Chiefs mailbag: Wide receiver, offensive line remain hot topics

The post-Combine edition of the mailbag reflects two positions are heavy on minds as the Chiefs enter an exciting time of the year: NFL Draft preparation and free agency.

In a perfect world, West Virginia’s Kevin White slides and the Chiefs pounce on the gifted 6-3, 215-pound wide receiver at No. 18 or at least attempt to move up in the first round to get him.

White boosted his draft stock with a blazing 4.35 40-yard dash time at the NFL Scouting Combine, and he certainly doesn’t lack for confidence.

“I don’t feel that any receiver can do what I can do,” White said during his Combine media session. “Whether it’s blocking, creating space, taking a tunnel screen to the house. I do it all. Don’t feel like guys can do what I can do. Not saying that to be cocky, just confident. I feel like I’m one of a kind.”

Size, speed to vertically stretch the field and confidence?

Take that on any given Sunday, making it highly unlikely the Chiefs would go another regular season without a wide receiver touchdown if White is running routes.

Should the Chiefs stand pat at 18, take the best offensive lineman available and that could be Pittsburgh offensive tackle T.J. Clemmings, who measured 6-5, 309 pounds at the Combine. Clemmings, a converted college defensive end, played right tackle his final two seasons at Pittsburgh, but appears to have the skill set to potentially be the swing tackle.

The Chiefs have the luxury to go with an offensive lineman in the first round given the depth of this year’s wide receiver class, and Kansas State’s Tyler Lockett or East Carolina’s Justin Hardy should offer intrigue in the third- to fourth-round range.

At defensive back, Utah’s Eric Rowe, who projects as a third- or fourth-round pick, commanded attention at the Combine.

The 6-1, 205-pound Rowe is versatile having converted to cornerback from free safety and has the size the Chiefs covet. He also revealed at the Combine the scheme he is the most comfortable in, which should be music to Chiefs’ ears.

“Press-man scheme just because at Utah that was basically our defense, a lot of press-man stuff,” Rowe said. “It’s just something I’m used to.”

Kansas City projects to have 11 draft picks via the compensatory route, so the team has ammunition to move around in the draft if it chooses.

Not a fan of that strategy.

The only way the Chiefs should even consider going back-to-back wide receiver in the first two rounds is if general manager John Dorsey is competing in a point-per-reception Fantasy Football league.

This year’s draft at the wide receiver position is regarded as deep – perhaps deeper – than the 2014 class.

“A lot of wideouts this year, man, just like last year,” NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock said on the final day of media availability at the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine. “The thing about this draft is I don’t know where (Devin) Funchess is going or what he’s going to be. I don’t know where DGB, Green-Beckham, is going or Breshad Perriman, who didn’t work out today because of injury. He’s another guy that if he tests well, he can make a conversation about him in the first round. And then you start talking about your guy, Devin Smith, or Phillip Dorsett or those kinds of guys and it’s exciting how deep you can get in this wide receiver class again with quality players.”

With the projected extra draft picks, there should be plenty of options available at the wide receiver position for the Chiefs to select from beyond the first and second rounds.

The 6-3, 192-pound Jacoby Jones, who was released by the Baltimore Ravens on Wednesday, is a stud returner.

But the Chiefs have a need for a bona fide wide receiver, especially in light of last year’s disappointing effort from the receiver corps and the recent releases of Donnie Avery and A.J. Jenkins.

Jones turns 31 in July and has never posted a 600-yard receiving season on his eight-year career with the Houston Texans (2007-11) and Ravens (2012-14). He was named a first-team All Pro and selected to the Pro Bowl in 2012 as a returner, but posted just 30 catches for 406 yards and a touchdown that season.

Jones’ best season statistically as a wide receiver came in 2010 when he recorded 51 catches for 562 yards on 78 targets, adding three touchdowns. His career-high in receiving touchdowns was six in 2009.

The Chiefs have younger returners Knile Davis, De’Anthony Thomas and Frankie Hammond Jr. on the roster, and Albert Wilson can also return kicks.

The Chiefs don’t have a need for another returner.

Both areas demand attention given the struggles during the 2014 season.

The team could fill holes at either position through free agency before the draft, and the Chiefs lack of a wide receiver touchdown in 2014 is well-documented.

That said, everything starts up front with the five men responsible for allowing time to make a scheme work.

The 2014 season produced major protection issues leading to 49 sacks (quarterback Alex Smith was sacked a career-high 45 times). And the Chiefs have allowed 90 total sacks in the two seasons since general manager John Dorsey and coach Andy Reid arrived in 2013.

The Chiefs under this regime have a draft philosophy surrounding best man available, but the decision makers aren’t likely to ignore glaring needs along the front five.

And this especially important when considering the West Coast offense scheme depends so much on timing, which is disrupted if pass rushers are consistently in the quarterback’s face before a play develops.

Center Rodney Hudson, who is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent on March 10, expressed a desire to return to the Chiefs, but it likely comes down to money.

Lots of money.

CBS Sports NFL reporter Jason La Canfora speculates Hudson “ends up with at least $7M a year” in the free agency market. La Canfora adds the Oakland Raiders are “looking hard” at Hudson.

Should the Chiefs lose Hudson to free agency, center Eric Kush projects as the next man up.

Kush, one of the Chiefs’ two sixth-round picks in the 2013 NFL Draft, sat behind Hudson the past two seasons. He’s fresh and should be ready.


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