The Chiefs could have the opportunity to add another young and promising talent to their linebacker corps, and immediately improve a run defense that allowed 132 yards per game last year. The player who fits that description is Luke Kuechly, and he’d play alongside Derrick Johnson as a interior linebacker, providing an infusion of range and strength.
Fortifying the run defense is a clear need, but if the draft dominoes fall in another direction, there could be a more appeal option for the Chiefs. Ryan Tannehill is the cornerstone who will dictate how the first half of the draft plays out, and if he falls, he could be in play for the Chiefs as they look for their quarterback of the future to be groomed behind Matt Cassel.
But if KC is high on Tannehill there’s a strong possibility that a trade up will be required, most likely with the Jaguars at No. 7. And if Scott Pioli hasn’t evaluated Tannehill favorably, there will be plenty of teams willing to jump if he falls to No. 11, giving the Chiefs the opportunity to trade down.
Oh, and I’m aware that these previews are getting a little out of order as we
mercifully reach the end. I enjoy order in my life too, but don’t worry, we’ll get through this together.
1. Nearly every mock draft has Kuechly heading to the Chiefs, and filling a need while forming a scary tandem on the inside with Johnson. Do you see him as the best fit at No. 11?
I like him at No. 11 for the Chiefs because I think defense is going to be immensely important to the team moving forward. Until they have a stud franchise QB–and I don’t believe Cassel is that guy–the stronger their defense, the better. Kuechly be a clear upgrade over Jovan Belcher.
While I think he would be a good pick for KC, I have a feeling they won’t take him.
2. It still seems like a near certainty that Tannehill will be a top 10 pick. But fueled by Peter King, there’s been talk that if he slips the 11th overall pick could become a hot spot for trade activity. Do you see the Chiefs trading down?
I could see the Chiefs doing anything to tell you the truth, including trading up.
I think if Tannehill falls to the Chiefs they are going to have a tough decision on their hands. They know they need a QB, and they know they have the luxury, with Cassel on the roster, of allowing Tannehill the time he needs to get ready.
It comes down to how they view the second round QBs. If the Chiefs think they have a shot at a really good QB in the second round, I think they’ll trade back if there’s an offer. If they like Tannehill, though, I believe Pioli will pull the trigger. I think he is comfortable enough with where his team is at that he thinks they can still win and develop Tannehill for half a year or even a full season. He knows QB is the most important position on any team, and I think he knows now that Cassel may not be the guy that will win him championships.
The question is, what does he think of Tannehill?
3. Will the Chiefs take a cornerback early, and maybe in the second round after losing Brandon Carr? Or is Pioli satisfied at the position after signing Stanford Routt?
I do think they will take a CB and the second round would be an excellent target. If a guy they like is there, they’ll do it. KC signed Routt, but most of his contract value comes this year, so they have some flexibility there. Pioli has taken a CB every year with the Chiefs and he constantly talks about how this is a passing league. With teams in the nickel so much and with Philip Rivers and now Peyton Manning in the division, KC needs all the DBs it can get.
4. Any names on your wishlist beyond the first round?
If the Chiefs don’t snag Tannehill I’d love to see them get Brandon Weeden in the second. I am also a Mavin McNutt fan and would like to see KC add more depth to their WR core.