The college football season is well underway and star players from conferences coast to coast are doing their best to put together the sort of performances and game tape that will draw the attention of scouts across the National Football League in the coming weeks and months. Already we're seeing rumors of Kansas City Chiefs scouts hitting the road to watch key football games themselves as they continue to analyze players and round out their reports.
All of this is, of course, in anticipation of the 2024 NFL Draft, an annual affair where college prospects hope to fulfill their dreams of being selected by one of 32 NFL teams during the three-day, seven-round long event.
These days the draft is more popular than ever with year-round analysis courtesy of draftniks, and we're suckers for it ourselves. In fact, we wanted to take a quick break from a very successful 2023 season so far for the Chief to look ahead at NFL Draft projections to see how things might turn out next spring.
Here's a survey of the latest mock draft selections linked with the Chiefs.
Ian Cummings of Pro Football Network has the Chiefs going with a very, very interesting selection in the first round of his most recent mock draft with the selection of Cooper DeJean, a cornerback out of Iowa.
So far this season, DeJean has 38 total tackles to go with 2 interceptions and 3 pass deflections. This comes one year after DeJean had 5 picks and 8 PBUs for the Hawkeyes.
Cummings says DeJean is "long and extremely physical. He’s also an elite athlete with gliding speed and explosiveness out of transitions. He’s a ball hawk who can track the ball and undercut routes, and he also offers coverage and alignment versatility."
What's interesting here about the pick is that the position itself is a bit of a curveball away from the typical projections for the Chiefs—defensive interior, offensive tackle, wide receiver. However, before you bash the pick, remember that the Chiefs were rumored to be in on Deonte Banks, a corner for the New York Giants, in last year's draft—and that was just one year after taking Trent McDuffie so early.
While the Chiefs have proven capable of coaching up late-round picks to be contributors at corner, there's also something to be said for raising the ceiling of the entire position. Just imagine the Chiefs secondary without McDuffie, for instance. In addition, the Chiefs are likely going to lose L'Jarius Sneed in free agency given the payday he's going to command.
This pick would likely depend on how high they were on DeJean specifically than about any positional need here, but the Chiefs wouldn't be averse to another high-impact corner if it was the right guy for the job.