The NFL Draft is finally just one week away. The Kansas City Chiefs will be picking in the 23rd slot. The speculation over whom the Chiefs should draft has been hotly debated. Many fans think that the team needs help on the offensive line. Others believe they should go with a safety. However, the clear need on this team is at the position of wide receiver.
The Chiefs were awful at wide receiver last season. Andy Reid’s squad ranked 24th in the NFL in passing offense, with many of their yards being aided by running back Jamaal Charles. The Chiefs’ best receiver is currently Dwayne Bowe. Bowe had a down year in 2013, and has been on a downward spiral in recent season. Though he had a career high in yardage and touchdowns in 2010, his production has since dropped every year.
Not only has their top receiver fallen off, but the Chiefs also do not have a speed receiver. Bowe is a big, powerful receiver who gets open with his physicality. A-player Brandin Cooks would fit perfectly into their offense. Cooks is a speedy receiver and a polished route runner.
Former Oregon State Beaver Cooks has physical attributes that are something to be marveled at. He runs a faster 40-yard dash and has bigger hands than three-time Pro Bowler DeSean Jackson. Cooks also is 20 pounds heavier and jumps an inch and a half higher than Jackson. They are very comparable players, because their style of play is similar.
Cooks is obviously a freak of nature, but many players have good combine numbers and don’t pan out in the NFL. His workout phenomenon is backed up by solid production in college, though. In 2013, Cooks led the Pac-12 and was second in the country in touchdown receptions. He also led the country in receiving yards. Those statistics led to him winning the Fred Biletnikoff Awards — which is awarded to the best receiver in the NCAA.
The Chiefs have other positions of need outside of wide receiver. Starting spots for safety and offensive guard are not yet set in stone. Drafting a safety in the first round is not a bad idea for the Chiefs. Their secondary was shaky at best in last season’s stretch run; they got beat deep many times. However, there are players within the organization that could help the team out at safety. Defensive back Sanders Commings was hurt for most of last season and what his impact can be is yet to be seen. Husain Abdullah played very well for the Chiefs last season as a safety, and will be given a shot at the starting job this season.
Drafting a guard in the first round would be misstep for the Chiefs. The top five rated guards by Pro Football Focus in 2013 all were drafted in the third round or later. In fact, the worst rated guard that played in all 16 games was a first round pick in 2006. There is ample value to be taken advantage of by teams drafting interior linemen in the middle rounds of the draft.
The Chiefs also have possible starters at guard already on their roster. Rishaw Johnson and Jeff Linkenbach will contend for a starting position for the upcoming season. Johnson was a Chief in 2013 and only started one game. Though in that game he played very well against the San Diego Chargers, it is a very small sample size. Drafting a guard in the third round would be a smart play by Kansas City, but the first round just makes no sense.
With the combination of value for the pick and need, it’s obvious the Chiefs need to draft a wide receiver in the first round. Luckily for Kansas City, they can fill their other holes later in the draft.
Austin Earls is a freshman in pre-journalism. Please send comments to [email protected].