Kansas City Chiefs 7-Round Mock Draft: Post-Combine Edition
Identifying Needs for the Kansas City Chiefs at 2014 NFL Draft
The 2013 NFL season was a success by nearly all rational indicators for the Kansas City Chiefs, as the team transformed from a 2-14 side to having a 11-5 record. That the Chiefs ended up losing in the NFL Wild Card Round to the Indianapolis Colts put a little damper on the season, but there will surely be few fans at Arrowhead Stadium who will have their heads hanging going into the 2014 season.
New head coach Andy Reid brought stability into a locker room that was already full of talent, getting the defense to coalesce into a singular unit, and the team developed into a physical and aggressive unit that ranked fifth in the NFL in points allowed per game. This normally meant that the team only had to be stable enough offensively to not blow the game through turnovers, and Alex Smith ensured this happened as the team only turned the ball over 11 times all season and actually ranked sixth in the NFL in points per game.
While the Chiefs ranked amongst the top teams in points for and against during the 2013 season, it can be made certain that the organization has needs to be filled during the current offseason. Amongst the most glaring needs are finding a true No. 1 receiving threat, help on the offensive line and a ball hawk safety.
Filling these numerous holes could prove to be difficult to the Chiefs through free agency because of the fact that the team only has $8.8 million in cap space right now which leaves them in the position of ensuring they draft efficiently. The organization has six picks at the upcoming draft, with one coming in the first, third, fourth and fifth rounds, and two picks in the sixth round.
Keeping these needs and numerous draft picks in mind, I have compiled a comprehensive mock draft for the Kansas City Chiefs, taking on each and every one of their picks. All of the players who have been selected have tremendous upside, could slide into a role playing on the field in 2014 and in the future could potentially even be starters.
1st Round, 23rd Overall - Kelvin Benjamin
Former Florida State wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin is a behemoth of a human being at 6-foot-5, 234-pounds, and he showed he has the athleticism to match this size with a 4.53 40-yard dash time and 10-yard time of 1.66. More importantly than these numbers is that Benjamin showed consistent ability to create space from defenders in college, has great hands and can make defenders miss in space. The Chiefs would be foolish to pass up on Benjamin with their first-round pick, as he would provide Alex Smith with a true No. 1 wide receiver and dominant red zone threat.
Round 3, 87th Overall - Ja'Wuan James
The Kansas City Chiefs have an obvious need on the offensive line because Branden Albert, Jon Asamoah and Geoff Schwartz are all free agents, and it is nearly impossible for the team to re-sign all three. Former Tennessee Volunteer right tackle Ja'Wuan James could help provide some depth at the position, and the youngster has an impressive resume. At 6-foot-6, 312-pounds his size is obvious, but he also has above average athleticism and started all 49 games during his college career in the physically imposing SEC. James should be around late in the third round and would provide the Chiefs with a cheap and stable option for the right side of their offensive line.
Round 4 - Arthur Lynch
The Kansas City Chiefs' top pass catching tight end during the 2013 NFL season was Sean McGrath, who compiled an underwhelming total of 26 receptions and 302 yards. There is no doubting that the team could use a true outlet from the tight end position, and former Georgia Bulldog Arthur Lynch could provide this. Lynch has good size at 6-foot-5, 254-pounds, and while he isn't the most athletic tight end in the world, he has the ability to be a good route runner and put up 500-600 yards per season at the NFL level. Furthermore, Lynch has proven to be a good blocker, and he would certainly be a great pick late in the fourth round for the Chiefs.
Round 5 - Kenny Ladler
The Kansas City Chiefs don't have even one stable option on board right now at free safety, and Kenny Ladler could stabilize the position for years to come. Ladler was a playmaker while at Vanderbilt, as in 2013 he picked up five interceptions and 91 tackles during the 2013 season and generally showed a knack to be where the ball was at. A disappointing 4.7 40-yard dash time at the NFL Combine will see his draft stock go down a bit which should make it possible for the Chiefs to pick him up late on in the fifth round.
Round 6 - Dri Archer
Former Kent State running back Dri Archer wowed everyone at the NFL Combine by posting a 40-yard dash time of 4.26, only .02 seconds off the all-time record. Despite this obvious blazing speed, it is doubtful that Archer won't be available late in the sixth round as his slight 5-foot-8, 175-pound frame and disappointing total of only 68 rushes in 10 games played in 2013 will have general managers looking for more stable options in earlier rounds. The Chiefs could take a gamble with this pick on Archer, hoping that he turns into a threat on returns, catching balls in the slot and as a great complement to Jamaal Charles in the backfield.
Round 6 - Kevin Norwood
Former Alabama wide receiver Kevin Norwood largely went unnoticed while playing college football as his totals of 38 catches, 568 yards and seven touchdowns in 2013 won't make jaws drop. Norwood looks likely to be a stable option at the NFL level, though, as he runs very efficient routes, doesn't drop any passes that he can get a finger on and a 4.48 40 time displays the fact that he can beat defensive backs down the field when necessary. After playing in a pro-style offense in college that is actually similar to that of the Chiefs in terms of conservative throwing patterns, it would appear that Norwood would fit in perfectly with Kansas City and would be a great choice late in the sixth round.