How Chiefs can have the perfect 2020 NFL Draft in four steps, starting with prioritizing cornerback

No two NFL teams tend to have the exact same draft-day needs — unless, of course, their one and only top priority is adding a franchise quarterback. But that just means there are often 32 different perfect scenarios when it comes time to infuse rosters with rookie talent. In the case of the reigning Super Bowl champions, the Kansas City Chiefs will probably have their eyes on help for the defensive side of the ball.

As we approach the 2020 NFL Draft, here are four steps they can take in order to have their perfect draft:

Step 1: Prioritize cornerback early

The Chiefs just re-signed Bashaud Breeland, bringing a very underrated starting cornerback to their defense. But they don’t have many, if any, long-term answers at the position now that Kendall Fuller is back in Washington. That doesn’t mean the Chiefs should lock themselves into taking whichever cornerback is on the board at No. 32 in the first round, but it does mean they should prioritize the position early, ensuring they don’t get out of Round Two without adding to the position.

It’s impossible to say who might be around at the end of the first round. Beyond Jeff Okudah and C.J. Henderson, there’s a world of debate as to which CBs belong where on the pecking order of 2020 prospects. And yet the Chiefs could make do with just about any of the next-tier cover men. Jeff Gladney, Trevon Diggs or Jaylon Johnson could conceivably all be in play at No. 32, while the second round might be a prime spot for K.C. to target someone like Bryce Hall, a former Virginia teammate of Juan Thornhill.

Step 2: Don’t be afraid to pursue a play-maker

If there’s one thing the Chiefs aren’t lacking, it’s offensive weapons. Patrick Mahomes is fresh off a Super Bowl victory in part because he’s got plenty of talent around him, from Super Bowl MVP candidate Damien Williams to Travis Kelce to Tyreek Hill to Sammy Watkins, who just ensured he’ll stick around in 2020 by redoing his deal. But that should not stop Andy Reid and Co. from considering — or even getting aggressive for — another toy, whether it be at running back, wideout or tight end.

You could argue K.C. should focus on defensive reinforcements (D-line, linebacker) ahead of more Mahomes weaponry, but the chief reason (no pun intended) Reid just won his first Super Bowl is because his offense could score more rapidly than anyone else. The best thing the Chiefs can do for their repeat chances is to not get complacent in terms of both offensive strategy and roster construction. So if D’Andre Swift or one of the many acclaimed WR prospects is there at No. 32 and Reid is convinced the guy can be a play-maker from Day One, he shouldn’t be afraid to pull the trigger.

Step 3: Draft at least one interior lineman

Stefen Wisniewski was never going to be the Chiefs’ long-term answer on the interior, but his absence still leaves a void along the offensive line. And if there’s one thing this team should make sure it does over the next eight to 10 to 15 years, it’s to keep Mahomes protected. No. 15 is agile enough to avoid pressure when he has to, but it certainly wouldn’t hurt the Chiefs to get a potential starter — or, at the very least, offseason competition — at guard.

That probably means exploring the mid-round market, but it also means thinking long and hard about investing in the O-line at No. 32, depending on who’s available. Recent draft-day buzz suggests Michigan center/guard Cesar Ruiz is increasingly a lock to go in the first round, perhaps even as high as the top 20, but if he were still on the board, there’s no reason Reid shouldn’t — or wouldn’t — weigh the value and plug an immediate upgrade into the trenches.

Step 4: Take a swing on a pass rusher

Linebacker is a more glaring need for Steve Spagnuolo’s unit, but that’s a position K.C. can more likely fill through undrafted free agency or the veteran wire. (Guys like Nigel Bradham or Mychal Kendricks could easily come in during the summer and open the year in a starting role.) Pass rusher, meanwhile, is a more premium position, and beyond Frank Clark, the Chiefs aren’t necessarily loaded with developmental options.

Now, locking up Chris Jones for the long haul would at least partially alleviate the issue. But Alex Okafor is 29, Breeland Speaks has yet to make a substantial impact, and K.C. has lost Dee Ford and Justin Houston in recent years. The pipeline could use some replenishing. Even if it’s a fifth-round flyer — the team’s final selection of the 2020 draft — it’s something.

Source link