KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Mock drafts often turn on the draft board available, and this latest seven-round draft for the Chiefs highlights how those disparities can impact a draft.
This dress rehearsal saw a run on the secondary, especially in the middle of the second round, leaving the Chiefs in a position of choosing one of the last upper-tier prospects at corner or likely pondering a move up to get the player they covet.
This draft once again used the FanSpeak.com draft simulator. To mix things up, I used the draft board from Bleacher Report's Matt Miller with user-voted team needs on the difficult setting.
Second round, No. 61 overall: Irv Smith Jr., tight end, Alabama, 6-2, 242
Pleasantly surprised to find Smith available here, expected him to go higher in the second round. As I've discussed in the earlier mock drafts, the Chiefs are playing with fire lacking a reliable No. 2 tight end behind Kelce. Even though the club expects Kelce at full strength after offseason ankle surgery, this is a position of need and Smith is a polished tight end who just needs a bit more strength and seasoning. Best available player at this spot.
Second round, No. 63 overall: Lonnie Johnson, cornerback, Kentucky, 6-2, 213
Only one more cornerback went off the board after Johnson, illustrating this serves as the cutoff before the depth of this draft for corners begins falling. It wouldn't surprise me if the Chiefs moved up in the second round to have a chance at secondary help – corners Joejuan Williams (No. 54) and Julian Love (No. 57) along with safeties Nasir Adderly (No. 55), Juan Thornhill (No. 58) and Darnells Savage Jr. (No. 59) all left the board right in front of the Chiefs. The club has an up close and personal scouting report on Johnson from new linebackers coach Matt House, who served as his defensive coordinator the past two seasons.
Third round, No. 84 overall: Andy Isabella, wide receiver, Massachusetts, 5-9, 188
The trouble with mock drafts is that knowing the board every team uses gives you too much insight into what could be available later. I will be stunned – absolutely stunned – if Isabella is in the third round Friday night, but if he is the Chiefs should rush the card to the podium as fast as lightning.
In reality, assuming a talent like Isabella isn't there, I could see the Chiefs moving out of the third round and trying to pick up a couple of fourth-round picks. The receiver position is thick enough that the Chiefs could drop back, pick up an extra pick next year, and still get the player they want. Not holding a fourth-round pick hurts when there should be some bargains in that round.
Fifth round, No. 167 overall: Ross Pierschbacher, center, Alabama, 6-4, 307
Pierschbacher is really starting to grow on me. I could also see the Chiefs going for a tackle in this spot as well. The club needs a reliable swing tackle, and this could be a good spot to find a project with a lot of upside. But Pierschbacher would be a nice developmental project who could take over at center soon.
Sixth round, No. 201 overall: Alex Barnes, running back, Kansas State, 6-0, 226
Barnes fits the physical profile of a Brett Veach running back to a tee. His breakout junior season at Kansas State showcased big-play abilities, although questions remain about his impact in the passing game. The Chiefs could also hang tight and look for another 6-0, 220-type running back in LSU's Nick Brossette later in the draft.
Seventh round, No. 214 overall: Cole Holcomb, linebacker, North Carolina, 6-1, 231
The Chiefs have shown a lot of interest in Holcomb, who attended the regional combine in Kansas City and later returned for a private visit. They like his upside and ability to fit into the 4-3 scheme.
Seventh round, No. 216 overall: Ethan Greenidge, offensive tackle, Villanova, 6-4, 327
The Chiefs could use a swing tackle, and Greenidge fits the team's model of drafting players with size and and turning them into what they need. Could move inside to guard if he doesn't pan out at tackle, or could serve as a swing lineman the Chiefs prize.
Draft grade: B-plus
This draft hit a lot of needs, especially at corner, tight end, receiver and offensive line. No safety in this draft, but I'm not sold Veach is in the market for a safety unless he can land one of the top handful in the second round. Finding Isabella in the third round was a steal. The last four picks all offer risk with a lot of upside, but the first three picks should turn into solid contributors.