Chiefs Draft Projection - April 4th Edition

There is little doubt that the 2008 NFL Draft will be the most important for the Chiefs in nearly two decades. With 10 picks at the moment, the team has a plethora of needs and options. In this edition of the draft preview, we list the players who make the most sense for Kansas City.

ROUND 1 – (5th Pick)

OT/G – Branden Albert (Virginia) – This is not an original thought because NFL Draft Guru Mel Kiper, Jr. currently has Albert as KC's top pick. Will that pick come at the fifth spot or will the Chiefs move down? That's the big question, but one thing is certain - the Chiefs need the best offensive lineman possible.

With Michigan's Jake Long already off the board, Albert is the most versatile blocker on the draft board. He's a Junior, so he'll need a year of NFL seasoning, but he would instantly start the season as Kansas City's left tackle. He'll take his lumps, but I like his footwork better than Boise State tackle Ryan Clady. Albert is 6-foot-6 and could be the guy to protect Brodie Croyle for the next decade.

ROUND 2 – (35th Pick)

OT Sam Baker (USC) – Two offensive linemen in a row? Did anyone else watch KC's line last season? With Albert in round one and Baker in the second, the Chiefs would have their starting five. Baker didn't do himself any favors at the NFL Combine, so he's sliding right out of the first round.

Kansas City may have the option of several players like Carl Nicks (Nebraska) or Anthony Collins (Kansas), but they can't pass on Baker, who will start the season at right tackle. That moves Damion McIntosh to right guard while leaving Brian Waters at left guard. Rudy Niswanger rounds out the group at center. That's a drastic improvement over last year's unit, and would offer Croyle much better protection. Baker would be a steal in round two.

ROUND 3 – (66th Pick)

CB Antoine Cason (Arizona) – It might be a reach that he'll still be available this late, but I think the first two rounds of the NFL draft will see the top corners go early, leaving some good ones available later. Cason is the best cornerback fit for the Chiefs because he understands and excelled at Arizona in the Cover 2. I expect Kansas City would immediately snatch him up if he falls this far. It's all about finding a team that fits Cason's skills, and he'd be a perfect fit with the Chiefs.

ROUND 4 – (105th Pick)

WR Jordy Nelson (Kansas State) – Three years from now everyone will regard Nelson as a modern-day Steve Largent. Not fast, not flashy but possessive of god-given receiving skills. He'll play in the big show for a decade. He'll sneak up behind defenders, catch the ball and scoot past corners with a sudden burst of speed that will force defenses to account for him on ever play. Nelson also appeals to Kansas City because of his kick-return abilities. But the best part is he's an outstanding person and a local kid the Chiefs have had an eye on for years.

ROUND 5 – (136th & 140th Pick)

G John Greco (Toledo) – The heir apparent to either Waters or McIntosh. Greco is 6-foot-7 and tips the scales at 326 pounds, so he's a steal in the fifth round. I've liked him as a sleeper pick since early on, and if something should happen to either of KC's two starting guards, he'll slip into a starting role.

CB Chevis Jackson (LSU) – Again, someone who might not be available this late, but if he is on the board the Chiefs could land their second starting cornerback. Once you get past the top four corners in this draft, the difference between the next 20 isn't huge.

ROUND 6 – (170th & 187th Pick)

C John Sullivan (Notre Dame) – Sullivan is one of the most intelligent centers coming out this April and he arrives from a program that had its ups and downs the last two years. He's a gamer and reminds me of ex-Chiefs center Tim Grunhard, also a former Golden Domer.

S Corey Lynch (Appalachian State) - Anyone remember Appalachian State's victory over Michigan last September? Lynch blocked two kicks in that game. He's also a pretty darn good safety. Our NFL Draft Expert, Tom Marino, calls Lynch a big time sleeper and a playmaker. He's a reach in round six, but he'll be gone in round seven and the Chiefs need some insurance in the event Bernard Pollard does not progress this season. Jarrad Page is already there, and with two new young corners in the backfield, a young ball-hawking and playmaking safety can't hurt.

ROUND 7 – (210th & 239th Pick)

FB Mike Cox (Georgia Tech) - With Chan Gailey at the helm of KC's offense, there's no doubt in my mind that somewhere in this draft the Chiefs will take a former Yellow Jacket. But it won't be a token pick - Cox can play fullback and as much as I hate to admit it, is an upgrade over the recently departed Boomer Grigsby.

DE Kendall Langford (Hampton) – Langford's performance at the NFL combine will get him draft. He's a project in every sense of the word, but can rush the passer. The Chiefs will need to strike gold in the un-drafted class or get lucky with a player like Langford, who can serve as the final piece of KC's defensive end puzzle.

April 15th Edition – Trades & Reaches

April 24th Edition – Finding Seven Starters

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