Chiefs Draft Countdown: #1 With the 18th Pick

On Thursday night, the Kansas City Chiefs will officially be on the clock. At that point, they will begin the quest to find an impactful first round selection that can be a force in 2015. However, they have a plethora of options at their disposal including trading down to garner more picks. So which college athlete will be the first call KC home from this draft?

I’ve studied the draft, talked to numerous sources and used a bit of common sense to determine the following, I have NO idea which player the Kansas City Chiefs will select in round one of the NFL Draft on Thursday evening.

The Chiefs enter this draft with multiple needs to offset the gains they made after retooling a portion of their roster in free agency. In fact, by accomplishing so much in March, Kansas City has had enough time to build an extensive draft board.

So what will the Chiefs do Thursday night?

If I were a betting man, they won’t be picking at #18. Does that mean they’ll move up or down? Either way I believe they’ve targeted four players.

In no particular order, my final four. Or is it?

1. LB Shane Ray (Missouri)
If the Kansas City Chiefs, hold to their draft board, regardless of where they pick in round one, Shane Ray will be atop their list. After his recent brush with the law, the fact he might need foot surgery, Ray is the best pass rusher in this draft. Even though the Chiefs took, Dee Ford, a year ago, this remains a need position for Kansas City.

Justin Houston continues to baffle, even his own agent, by passing on KC’s latest mega-offer that would garner him a ton of riches. Tamba Hali, took a pay cut (in large part so the Chiefs could sign Houston) but his tank is almost empty.

It’s a certainty Ray is going to fall but not out of the first round. He’s a steal anywhere in the 20’s and that’s where I think the Chiefs end up. To me, the risk drafting Ray far outweighs the reward. For my money, he’s a perfect fit for KC.

2. WR DeVante Parker (Louisville)
According to NFL writer, Peter King, he believes the Chiefs might trade up to land the versatile playmaking receiver. It would be a bold move, but unless there is a run on receivers at the top end of the draft, Parker will likely be on the board at #18.

Parker has the size the Chiefs current receivers lack. At the moment, KC’s receivers don’t possess much overall height. That doesn’t make them a bad group, but in the red zone, receivers with speed and size are always a plus. Parker is a long shot to land In Kansas City because I think the team can find a top-notch receiver in the second round. However, if the Chiefs do draft the young receiver, I’d be ecstatic.

3. T Jake Fisher (Oregon)
He’s not a name that people have associated with the Kansas City Chiefs but he’s a fine player. He has the chops to play left or right tackle and he fits the Andy Reid profile for versatile offensive lineman.

Even though the Chiefs paraded out starting tackles, Eric Fisher and Donald Stephenson, to the media on Tuesday, that made me think this is the direction KC might go with their first pick of the draft. It was a perfect move to throw NFL teams off the scent of what Kansas City might do with their first pick.

Fisher is the second best tackle in this draft. The fact he’s moved up the draft board from January, suggests I’m not the only one that shares this view. In drafting Fisher, the Chiefs would have a solid core of tackles and options ahead, not only in 2015, but also in the years to come.

4. ILB Eric Kendricks (UCLA)
If I’m to believe any of the rumblings I’ve heard out of One Arrowhead Drive since March about the upcoming draft, this is the player I’ve heard the Chiefs covet. Kendricks might be the best all around, hard-nosed inside linebacker in this draft. Though the debate rages about his lack of size, that’s pushing him into the second round, some NFL scouts tell me he’s a first round talent.

He reminds me so much of former Chiefs linebacker, Donnie Edwards, I can see why Kansas City love his overall talent. The biggest weakness on the roster I can see for 2015 rests at inside linebacker. Derrick Johnson is coming over surgery y but will be ready for full participation come training camp.

In reality outside of DJ, the Chiefs don’t have another linebacker that can make an impact in the starting lineup. However, KC could address that defensive hole by adding veteran Linebacker, Brandon Spikes after May 12th when another crop of free agents will be available.

That tells me Kendricks is the real target for Kansas City in the first round. He has everything you want in a player including a mean streak that he backs up on every snap. Even though he’ll be a rookie defender should he land in KC, Kendricks brings a fierce attitude to a defense that needs an identity in 2015 to unseat the Denver Broncos as AFC West Champs.


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