The biggest question I’ve seen this offseason is what should the Chiefs do at wide receiver. Honestly, that has been a question Chiefs fans have been asking for years. Even before Kansas City traded off Tyreek Hill, fans were asking what the Chiefs were going to do behind him. While we had possibly the best receiver in football, we had no depth behind him. After trading Hill, we built a roster with solid depth at receiver, but no true number one. The way the roster sits now, we have one receiver that has broken 600 yards. A lot of fans, including me, are antsy to see what the Chiefs will do to give Mahomes a legitimate weapon. However, maybe this year isn’t the year to do it.
Me, along with hundreds of other Chiefs fans have put out thousands of mock drafts. A good majority of them have us taking a wide receiver at some point in the mock. While there are several solid receiving prospects, are there any true number-one receivers in this class? Jaxon Smith-Njigba is the most well-rounded receiver in this class, but he lacks burst and downfield speed, which is something the Chiefs covet. My second-ranked receiver in this class is Jordan Addison. Addison is the best route runner in this class and has some bursts, however, he saw his stats drop off last year after switching schools to USC. Addison plays primarily in the slot and rarely saw press coverage so there are questions about how he would hold up against NFL-level corners. My third-ranked prospect is Quentin Johnston. At 6’4 and turning in a 4.4 40 he should easily be the top receiver in the draft. Sadly, he had way too many drops in college, he lacks high-pointing ability and too often tries to make contested catches with his body instead of his hands. There are also concerns about his route tree at TCU. You factor these three receivers together; it makes for a less-than-intriguing list.
Looking past my first three receivers, there is a consistent problem with the remaining first and second-round receivers. Size! My 4-5 ranked receivers in this class are both barely pushing 5’10. Zay Flowers comes in at 5’9 and 182 pounds, and Josh Downs at 5’8 and 171 pounds. Very few receivers have been successful at those sizes. So where does this leave Kansas City, who already has Skyy Moore and Kadarious Toney as undersized receivers? Possibly not addressing the receiver situation early as a lot of fans would like, however, that could be a blessing in disguise. Having a quarterback like Mahomes, the Super Bowl window is always open, and this draft could set the Chiefs up for a 5-year run of continuing dominance.
This draft could be a match made in heaven for Kansas City. Mahomes just threw for 5,000 yards and won a super bowl with no thousand-yard wide receivers. So, for argument’s sake let’s use that to our advantage, use this draft to fill the rest of the holes on the roster, and set ourselves up to have no holes going into the 2024 draft, allowing us to splurge and trade up for one of the top receivers in the next draft. Throughout Mahomes career, he has never had a top 10 defense, and recently very inconsistent tackle play. Factor in Travis Kelce’s age this is the perfect draft to plug Kansas City’s holes and get younger at positions of importance.
As you can see, I attacked the trenches early and often in this mock draft. Adding Anton Harrison from Oklahoma gives Mahomes the much-needed protection he needs and possibly gives the Chiefs a top 5 offensive line in football. A combination of Jawaan Taylor, Joe Thuney, Creed, Trey Smith and Anton would be a dominant front that not only keeps Mahomes upright but will also allow year two of Pacheco to excel.
For my second pick in the draft, I moved up a few spots in the second round and grabbed one of my favorite defensive tackles in the draft, Gervon Dexter. Dexter is fast and explosive for a defensive tackle. The Chiefs have never had a lineman of Dexter’s caliber next to Jones and drafting him would be a nightmare for opposing offensive linemen. He is a 3 down lineman that can collapse a pocket and is very solid against the run. His only downside is his technique and pad level; however, I think Joe Cullen will be drooling over working with Dexter.
In the 3rd round of the draft, I hit on the defensive line again, this time drafting Zach Harrison from Ohio State. Harrison comes in at 6’6 and 270 pounds, well within the size Steve Spagnola prefers. Harrison was a 5-star recruit coming into college, but his stats didn’t live up to his expectations. For someone his size he has elite athleticism and explosiveness, and I think Cullen and Spags could do wonders with this one-time top-tier prospect. Just imagine a defensive line consisting of George Karlaftis, Chris Jones, Gervon Dexter and Zach Harrison. In time could be a top 5 defensive front.
For pick 122 I moved away from the trenches and drafted Tight End, Zack Kuntz. Travis Kelce isn’t getting any younger, and even in a tight-end friendly offense, there has been little production behind him. Kuntz is almost 6’7 and 255 pounds, has great quickness off the line, great hands and is a solid down-field blocker. With 4.55 40-yard dash speed and great high point ability, Kuntz could be another dangerous weapon on this offense without us having to trade up early for a receiver.
At pick 166 I finally address wide receiver selecting Liberty wide receiver Demario Douglas. I know, I know, I didn’t get Chiefs Kingdom that game-changing wide receiver everyone wanted, but I did get us a solid route runner, with great cuts and shiftiness. Douglass will most likely take on the possession receiver role and short-yardage target, allowing Toney and Skyy to rotate around creating mismatches. Douglas will get you those non pretty yards on short throws over the middle and allow Skyy to take on an expanded role in year two.
At pick 178 I went back to the trenches drafting Dante Stills. Yes, this draft’s theme is all about the big men. When I see Stills in action, I think of fan-favorite Saunders. Stills is undersized for a defensive tackle; however, his explosiveness allows him to constantly get penetration into the backfield. Stills won’t be a starting three-down defensive tackle but will provide great depth as a rotational piece in passing-down situations.
This draft would have Kansas City set for the future on both sides of the trenches for the foreseeable future. Imagine a world where Mahomes wasn’t scrambling for his life on 50 percent of offensive plays and a top-10 defense for the first time in his career. That could be a reality with a draft like this, allowing the Chiefs to splurge on weapons next free agency and in the 2024 draft. I know everyone wants right now, however, a future with an elite offensive line and a top-10 difference could be the difference in setting ourselves up for one year and setting ourselves up for the next 5. This draft is stocked with the offensive line and defensive line talent, along with tight end talent. Let’s use that to our advantage, address those needs and build a dynasty that will last many more years to come.