The Chiefs come in to 2017 as a sure fire playoff contender. But, to get over the top, they need to reload in certain spots. This draft has the depth for the Chiefs to fill all the holes they currently have. Quarterback will be a focus, but the Chiefs must also look elsewhere. The Chiefs must also find a replacement for Derrick Johnson. Finding weapons to work with on offense is another big key. Let’s take a look at what positions are important, and find some players who would fit the Chiefs well.
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Alex Smith will not be around forever, and many fans are calling for management to find his replacement. Fans want a quarterback that can push the ball down the field. But, there is no guarantee the Chiefs can get a quarterback with that trait. Here are two quarterbacks who could be the next franchise quarterback in Kansas City.
DeShaun Watson, Clemson: There is no denying that DeShaun Watson is a gamer. His leadership qualities boost his stock the most. Some teams believe he can start right away, while others believe he is a developmental prospect. Watson has plenty of strengths, but his arm is one that is often questioned. Watson doesn’t have the juice on his ball that other prospects do, but that won’t stop his motivation to prove himself. He would have a great situation in Kansas City, where he could sit behind Alex Smith for a year or two.
Patrick Mahomes, Texas Tech: Many Chiefs fans have fallen in love with Mahomes during the draft process. His arm strength is one of the reasons for this love. He makes throws that other quarterbacks in this draft just cannot make. Mahomes does have the Brett Favre genes in him, and that includes the bad along with the good. At times, Mahomes will try to make a throw off balance, which causes issues with accuracy. He must improve on his footwork in order to succeed in the NFL. But, the upside is too great to discount him.
The Chiefs already boast a very good running back group. But, that doesn’t mean they can’t add more depth to the position. Charcandrick West and Spencer Ware are very good players, but the Chiefs could use an all purpose back who can bring more than one dimension to the table.
Joe Mixon, Oklahoma: When discussing Joe Mixon, his past has to be part of the thought process. From what has been said, it seems that Mixon has apologized and wants to move forward. If that is indeed the case, Mixon will be a hot commodity in round two. Mixon has the ability to run downhill and has breakaway speed. There is risk with drafting Mixon, but if any locker room can handle off the field issues, it’s Kansas City.
Kareem Hunt, Toledo: Some people might have just uttered “Who?” with the mention of Kareem Hunt, but fans will soon know who he is. Hunt brings a nasty side when he runs the ball. He never gives up on his runs, and is no stranger to contact. Hunt would be a great complement to West and Ware, who usually become part of the passing game.
Corner may not seem like an obvious need, but some of that is masked by the play of Marcus Peters. His dominance on one side of the field grabs more headlines than the need opposite him on the defense. However, the Chiefs have a good situation here. Corner is one of the deepest positions in the draft.
Chidobe Awuzie, Colorado: Chidobe Awuzie has been very productive at Colorado this past season. Awuzie can play both inside and outside right away, and projects as a nice complement to Marcus Peters. He has the ball skills and instincts to compete in the high flying AFC west.
Cordrea Tankersley, Clemson: Cordrea Tankersley has largely flown under the radar in a very deep cornerback class. Standing at just over six feet tall, Tankersley has the height and length to excel on the perimeter. He reminds some of a shorter Sean Smith, based on his physical style of play near the line of scrimmage. This would be a great match based on what the Chiefs like to do on defense.
Linebacker may be the biggest need in the draft. Derrick Johnson may not return to form, and the Chiefs don’t have a stud backing him up. Luckily, there are some mike linebackers in this draft who would fit very well in Kansas City.
Jarrad Davis, Florida: When it comes to top talent at linebacker, look no further than Jarrad Davis. Davis does so many things well at the linebacker spot. He can play downhill against the run, and stay on the field on third downs in pass coverage. Davis controls the middle of the field as well as anyone. He also lays the boom on anyone that comes his way. Davis is a plug and play linebacker from day one.
Zach Cunningham, Vanderbilt: Another prospect worth mentioning here is Zach Cunningham. Cunningham has been a tackling machine at Vanderbilt in his last two seasons. He has become a sideline-to-sideline player and has improved his instincts and quickness. Cunningham, like Davis, can stay on the field on all downs, making him a great value pick for any team with a need at linebacker. The best part about Cunningham is that he is still improving.
Tune in to see who the Chiefs draft tonight in round one.
— Jake Schyvinck is a Managing Editor for cover32 and covers the Kansas City Chiefs. He can be followed on Twitter here.