A year after the Kansas City Chiefs were the ones dictating which way the NFL Draft would go by owning the top pick, they will be waiting to see what everyone else is doing in front of them before making their selection with the 23rd pick.
With no second round pick (sent to San Francisco in the Alex Smith trade), they could be waiting even longer before they get to make a second selection.
Of course, mock drafts are mostly just good for being mocked after the fact since none of us have any idea how things are going to shake out. For all we know, GM John Dorsey and head coach Andy Reid could end up moving all over the draft board to try and recoup that second rounder.
The one thing the Chiefs are going to need to do if they are going to get back to the playoffs is put together a draft class that performs on the field. That’s something that was overlooked last season, with just Eric Fisher and Knile Davis contributing throughout the year.
Here is my best guess at the type of players the Chiefs will target and for what it’s worth, 23 of the 24 players I’ve mocked over the last three years are still in the league. We’ll start things off with a pick that likely wouldn’t be very popular in Kansas City.
1. Ra’Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota
“But… the Chiefs have to take a wide receiver!”
Before taking Fisher first overall last season, Dorsey was part of a front office with the Green Bay Packers that selected a defensive or offensive lineman every year from 2009-12 in the first round. Reid had the same line of thinking with the Philadelphia Eagles, bringing in a lineman in the first round his final three years running the show.
Obviously that doesn’t mean the Chiefs will add some beef along either line in the first round, but it should tell you they both believe in building their teams with strength up front. And it doesn’t get much more impressive for a big man than Hageman.
If you think Dontari Poe was a freak, you’ll dig what the big man from Minnesota can do.
Poe had a better 40 (4.98 to 5.02) and more reps on the bench (44 to 32), but Hageman had a better vertical jump, broad jump, 3 cone drill and 20 yard shuttle. The former tight end also has bigger hands and longer arms that Poe, though the Chiefs defensive anchor out weighs Hageman by a good 35 pounds.
None of this means he’ll end up being the player Poe has worked himself into, but getting these two guys on the line together would give offensive lines fits. Hageman also would be a huge addition even if it just allowed Poe to take less punishment during the season.
If Dorsey and Reid decide to focus on the other side of the line instead, I think Xavier Su’a Filo from UCLA would be the perfect choice. A guy that come step in immediately and start, allowing the Chiefs to head into training camp with their line set.
3. Donte Moncrief, WR, Ole Miss
The Chiefs need to replace a receiver from Ole Miss, so why not draft another one?!
Moncrief is no Dexter McCluster and that’s a good thing. He’ll bring much needed speed to the Kansas City offense and at 6″2′, 220, there’s no worrying about him breaking into three after every big hit.
If the young (just 20 years old), athletic receiver is still on the board when the Chiefs third-round pick rolls around, it’s hard to imagine Dorsey and Reid passing him up.
4. C.J. Fiedorowicz, TE, Iowa
Anthony Fasano will be back and there’s hope that Travis Kelce (recovering from microfracture surgery) can join him to give the Chiefs some weapons at tight end. But Fasano played in just nine games and Kelce will be coming off a frightening surgery for athletes, making the position very much still a need in Kansas City.
Fiedorowicz can come in and be everything from blocking tight end to a starter moving the chains across the middle, whatever the Chiefs offense needs. Considering some of the guys Smith had to work with when the injury bug was biting, the former Hawkeye would be welcomed with open arms.
5. Yawin Smallwood, LB, Connecticut
Tamba Hali, Justin Houston and Derrick Johnson headline the Chiefs linebacking corps and help to mask the fact there isn’t much there beyond the three studs.
Smallwood is a guy that I believe would have been a lock to go in the third round if he would’ve been able to workout at full strength. Instead, he hurt his hamstring running the 40 at the combine (leading to a 5.01) and and wasn’t able to take another shot at the 40 during his pro day. Even with the 40 issue, he might not be around this long.
Worst case scenario, the former Husky will be a great hit-and-run special teamer for Dave Toub while adding depth at linebacker. But if he comes into camp healthy, he should have a shot to get some run next to Derrick Johnson.
6. Kadeem Edwards, G, Tennessee State
The Chiefs seem to be happy with the progress Fisher made after taking the step up from Central Michigan last season. Would they take a chance on another offensive lineman that will need extra time to adjust? If they feel comfortable with that, Edwards is one of the best options in the draft.
The FCS Second Team All-American played 44 games (40 starts) during his time at Tennessee State and brings with him solid size (6’4″, 308) and long arms (34.5″).
6. Lonnie Ballentine, S, Memphis
A lot of experts have pegged the safety as an undrafted free agent, but with the Chiefs currently without a seventh round pick, they can lock down Ballentine without having to fight other teams after the draft.
The former Tiger just turned 21 last month and responded to not getting a combine invite by obliterating the Memphis pro day with a sub 4.4 40, 38″ vertical and 18 reps on the bench. Not too shabby for a 6’3″, 220 pounder.