KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The NFL draft kicks off Thursday, April 27, and here’s a quick run down of everything Chiefs fans need to know about the draft.
How to follow the draft
For the first time the NFL draft moves to broadcast television, with FOX simulcasting NFL Network coverage on Thursday and Friday nights and ABC picking up ESPN coverage on Saturday.
Round 1: Thursday, April 26, 7 p.m. CT
Rounds 2-3: Friday, April 27, 6 p.m. CT
Rounds 4-7: Saturday, April 28, 11 a.m. CT
Round 1: NFL Network, FOX, ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes
Rounds 2-3: NFL Network, FOX, ESPN and ESPN2
Rounds 3-7: NFL Network, ABC and ESPN
Sports Radio 810 will carry ESPN Radio coverage of the draft all three days with local updates
Sirius XM NFL Radio on channel 88
TuneIn Radio will stream the NFL Network’s live coverage for all seven rounds
This year’s draft picks
Round 2, pick 22, No. 54 overall
Round 3, pick 14, No. 78 overall (via Washington for Alex Smith)
Round 3, pick 22, No. 86 overall
Round 4, pick 22, No. 122 overall
Round 4, pick 24, No. 124 overall (via Los Angeles Rams for Marcus Peters)
Round 6, pick 22, No. 196
Round 7, pick 15, No. 233 overall (via Arizona for Marcus Cooper)
Round 7, pick 25, No. 243 overall (via Tennessee for David King)
The Chiefs dealt away four of their own picks in this draft. Their first-round selection (No. 22 overall) went to Buffalo as part of compensation for the Patrick Mahomes selection last year. The club also dealt its fifth-round pick (No. 159 overall) to Cleveland for offensive lineman Cameron Erving. The Oakland Raiders currently hold that pick.
San Francisco picked up Kansas City’s seventh-round selection (No. 240 overall) in a 2016 deal for cornerback Kenneth Acker. The Chiefs received a sixth-round compensation selection (No. 209) overall for the free agent loss of Nick Foles. That pick went to the Rams in the Peters trade, and the Dolphins now hold the pick.
The Chiefs currently hold seven picks in the 2019 draft. The club holds two second-round picks, picking up the Rams’ second-round selection in the Peters trade. The team acquired linebacker Reggie Ragland from Buffalo in exchange for a conditional fourth-round pick.
If the Chiefs make a deal to move up into late in the first round or early in the second, the extra second-round pick provides valuable currency.
With the additions of free agents Sammy Watkins and Anthony Hitchens and the lack of marquee free agents leaving the Chiefs for other teams, Kansas City does not expect to pick up any additional compensation picks in the 2019 draft.
Where the Chiefs stand now
Here’s the current Chiefs roster along with the projected depth chart as it stands heading into offseason workouts.
Chiefs draft needs
Only general manager Brett Veach and his scouting team know for sure what positions of need the Chiefs have on their draft board. But defense appears the order of the day, with virtually every position a possibility. Here’s a quick breakdown of the team’s biggest needs heading into the draft.
Edge rusher: The Chiefs face big decisions on both Justin Houston and Dee Ford after the season, so picking up at least one edge rusher is a must. When Ford went down last year, the Chiefs showed how little depth they have at the position. Even if Tanoh Kpassagnon develops as a potential outside linebacker, the Chiefs need more pass rush help.
Cornerback: Veach says you can’t have enough guys that can cover, and last season the Chiefs didn’t. The additions of Kendall Fuller and David Amerson appear good moves, but replacing Marcus Peters and beefing up the leaky secondary requires more help.
Safety: The Chiefs have a deep safety bench but lack a true partner with Eric Berry in the starting lineup. Maybe Eric Murray can emerge in that role this year. But adding competition at the position would be nice, and there are talented athletes at safety that should be available fairly deep in the draft.
Defensive line: Tackle Xavier Williams should help a bit in the middle but the Chiefs still need more depth up front, especially with Allen Bailey a potential free agent after the season. Another area where Chiefs may draft for future need.
Offensive line: The Chiefs still have a question mark at left guard and could certainly use a replacement for Zach Fulton capable of playing multiple positions. The Chiefs have Cam Erving as a swing lineman for now, but adding depth is critical for a razor-thin bench whose depth got exposed at times last season.
The 54th selection
If the Chiefs hold tight with the 22nd pick of the second round, recent history offers mixed results for success. Cincinnati defensive end Carlos Dunlap ranks as the most successful, collecting 64.5 sacks over 118 games since his selection from Florida in the 2010 draft.
Last year’s 54th overall selection, Miami Dolphins linebacker Raekwon McMillan, did not play as a rookie last season. He sustained a torn ACL during a preseason game against Atlanta.
Last 10 selections with the 54th overall pick in the draft:
2017 LB Raekwon McMillan (0 games, 0 starts)
2016 CB Mackensie Alexander (27, 0)
2015 RB Ameer Abdullah (32, 22)
2014 RB Bishop Sankey (29, 12)
2013 DB Jamar Taylor (64, 38)
2012 WR Ryan Broyles (21, 6)
2011 CB Jaiquawn Jarrett (47, 9)
2010 DE Carlos Dunlap (118, 81)
2009 RT Phil Loadhold (89, 89)
2008 DE Jason Jones (109, 70)
The Chiefs have selected five players in franchise history with the 54th overall pick. Those selections have varied in their success, but none proved more successful than their first one.
Tight end Fred Arbanas from Michigan State was the franchise’s 54th selection in the 1961 AFL draft. The ninth selection in the sixth round played for three AFL championship teams with the Chiefs. Arbanas caught 198 passes for 3,101 yards and 34 touchdowns over nine seasons with the club. The Chiefs added Arbanas as the fourth member of the team’s Ring of Honor in 1973.
Other 54th overall selections by the Chiefs: RB Mike Cloud (1999), CB William Bartee (2000), S Bernard Pollard (2006) and DT Turk McBride (2007).
Five players selected 54th overall in the draft have made more than one Pro Bowl: Arbanas, RB Johnny Roland (1965), WR Sammy White (1976), WR Anquan Boldin (2003) and Dunlap.
Announcing the Chiefs’ picks
The NFL as usual plans for former players and special guests to help announce selections during the second and third days of the draft.
Former Chiefs running back Priest Holmes is slated to announce the team’s second-round pick on Friday night. Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker Willie Laner will announce the team’s third-round selection.
Service members and their families at Fort Riley army base near Manhattan will take part in draft announcements on Saturday. The sixth round will focus on youth sports, with the Fort Riley Child & Youth Services teams announcing selections.
When to pay attention
The Chiefs entered last year’s draft with the 27th selection in the first round, and everyone expected a late night. But the club made a stunning move to jump all the way to No. 10, so if you didn’t tun in early you missed the excitement.
Don’t expect the same drama this year. Yes, the Chiefs could re-enter the first round. But jumping event into the top 20 is remote. If the Chiefs do make a move into the first round, it’s probably no earlier than No. 25. That pick took place last year around 10 p.m. CT. Maybe tune in around 9:45 just in case.
If the Chiefs don’t make a first-round trade, Friday becomes interesting with the Chiefs holding three selections. The first pick is No. 22, but don’t lollygag on this one. Moving around early and often Friday night might be in the Chiefs plans, especially if they don’t make a trade Thursday night.
The club has five selections on Saturday, but the draft schedule is hit and miss. After two quick picks in the fourth round nearly back to back, the Chiefs have just one selection in the next 108 draft slots.
That is if Veach doesn’t make a trade. A common theme throughout draft prep revolves around the Chiefs appearing unlikely to sit still for three days without deals. Plans can change in a blink, so it’s worthwhile to keep an eye on the draft just in case on Friday and Saturday.
Matt Derrick is the lead beat writer for ChiefsDigest.com. Use the contact page to reach him or find him on Twitter: @MattDerrick.