It is time.
The most exciting non-game day event sports has ever created. Draft Day. The day of rampant speculation, unwarranted anger, and snap judgements good enough for everyone with a Twitter account.
Two days after my last mock draft the Chiefs signed Marquez Valdes-Scantling to a three-year contract, bolstering the receiving corp after trading Tyreek Hill.
That trade and that signing left me with lots of options and lots of ammunition to explore multiple scenarios heading into draft day. Here’s what my front office team and I have been kicking around as the best strategy entering tonight’s first round.
1. Trade 29 and 50/62 to move up in the first – target a wide receiver
The only truly viable trade up scenario is to be for a wide receiver only. I really like the idea of targeting an offensive tackle, and it’s possible I could get lucky and Bernhard Raimann or Tyler Penning will still be on the board in the mid-to-late teens, but if I’m trading up I’ve decided it has to be either for a receiver or an EDGE. I need impact at a need position.
2. Stay put, use both 29 and 30 to double up on defense
With the way my board sits I don’t think I’m getting one of the Tier 1 receivers I really want falling to 29. The only two I’m thinking have a chance to get to me are George Pickens and Treylon Burks, but frankly I’m out on both guys. Pickens has reports floating around about his terrible attitude and that’s something I can’t afford right now with WR being such a need position for my roster after next season. Burks just isn’t a fit for what I want and frankly I have questions about his conditioning. Doubling up on defense I have a shot at an EDGE and a quality defensive back.
3. Take one/trade one and get as many picks from rounds 2-5 as possible
I’m already sitting with Two 2s (50 and 62), Two 3s (94; 103), and Two 4s (125; 135), so my current draft value is pretty good, but after 135 I’m hanging out with the boys playing Mario Kart until pick 233. I at least need some picks in rounds five and six to give myself a shot at a guy I like, if he happens to fall.
The brain trust and I had many a talk about this one. We’ve decided on strategy No. 3.
Reminder: I’m building this mock draft as if I am in charge of the roster as it currently sits. I’m not predicting or saying what the Chiefs should do. I trust in Veach.
Let’s build our house.
I’m on the clock with my first pick and Bernhard Raimann is on the board. While I took Raimann in my last mock, I’ve decided against targeting the 24.5 year old tackle in this one. The RTs on the team are serviceable enough and I have more important needs to fill.
I’m looking to get out of 29 and keep pick 30 for myself. The Colts are on the horn and offering Picks 42, 73, and 179 to get up to my spot. This is exactly what I need in order to target more depth.
The Colts took Skyy Moore, who is a fine receiver talent but not someone I had concern about. So now the decisions start.
Lewis Cine is on the board and I like the idea of adding his physical traits to the secondary that’s without Tyrann Mathieu. Two tackles are on the board and either one of them would fit as well. But I came into this draft needing speed and athleticism off the EDGE in a big way and Arnold Ebiketie provides that.
The Pick: Arnold Ebiketie, EDGE
Pick 42 comes and I’m running to the podium because Jalen Pitre is my guy for the secondary after watching him move at the combine. Smooth runner with elite hips that lined up all over the Baylor secondary. He’s got the versatility my defensive coordinator covets.
The Pick: Jalen Pitre, CB
Now we have decisions. Three potential targets still on the board in Drake Jackson, Josh Paschal, and Abraham Lucas. Leo Chenal’s freak testing make me wonder if he could be deployed the same way Micah Parsons is in Dallas – some time spent at off-ball linebacker but a lot of time as a pass rusher.
Because I have multiple options available I’m going to take the best offer that drops me back a couple picks and allows me to grab another 3rd. The Patriots are my deal.
Jackson and Lucas are still on the board, as well as Nick Cross and his 4.3 40 in the combine at safety. I’m interested.
But my dilemma is the defensive line and how thin it is. I need bodies with high end traits and Logan Hall at 6-6 260 as position flexibility and the length my coaches love.
The Pick: Logan Hall, D-Line
I am as happy as a pig in shit. My defensive coordinator loves to play multiple safeties, and there’s a heat-seeking missile that I was interested in at 54 still on the board at 62. I’m taking Nick Cross and giggling in my war room that my D-Line and secondary got a whole lot better with these four picks.
The Pick: Nick Cross, S
Now I get my receiver. #MyGuy is Alec Pierce, the No.1 receiver left on my board and a guy that provides all the things I would have been looking for if I took a receiver in the first round: size, speed, can make plays at the catch point.
He may be raw as a receiver but we ain’t scared about that ’round here, we’re looking for traits and he’s got’em.
The Pick: Alec Pierce, WR
There’s a couple decent tackle prospects on the board but I’ve got value staring at me I can’t pass up.
I know I’ve taken linebacker in the second round in each of the last two drafts, and those two – Nick Bolton and Willie Gay – are my two starters. But I don’t have any depth at the position and I’d like to have another guy that can play in coverage against the better running backs, just so I can match up in case Bolton isn’t the guy to use that week.
Brian Asamoah, linebacker from Oklahoma, was No.48 on my big board and he’s here for the taking at 85. We’re in best player available mode and improving our depth.
The Pick: Brian Asamoah, LB
I’m getting depth on my offensive line now. Braxton Jones has an egregious 35+ inch arm length which fits in well with what my offensive coaches look for in a quality tackle. Yes he played at a small college in Southern Utah, but his grades are ridiculous for the level and I’ve got the best o-line coach, Andy Heck, in the league. I’m betting on his traits and my coaches.
The Pick: Braxton Jones, OT
Pick 103 dials up and there’s plenty of receivers, EDGEs and the athletic freak Jelani Woods still available. Even though I’ve only taken two picks on offense, I’m still looking to fill my defensive secondary with speed and length and Zyon McCollum fits both of those descriptions. I’m hoping I’ve got another L’Jarius Sneed on my hands.
The Pick: Zyon McCollum, CB
Time to get Patrick Mahomes more weapons. Tight end that tested well and, according to PFF, “is a well-rounded athlete who ticks all the physical boxes for the position. He went woefully underutilized for the Aztecs, with only 767 yards in three seasons as a starter.”
The Pick: Daniel Bellinger, TE
You see a theme building with my middle round picks. I want traits. No running back in this draft combines size and speed like D’vonte Price. Big time Antonio Gibson vibes with Price, and he provides much needed top end speed for my running back room.
The Pick: D’Vonte Price, RB
Noah Elliss, DT
Joshua Williams, CB
Brock Purdy, QB
I’m in love with my first six picks and while I did not get one of the flashy names at receiver, the upside of Pierce rivals that of a Treylon Burks or Jahan Dotson, and I reloaded my defense with needed speed and versatility in the process.
The athletic upside of Bellinger, McCollum, and Price give this draft the type of boom potential you have to have with 12-picks overall going in. Which is why I decided to go against the trade-up strategy to begin with. My current roster needs more lottery tickets than appears on the surface with the lack of depth, and I think I’ve balanced a higher floor with some high-end potential as well.