The NFL Draft is just three weeks away, meaning the mock are getting longer. ESPN’s Mel Kiper has broken out a three rounder that addresses three major needs for the Kansas City Chiefs. His projected first round pick for Scott Pioli is the same as his last go mock.
21. Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA
Ayers surprised a lot of people with some mediocre workouts at the combine, given his reputation for athleticism, but he bounced back at his pro day. And as I’ve said before, the tape doesn’t lie. This is a guy with the range of skills to help a team early. A good fit on the edge in the Chiefs’ system, Ayers fills an obvious need at outside linebacker in the 3-4 and isn’t just a pass-rusher. More in the Mike Vrabel mold, he can cover, rush and tackle well against the run.
55. Kansas City Orlando Franklin OL Miami (Fla)
86. Kansas City Greg Salas WR Hawaii
When comparing Ayers to Vrabel, keep in mind that it’s the Pats version not the one we’ve seen the past two seasons in Kansas City. There was a time that Vrabel was a legitimate threat off the edge, something we never got to see out of the 35-year-old with the Chiefs.
It might take a little while for Ayers to catch up to the speed of the NFL — like most rookies — but he becomes an immediate upgrade opposite Tamba Hali.
The Chiefs can’t possible draft Franklin. Because every time I think of football and the name Franklin all that pops in my head is Orlando Jones’ (no relation) character, Clifford Franklin, from “The Replacements”. Combine the two names and it would take my tiny brain years to get his name right on a consistent basis.
Seriously though, Franklin is an interesting option for Kansas City. The few times I watched Miami this year I wasn’t floored, but didn’t realize at the time that he was playing with torn meniscus in his knee. He finally got it cleaned up after the season but still found a way to compete at the combine. Says a lot about a guy that is still raw and might end up moving back to guard, where he spent his first three years at Miami.
Salas would bring a much-needed toughness to the wide receiver position. He’s an undersized guy (6’1″) that won’t ever be burner, but he will go up and out to get the ball with the best of them. The third team All-America is Hawaii’s all-time leader in receiving yards and finished his career with one of his best games: 13 catches, 214 yards and 2 touchdowns in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl.