Head coach Andy Reid won his first Super Bowl title this past season behind superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes and an opportunistic defense. The addition of the “Honey Badger”, Tyrann Mathieu, paid enormous dividends for the Kansas City Chiefs during the regular season and into the playoffs.
The Chiefs will not have to wait long to add playmakers to this young, talented roster. With two playoff appearances in the last two seasons with Mahomes at the helm, Kansas City should be feeling very confident heading into the 2020 NFL Draft and regular season. The updated mock draft below will help the Chiefs address their limited needs. Version 1.0 of my Chiefs mock draft can be found on page 2.
Team Needs: CB, RB, DT, DE, IOL
Even with the addition of Mathieu, the secondary still struggled mightily at times last season. Upgrades should come at the outside corner spots, along with reinforcements on the back end. The Chiefs have limited selections, so they will need to make them count, starting with the 32nd pick in the first round.
If Kansas City decides to go offense with their first pick, a running mate for starter Damien Williams will make a lot of sense. The team could be looking to get more dynamic in the backfield, and adding a first-round back could do the trick. The team could also use some quality depth on both offensive and defensive lines, so they could look in that direction with their second and third-day selections.
Round 1, Pick 32: De’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia
Current starter Damien Williams is an excellent fit for this offense, but teaming him with a player like Swift would take this Chiefs’ offense and running game to a new level. Coach Reid brought in former Eagles’ draft pick LeSean McCoy to help aid the running game last season, but he is a free agent and looks unlikely to return. McCoy was a non-factor down the stretch and in the playoffs last season, so fresh legs would be a welcome addition in Kansas City.
Swift has an excellent, all-around game that makes him arguably the top back available in this draft. His shiftiness and elusiveness have earned him favorable comparisons to the previously mentioned McCoy. Swift can cut on a dime, which is reminiscent of “Shady,” especially during his prime years in the league. Take a look below at Swift’s amazing cutting ability and vision as he goes in for the score against Kentucky.
Number 1 (grade of 7.9/10): De'Andre Swift – Swift is another rare athlete, who combines top-notch athleticism with excellent vision and toughness. He also should be starting right away. Who to choose first in fantasy among the top four players will come down to landing spot. pic.twitter.com/WUhFR1ZLc0
— Kevin Scott (@KevinScottFF) February 14, 2020
Swift is also a terrific receiver and tough runner out of the backfield. This skill set should be appealing to Reid and boost this offense for another title run in 2020.
Round 2, Pick 63: Damon Arnette, CB, Ohio State
The Chiefs had concerns in the secondary for the past few years until Mathieu signed as a free agent before the 2019 season. He was a spark plug for the entire defense and helped improve a secondary that had been hemorrhaging big plays the past few years. In addition to Mathieu, the team found a long-term keeper at one of the outside corner spots with second-year undrafted free agent Charvarius Ward. He was one of the biggest surprises of the 2019 season and entrenched himself as a starter heading into 2020. Aside from Mathieu and Ward, the team still has big question marks in the secondary.
Kansas City could use another outside corner to complement Ward and Mathieu and compete on the outside in the AFC West. The team also lost Kendall Fuller to free agency this offseason, making this need even direr. Arnette is a former three-year starter for the Buckeyes, who can play inside and outside for the Chiefs defense. Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo likes his defensive backs to be versatile, hence the acquisition of Mathieu last season. Arnette is physical and should be a day-one starter for the Chiefs.
Round 3, Pick 96: James Lynch, DT, Baylor
Lynch is an intriguing and somewhat polarizing prospect for the upcoming 2020 NFL Draft. The big lineman was a bit of a one-year wonder for the Baylor Bears and former head coach Matt Rhule. His breakout season came with 13.5 sacks, three forced fumbles, and even five pass deflections in a dominant year in the Big 12. He’s a versatile player that can play defensive end, but also has the size to kick inside to tackle, depending on the scheme and the defense. Lynch is a powerful lineman with a great burst off the snap. PFN’s Tony Pauline describes Lynch as a “game-impacting rusher” and someone that has “displayed natural pass-rushing skill the past three seasons”.
The Chiefs placed the franchise tag on Chris Jones, keeping him in Kansas City for at least one more season. That is where the pick of Lynch could make a lot of sense. Lynch could slide between end and tackle during his first year before kicking inside to replace Jones in 2021. Lynch would provide substantial competition on the defensive line and be a solid rotational piece turned long-term starter in Kansas City. He is a player that could go before this pick, but Kansas City should pounce here if Lynch is still available.
Round 4: Pick 138: Damien Lewis, G, LSU
This pick of Lewis is probably my favorite of the entire draft for Kansas City. The Chiefs came into the 2020 offseason with significant needs on the offensive line, especially on the interior. The team returns all starters on the interior from last season, but suffered some injuries in the playoffs and could use some depth or even an upgrade here. I believe Lewis would challenge Andrew Wylie as a starter right away and upgrade this unit for coach Reid.
Lewis is an absolute people-mover in the run game and will improve the rushing attack from day one. He is a mauler with a strong upper body and an even stronger base that does not lose many one-on-one battles. The former LSU Tiger is a plug-and-play starter at the next level and would present great value here in the fourth round. He is an average pass blocker but can hold his own as a steady presence on the interior of the offensive line.
Round 5: Pick 177: T.J. Brunson, ILB, South Carolina
Kansas City uses their last pick in the 2020 NFL Draft to address the recent loss of Reggie Ragland and add depth to their linebacker corps. Brunson has good all-around athleticism and should eventually challenge as a starter on this defense. He has good range in coverage, which the Chiefs and Spagnuolo value in their linebackers. Brunson is also a tremendous blitzer that plays with great strength despite not having ideal size for the position.
Brunson was a leader of the defense and permanent team captain for the Gamecocks. He started 38 games in his career, including every game the past two seasons. During his senior season in 2019, Brunson recorded 77 tackles, including six for a loss, five pass deflections, and an interception. Brunson should be a tremendous special teams player out of the gate and could pick up snaps on defense in Ragland’s absence. He would be another rock-solid value selection here in round five.
Scott Gorman is a writer for PFN covering the 2021 NFL Draft. You can follow him at @sgormanPFN on Twitter.