The 2017 NFL draft was full of surprises, but none bigger than when the Kansas City Chiefs traded three picks to move up 17 spots to select Patrick Mahomes II. Less than a year later the Chiefs are now handing him the keys to the franchise after agreeing to trade Alex Smith to the Redskins.
Over the past few seasons, the Chiefs have done a great job finding quality players outside of the first round. In 2013 they drafted All-Pro Travis Kelce in the third round, electric play maker Tyreek Hill in the fifth round in 2016 and current rushing champion Kareem Hunt last year in the third round.
Without their first round pick this year, the Chiefs will have to strike gold in the middle rounds again. Thanks in part to the Smith trade, the Chiefs have a total of eight draft picks this year. With these eight picks the Chiefs need to improve a defense that struggled in 2017, and give Mahomes a great supporting cast.
To make this mock more realistic, I used the Fanspeak mock draft feature and did five different drafts. Taking my favorite selection for each pick and combining it into one mock draft.
Round 2, 54th Overall: D.J. Moore, WR, Maryland
Like I said in the intro, the Chiefs have to give Mahomes a great supporting cast. Kelce, Hill, and Hunt are a great trio but who else does Mahomes have to count on. Demarcus Robinson isn’t a starting-caliber wide receiver and Albert Wilson is a pending free agent. D.J. Moore is excellent at creating space, thanks to his good route running ability — which can be credited to his technical and smooth hips. With Kelce controlling the middle of the field and Hill’s depth threat ability, Moore can be the technician on the other side taking advantages of one-on-one match-ups.
Out-And-Up. Jab step out route with his eyes upfield to get DB to flip his hips, hard inside lean into DB to step on his toes and create separation.
High points ball in the air and shows impressive body control and strong hands. pic.twitter.com/L9UvDbpmfe
— Brad Kelly (@BradKelly17) February 3, 2018
Round 3, 78th Overall (from Redskins): DeShon Elliott, SAF, Texas
The Chiefs are assuming Eric Berry is ready to go week one after tearing his Achilles on opening night. While Berry is an All-Pro, the starting spot opposite of him could upgraded. Ron Parker will be 31 years old when the 2018 season kicks off and the salary cap strapped Chiefs can save about $5.7 million if they release him. DeShon Elliott had a break out junior season, finishing tied for fourth in the country with six interceptions, thanks to his strong mix of range, instincts, and ball skills. In the Smith trade, the Chiefs got back promising third year cornerback Kendall Fuller to pair with fourth year Pro Bowler Marcus Peters, and Berry. Adding Elliott to that group would give the Chiefs one of the best young defensive back units in the league.
Right before the half @OfficialShon_4 shows off his elite ball skills. After the ball goes off the receiver's hands he pops into the picture, makes the great grab and for an added bonus he returns it for six #Longhorn points. #HookEm pic.twitter.com/NHXdMhvZe4
— Mike Fanelli (@MikeSports22) February 4, 2018
Round 3, 86th Overall: Josh Sweat, EDGE, Florida State
Despite the big names at the position, the Chiefs outside linebackers/edge defenders are not as good as advertised. Justin Houston has just 21 sacks over the last three seasons after having 22 in 2014. Tamba Hali played in just five games this season and only has 3.5 sacks over his last 21 games. The Chiefs can save $7.7 million against the cap if they release Hali. Dee Ford played just six games this season and had only two sacks, and the Chiefs can save $8.7 million against the cap by releasing him. All this sums up that the Chiefs need help out the edge. Check out Josh Sweat’s scouting report, but what I like most about him is his great mix of size and athleticism. As a former number one overall high school recruit, Sweat has a ton of upside. However, his history of knee injuries will scare off some NFL teams.
I'm not sure Josh Sweat is fully recovered from the ACL tear in high school. Which is scary, because he's already a damn good player. Can only imagine how his FSU career would've gone without that.
— Mark Jarvis (@WhatsOnDraftNFL) January 8, 2018
Round 4, 124th Overall: Auden Tate, WR, Florida State
As nice as Hill is, and as great of a prospect Moore is, neither receiver is taller than 6’0”. Auden Tate is listed as 6’5” and plays up to his height on film. With a strong combination of size, strong hands, leaping ability, and toughness, Tate will provide Mahomes with a big-bodied receiver he can throw it up to knowing his guy will come down with the ball in traffic. Even more so, Tate has an excellent ability to contort his body in order to make catches. Tate plays above the rim and will come down with whatever Mahomes throws at him.
— Mike Fanelli (@MikeSports22) February 4, 2018
Round 6, 199th Overall: Darius Leonard, LB, South Carolina State
Darius Leonard is a little-known prospect right now, but has NFL starter potential. As a high school senior, Leonard weighed only 185 lbs, but during his four years in college he has reportedly added 50 lbs. Leonard has great reactive athleticism and has excellent pursuit speed. While his body frame may not be able to add much more weight, the NFL has seen smaller, more athletic linebackers succeed. With Derrick Johnson turning 36 during the 2018 season, the Chiefs need to address the future at inside linebacker.
SC State LB Darius Leonard reminds me of Telvin Smith coming out of FSU. Tall/lean build, fast & ultra instinctive. #SeniorBowl
— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) January 23, 2018
Round 6, 211th Overall (Projected Comp Pick): Poona Ford, DL, Texas
After several years with Dontari Poe manning the middle of the defensive line, Bennie Logan was signed last year to fill that spot. However, Logan only signed a one-year contract and is likely to leave in free agency. Poona Ford has risen up draft boards after strong performances at the Shrine and Senior Bowl games. However, despite two strong outings, he didn’t get an invite to the Combine. While Ford is a smaller defensive tackle, he is stout and has over an 80 inch wingspan; that would put him on par with the average 6’8” man.
— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) January 31, 2018
Round 7, 233rd Overall (from Cardinals): Michael Dickson, P, Texas
Dustin Colquitt has been the Chiefs punter since 2005. However, he turns 36 in May and is a pending free agent. Michael Dickson won MVP honors in the Texas Bowl as he landed 10 of 11 punts inside the opponents 15 yard line, and four of those inside the five yard line. For the season, Dickson was third in the country averaging 47.4 yards per punt. Dickson was the only punter to declare for the draft early, and is the only one guaranteed to be drafted.
#Texas P Michael Dickson was named MVP of the #AcademyTexasBowl. He is the first non-offensive player to be named MVP in Texas Bowl history and is the 2nd-ever punter to be named MVP of a bowl game (Florida State P Graham Gano was named MVP of the 2008 Champs Sports Bowl)
— Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl (@TexasBowl) December 28, 2017
Round 7, 243rd Overall (from Titans): Riley Ferguson, QB, Memphis
Once the Smith trade becomes official in March, Mahomes will be the only quarterback under contract, as third stringer Tyler Bray is a pending free agent. In four seasons in Kansas City, Bray has thrown one pass. The Chiefs will likely bring in a veteran quarterback to compete with Riley Ferguson for the back-up role. Worst case, Ferguson loses the back-up role and instead can be placed on the practice squad to develop.
The #Chiefs are NOT set at QB! Only Mahomes under contract for 2018. That means expect KC to draft at least one this year. I'm liking Riley Ferguson as a backup option. #ChiefsKingdom https://t.co/1yTRv2mEfl
— Ben Almquist (@citadelchief) February 5, 2018