2017 NFL Draft: Kansas City Chiefs' top five needs, best fits on the clock at No. 27

This is one in a series that covers each team, offering viewers information for homework, suggestions and then the opportunity to make a draft pick.

When the NFL Draft begins selections in Philadelphia April 27, the Kansas City Chiefs have the No. 27 pick in the first round.    

Here is an in-depth look at the team's needs, offseason changes, potential best fit and the selections by NFLDraftScout.com's experts.

Who would you pick and why?

Top five needs

1. Running back: Jamaal Charles , the Chiefs' all-time leading rusher, is gone after dealing with knee injuries and surgeries over the last two years. Spencer Ware came out of nowhere in the second half of the 2015 season and became the offense's top rusher, posting 1,324 yards on 286 carries in 25 games. Ware also contributed in the passing game, catching 39 passes for 452 yards. But his rugged running style diminishes the chances of him being productive over 16 games -- he played 14 games last season, but over the final 10 games, Ware's longest run was 17 yards. Charcandrick West (1,329 offensive yards in 30 games) and C.J. Spiller are the other options heading into the draft, raising the position to the top of the Chiefs' list of needs.

2. Cornerback: The Chiefs have selected five cornerbacks in the last four drafts, but have found only one solid starter (left cornerback Marcus Peters ) and slot corner Steven Nelson . They added four cornerbacks last year, but only one made a significant contribution: free agent Terrance Mitchell , who didn't show up on the active roster until the last week of November. Mitchell became a key contributor in the last quarter of the season and started against Pittsburgh in the playoffs. Among the three others added, rookie Eric Murray was moved to safety and Kenneth Acker and rookie draft choice D.J. White saw minimal snaps on defense. Coming off an ACL injury and surgery, third-year corner Phillip Gaines was up-and-down in the 2016 season and appeared in 11 games. Peters is one of the top young defensive backs in the league. But for the K.C. defense, it's a big drop in production after Peters.

3. Quarterback: Salary-cap considerations led the Chiefs to pass on an option year in backup Nick Foles ' contract, leaving the Kansas City offense dangerously thin and inexperienced at the position. For three seasons (2013-15), Chase Daniel was there to back up Alex Smith , and last year it was Foles. Going into the draft, they have Tyler Bray , who has been around the team for four years but has yet to take a regular-season snap and remains an unknown commodity. In preseason competition, Bray has completed 54.1 percent of his passes for 610 yards with five touchdown passes and six interceptions. Also on the roster is Joel Stave , a first-year quarterback from Wisconsin Badgers who spent last season on the practice squads of three different teams.

4. Outside linebacker: If they are healthy and available, the Chiefs are three-deep on the edge with Tamba Hali , Justin Houston and Dee Ford . The problem has been keeping all three of those outside 'backers on the field and fully functional. Houston had just four sacks last year, starting only four of 17 games; the 28-year old has been dealing with knee injuries for two years. At 33, Hali is only a part-time player, starting only two games and finishing with 3.5 sacks. Ford led the team with 10 sacks, but the former first-round choice did not produce any in the regular season's final seven games. Frank Zombo , 30, is the only other experienced outside linebacker on the roster.

5. Inside linebacker: Derrick Johnson is coming off his second ruptured Achilles in the last three seasons and at 34, there are real questions about whether he can regain his abilities that have led the Chiefs defense in tackles for the last decade. The rest of the inside group -- Justin March-Lillard , Ramik Wilson , D.J. Alexander , Terrance Smith and Josh Mauga -- have not displayed anything close to the potential of Johnson. 

Best fit

CB Marlon Humphrey , Alabama Crimson Tide : In today's NFL, a defense never has enough defensive backs; even though the Chiefs have drafted five cornerbacks in the last four drafts, they are still looking for a consistent and talented cover corner to match with 2014 first-round choice Marcus Peters. Humphrey has the obvious physical tools in size and speed, and the tape of two seasons as a starter for the Crimson Tide. Coming out of Nick Saban's program, he should be advanced in fundamentals and understanding of coverages and how he fits into a defensive scheme.

Humphrey would give the Chiefs an excellent option across from Peters. USATSI

The pick will be ...

Rob Rang: Jarrad Davis , LB, Florida Gators . The Chiefs have some massive shoes to fill up the middle with nose tackle Dontari Poe walking in free agency and the 34-year-old Derrick Johnson recuperating from his second season-ending Achilles tear over the past three years. Davis struggled with injuries himself during his time at Florida, but his speed and explosiveness is clearly first-round caliber.

Dane Brugler: Deshaun Watson , QB, Clemson Tigers . An ideal match for both the Chiefs and Watson, Kansas City might not be able to pass on quarterback if the "right" one falls in their laps.

Jim Miller: DeShone Kizer , QB, Notre Dame Fighting Irish . It will be interesting to hear why Miller, a former NFL QB, made this pick. Check the video at the top of this post for more.

(Kirwan, Miller picks based on last Friday's mock on SiriusXM Radio. Listen to their next mock Friday, April 21, on SiriusXM NFL Radio channel 88).

Frank Cooney, IMO: Wow, our guys are actively looking for Smith to be replaced on a second team by a young quarterback. No respect. Amazing how a quarterback's efficiency is overlooked if he isn't wearing the right jewelry. There are a lot of teams hurting at quarterback, but this isn't one of them. Funny how remarks are just noting his athletic ability. He ran Urban Meyer's offense like a fast-break point guard at Utah when Tim Tebow was known only to his own family. Let's reload a defense that lost Dontari Poe and grab Jarrad Davis.

Your chance to go on the record

OK, it's your turn. Tell us in the comments section who you would pick and why. Check out the top 1,000 players rated by NFLDraftScout.com, including combine and pro day workouts, biographies, scouting reports.

Show Comments Hide Comments
CBS Sports Store
NFL Cold Weather Gear
Our Latest Stories