After reading countless articles on the Chiefs draft needs, browsing through every mock draft by experts and fans alike, and contemplating the biggest holes to fill, the major consensus seems to be that the Kansas City Chiefs should draft a wide receiver. In fact, there have been few suggestions that the Chiefs draft otherwise.
This makes a lot of sense. First, the Chiefs lack a big-play threat opposite Dwayne Bowe. Speedster Donnie Avery underachieved last year, and also had problems with drops. Dexter McCluster fled through free agency, leaving the Chiefs without a potential dynamic playmaker that can get under defenses in the slot or middle of the field, as well as stretch the defense with catches like this one. Junior Hemingway has shown flashes of being a suitable receiver but has mostly been inconsistent during his short career. AJ Jenkins only had 8 receptions last year although there is still hope that he can become more reliable and a bigger part of the offense. The only other notable receiver on the Chiefs roster is Weston Dressler, who the Chiefs signed this offseason from the Canadian Football League. He has never played a snap in the NFL, is very small (5’8” and 179 lbs), but has had a decent career in the CFL.
Second, Dwayne Bowe (who also underperformed last year – 57 receptions for 673 yards and 5 td’s) is a huge hit on the Chiefs salary cap. The 5-year contract he signed last year will pay him $11 million per year ($12 million salary cap hit in 2014), which combined with his lack of productivity could result in a trade down the road. The Chiefs could be looking to groom his replacement, so drafting a wide receiver or two would be wise for the future, especially since the Chiefs did not make any significant free agent additions at wide receiver this offseason (so far).
Third, the Chiefs will need to score lots of points to hang with the San Diego Chargers and Denver Broncos. They lost all four of their games against those teams last year and will need all the help they can get to score points and create offense.
For the Chiefs 1st round pick, Mel Kiper has predicted they will select WR Marqise Lee from USC (and also WR Kelvin Benjamin from Florida State); Steve Muench predicted WR Cody Latimer from Indiana; Tim White here at Chiefs 360 predicted WR’s Brandin Cooks (Oregon St.), Allen Robinson (Penn St.), and Jordan Matthews (Vanderbilt); kcsmallz from Chiefs 360 also predicted WR Brandin Cooks; and jlthomas58 from Chiefs 360 predicted WR Odell Beckham, Jr. (LSU).
Despite the seemingly majority opinion that the Chiefs will select a wide receiver in the 1st round, I think that they will look at other positions, for a few reasons. First, this is a deep draft, especially for wide receivers. There will likely be decent receivers available for the Chiefs in the 3rd and 4th rounds. Second, wide receivers drafted in the first round are a gamble, and few have lived up to expectations. It is rare to find receivers like Randy Moss, but numerous Jonathan Baldwins exist. Third, the Chiefs also have pressing needs on the offensive line and in the backfield. Considering that the Chargers and Broncos employ dangerous passing games behind their solid quarterbacks, the Chiefs can also use more defensive backs to prevent those teams from scoring. Fourth, John Dorsey has openly declared his policy is to draft the best player available, which is what his former team the Green Bay Packers have done and they have generally remained a solid team. If Dorsey follows that strategy this year, it is possible that the Chiefs will draft someone like Teddy Bridgewater or Johnny Manziel if they are available at the 23rd pick.
The Chiefs are hoping that Sanders Commings will develop into a good player in the secondary next year, and therefore I see the Chiefs drafting a guard, possibly Zack Martin from Notre Dame if he is available. With Geoff Schwartz, Branden Albert, and Jon Asamoah all leaving in free agency, the Chiefs will need some stability on the offensive line, which is best established by developing homegrown talent from the draft.
What do you think – who will the Chiefs draft?