’s lack of play over the past two seasons may scare a number of teams away from drafting him, and it could cause him to slip to the back end of the second round.

Little has played 20 snaps over that time due to a knee injury that cost him in 2019 and the decision to opt out of the 2020 season because of COVID-19. Nonetheless, grabbing a potential franchise offensive tackle at the end of the second round could be viewed as a bargain for the Chiefs. If the draft unfolded like this, then Kansas City would be happy to grab Little at this point of the draft—if they viewed Little through that lens.

The Chiefs addressed left guard and center with the signing of Joe Thuney, who has been a fixture with the New England Patriots, and Austin Blythe, who last played for the L.A. Rams. They also filled out the right side of the line with Kyle Long and the return of Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, Lucas Niang, and Mike Remmers. The only spot on the line that is completely unknown is the left tackle position.

My biggest concern for Little is how long it would take for him to make a meaningful impact for the Chiefs. Not playing for two years is alarming, which means he could come out of the gates very sluggish and rusty. This would be a long-term play for the Chiefs, which would also mean making another move in the interim to find more immediate help. However, if the potential is here, waiting until the second round to draft an offensive lineman would make sense if the Chiefs feel there is more value at another position in the first round.

Next. 7-round mock draft brings proven performers to KC. dark