2019 NFL Draft: Kansas City Chiefs team needs, draft picks, prospects to watch
With their 2018 season over, it's time for Chiefs fans to turn their attention to the draft
The Chiefs were one game away from the Super Bowl before falling in overtime to the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game. The future remains bright, however, primarily because Patrick Mahomes is the NFL MVP after one full season as starter and the offense is loaded with playmakers. If Kansas City can add a few missing pieces on the other side of the ball, it will annually be a realistic Super Bowl contender.
Here's what you need to know about the Kansas City Chiefs and the 2019 NFL Draft.
2019 draft picks
- Round 1: Kansas City
- Round 2: Kansas City from Los Angeles Rams
- Round 3: Kansas City
- Round 4: Kansas City*
- Round 5: Kansas City
- Round 6: Kansas City
- Round 7: San Francisco
The Chiefs acquired the Rams' second-round pick as part of the deal that sent Marcus Peters from Kansas City to Los Angeles. Their fourth-round pick may transfer to the Bills as part of the trade that sent Reggie Ragland to Kansas City. The Chiefs also have an option to swap conditional seventh-round picks with the 49ers as part of the trade involving Rod Streater, and as they finished with a worse pick, they'll get to pick early in the final round.
Biggest offseason needs
- Interior defensive line
- Interior offensive line
- Wide receiver
- Pass rusher
- Running back
The Chiefs' offense was already good when coach Andy Reid decided in the offseason to elevate 2017 first-round pick Patrick Mahomes to starter. And a unit that went from fourth in '17, according to Football Outsiders, finished as the most explosive offense in '18. Mahomes threw 50 touchdowns, completed some of the most physics-defying passes you could dream up, and Tyreek Hill was damn near unstoppable. The interior offensive line could use an upgrade and depth at running back is on the to-do list but isn't a priority. Otherwise, this offense is in really good shape.
The defense is a different story. This was a recurring storyline throughout the regular season and it all came to head in the AFC Championship Game, when the Chiefs couldn't get off the field because they were equally incapable of stopping the run and the pass. The unit ranked 26th overall and was dead last in rush defense. Put another way: Draft a defender and it will help this group. Specifically, interior defensive line is a big need, as is linebacker and defensive back. We'll occasionally hear that a team is just a player or two away from a Super Bowl run. In Kansas City's case this isn't an exaggeration.
Prospects to watch
Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi State
Simmons regularly requires double-teams and even then is hard to stop. He has non-stop motor and that, coupled with linebacker-like sideline-to-sideline mobility, means he's never out of a play. He routinely splits blockers on stretch plays to make tackles in backfield, and he has the ability to disengage from blocks to make tackles too. One of the best athletes in the draft, Simmons is adept against the run and the pass who is best described as a disruptive backfield presence.
Dalton Risner, OT, Kansas State
Risner is an animal in the run game and he's athletic enough to protect the quarterback as an offensive tackle in the NFL. That said, his best position may be at guard where his strength and hand usage would serve him well. Either way, Risner's versatility will be an attractive quality as team's evaluate him in the coming months.
Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia
Baker may not be the athlete of Greedy Williams or Byron Murphy but he put up better college numbers. He shows good long speed, smooth hips, and the ability to change direction. He was rarely targeted during his senior season in part because his mirroring technique was superb. He's not great in run support but he may not need to be if his college success translates to the NFL.
Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, S, Florida
An instinctive player who had a huge final game for the Gators, logging two interceptions -- including a late-game pick-six -- against Michigan in the Peach Bowl. Gardner-Johnson was something of a liability as a tackler in 2017 but he was much more aggressive this season. He can play both safety positions as well as in the slot and his versatility will make him valuable to NFL teams looking to bolster their secondary.
Devin White, LB, LSU
White is one of the most dynamic players in the draft. He's a sideline-to-sideline thumper who would immediately solidify the middle of the defense, making life easier for both the front four and the secondary. White is sometimes a split-second slow to diagnose what's happening in front of him but has the first-step athleticism to make up for it.
David Montgomery, RB, Iowa State
Montgomery almost certainly won't find his way into the first round but he's a first-round talent. He's hard to bring down with initial contact, and he's elusive and slippery in the hole. When he gets downhill he's hard to catch and while he didn't have a lot of receptions in college he looks willing and capable of that role at the next level.
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