Just two weeks from today the 2019 NFL Draft starts in Nashville, and there are plenty of options the Chiefs might go with their eight selections and No. 29 overall selection in the first round.
Here's the first mock draft at Chiefs Digest taking a stab at how the Chiefs might emerge looking after this year's draft. We'll run a few different models to see how different scenarios may play out over draft weekend.
This mock draft utilized the FanSpeak.com simulator with the following settings: Composite Big Board, Steve's team needs and the difficult mode.
First round, No. 29 overall: Byron Murphy, cornerback, Washington
This drafted unfolded largely as expected with quarterback Kyler Murray going to Arizona No. 1 overall followed by a bevy of edge rushers and defensive linemen.
Seven edge rushers went among the top 24 selections. Six left the board among the top 17 pickes, and Chase Winovich went to Oakland at No. 24, so Jachai Polite served as the dividing line between the first and second tier edge rushers. If the Chiefs feel the need to pickup a top-tier edge rushers, it seems the need to move into a least the top 15 – Montez Sweat went to Washington at No. 15. That move would likely cost the Chiefs No. 29, one of their second-round selections and likely a late-round pick.
Yet seeing Murphy fall to No. 29, however, appears an ideal match for the Chiefs. Only two corners are off the board – Greedy Williams and DeAndre Baker – so the Chiefs are getting good value. Some view Murphy as the top corner in the draft. The addition of Bashaud Breeland helps, but Kendall Fuller remains a potential free agent after 2019. That makes cornerback a position of strong need. I don't expect the Chiefs to stand pat at No. 29, but if they do and Murphy is on the board, this would be a great pick.
Second round, No. 61 overall: Garrett Bradbury, North Carolina State, 6-3, 306
A few interesting names remain on the board here, including safeties Taylor Rapp and Darnell Savage and wide receiver Andy Isabella. But it's a pleasant surprise finding the Rimington Trophy winner as college's best center and an All-ACC and Associated Press All-American this late in the second round.
He's a bit shorter than Mitch Morse, who measured at 6-5, 305 in 2015, but Bradbury fits the Chiefs offensive line model. He's a bit undersized yet athletic, so Bradbury can move outside and downfield in run blocking scheme and possesses solid pass-blocking skills.
The Chiefs saw enough from Austin Reiter to sign him to an extension during the season, but Bradbury projects as a potential All-Pro who can anchor an offensive line immediately.
Second round, No. 63 overall: Taylor Rapp, safety, Washington, 6-0, 208
The Saints selected Isabella at No. 62, and the Chiefs are back on the clock immediately finding a player some think projects as a potential first rounder. This would pair a couple of Washington Huskies in the secondary with Murphy in the first round. It seems a bit out of character for Veach, who loves players from the south, but Rapp is a great value here at another position of need.
Rapp can play free safety but also could serve as an heir apparent for Mathieu in the box. A defensive back end with Mathieu, Rapp and a healthy Armani Watts with Daniel Sorenson and Jordan Lucas off the bench suddenly looks like a position of strength.
Third round, No. 92 overall: Jace Sternberger, tight end, Texas A&M, 6-4, 251
The Chiefs offense survived the absence of Kareem Hunt and Sammy Watkins in the second half of 2018, but try this – imagine the Chiefs offense without Travis Kelce. This is a greater position of need than most may acknowledge because so much of the Kansas City offense runs through the tight end. The depth behind Kelce offers promise but plenty of questions.
Sternberger would provide a solution. The consensus All-American leans on only one season of college production, but he shows all the makings of a top-flight tight end. His scouting reports compare favorable to Kelce – a smooth route runner, good hands capable of making tough catches and hard runner. He may lack the strength and polish as a blocker, but the Chiefs need a sure-handed pass catcher behind Kelce.
Fifth round, No. 167 overall: Anthony Ratliff-Williams, wide receiver, North Carolina, 6-1, 205
The Chiefs have question marks at wide receiver, and might move to address this need earlier. Isabella was an option in the second, and I wouldn't be surprised if Veach moved into the fourth round to snag someone such as Missouri's Emanuel Hall.
But Ratliff-Williams presents as the best available player at a position of need here in the fifth round. He doesn't possess the speed of Tyreek Hill, but the former quarterback-turned-receiver offers plenty of athleticism with a high upside. He needs to improve his route running, but he seems to have the other skills needed for success as a pass catcher.
Sixth round, No. 201 overall: Maxx Crosby, edge, Eastern Michigan, 6-5, 255
The Chiefs could probably stand to aim at the edge rusher position earlier in the draft, and there's plenty of talent available among the top 10 edges. Crosby is less polished, but offers decent speed (4.66 40-yard time), a strong base and plenty of upside. He tallied 41 tackles for a loss in three college seasons, including 18 and a half sacks over the past two seasons. Not the pure speed rusher the Chiefs could use, but he fits the mold of Alex Okafor and Emmanuel Ogbah.
Sixth round, No. 214 overall: Alex Barnes, running back, Kansas State, 6-0, 226
Barnes looks straight out of casting for Veach, who admits he has a penchant for 6-foot, 220-pound running backs. Barnes posses decent speed and banged out a ridiculous 34 reps on the bench press at the combine. Put that together with his 1,355 rushing yards last season as a redshirt junior, and Barnes should be a late draft or priority free agent steal for some team. Might as well be the Chiefs, who can use depth and competition at the position.
Seventh round, No. 216 Trey Pipkins, offensive tackle, Sioux Falls, 6-6, 309
The Chiefs love to find athletic lumps of clay on the offensive line and allow coach Andy Heck to turn them into what they need. Pipkins compares with past draft picks Laurent Duvernay-Tardif and Kahlil McKenzie who offer size and skill but needed more experience to develop. Pipkins might project as a guard in the NFL, but the Chiefs could use a development prospect as a swing tackle as well.