Chiefs Mock Draft 2021: Defensive-heavy after Round 1?

The Kansas City Chiefs fell short in the Super Bowl, but fortunately, they return several key players from their run. Additionally, the Chiefs signed Joe Thuney and Kyle Long in free agency. How should the Chiefs attack the 2021 NFL Draft post-free agency if they want to return and make it three straight Super Bowls? This Chiefs 7-Round 2021 NFL Mock Draft takes a look at the team’s needs and presents an ideal draft to put the Chiefs in Super Bowl LVI.

Chiefs Post-Free Agency 7-Round 2021 NFL Mock Draft

  • Round 1, Pick 31: Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas
  • Round 2, Pick 63: Pete Werner, LB, Ohio State
  • Round 3, Pick 94: Robert Rochell, CB, Central Arkansas
  • Round 4, Pick 136: Ade Ogundeji, EDGE, Notre Dame
  • Round 4, Pick 144: Elerson Smith, EDGE, Northern Iowa
  • Round 5, Pick 175: Joshuah Bledsoe, S, Missouri
  • Round 5, Pick 181: Frank Darby, WR, Arizona State
  • Round 6, Pick 207: Jason Pinnock, CB, Pitt

Chiefs 2021 NFL Mock Draft pick-by-pick analysis

Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas

The Chiefs threw big money at Joe Thuney to fill the left guard spot and signed both Austin Blythe and Kyle Long to secure the center and right guard positions. With Lucas Niang ready to lock down right tackle, left tackle is wide open.

Kansas City made a play for Trent Williams before he re-signed with the 49ers, which shows they understand left tackle is a hole on their offensive line. As such, I expect them to address it pretty early in the 2021 NFL Draft. Luckily, this draft class features a cornucopia of offensive tackle talent.

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The Chiefs have made athleticism a priority on their offensive line. Both Thuney and Long scored 9.6+ on their Relative Athletic Scores, and while Niang didn’t test due to a hip injury, his athletic profile is impressive. Why not keep that up with one of the most athletic tackles in recent memory?

Texas tackle Samuel Cosmi posted a 9.99 RAS, ever so close to a perfect 10. His tape suggests he owns all the tools to be an excellent pass protector at the next level.

Pete Werner, LB, Ohio State

While the Chiefs’ defense is better than many give it credit for, the linebacker room needs serious turnover. Anthony Hitchens, Damien Wilson, and Ben Niemann all combined for nearly 2,000 snaps in 2020. Wilson, however, has yet to be re-signed, and Hitchens could be a cap casualty come June 1. The Chiefs did draft Willie Gay Jr. last year, but they still need more talent at that position even if they can keep the group together.

Enter Pete Werner, an intriguing coverage linebacker in this Chiefs 7-Round 2021 NFL Mock Draft. For Ohio State this season, Werner displayed respectable athletic traits and the ability to turn and cover tight ends downfield. The athleticism certainly showed up in his pro day testing as well. As a result, Werner’s traits suggest he can be deployed in a variety of ways for the Chiefs to help neutralize the elite talents in their division.

Robert Rochell, CB, Central Arkansas

The Chiefs placed a second-round tender on Charvarius Ward, yet haven’t brought back Bashaud Breeland in free agency. Breeland started every game for the Chiefs at corner this past season and played almost 65% of all defensive snaps. Even with an enjoyable rookie year from L’Jarius Sneed, the corner room needs some talent added to it. Consequently, investing a top-100 pick at the position would be a great investment.

With the emphasis on athleticism and speed in Kansas City’s draft strategy, Robert Rochell is a perfect fit. A member of Bruce Feldman’s Freaks List, Rochell posted a 9.65 RAS with an incredible 43-inch vert and a 4.41 40-yard dash. On the field, he’s a man coverage corner through and through.

At the end of the day, the Chiefs need a corner who can battle receivers like Courtland Sutton and Mike Williams at the catch point. Rochell has the length and explosiveness to do just that.

Ade Ogundeji, EDGE, Notre Dame

The Chiefs’ pass rush was mediocre in 2020. The team ranked 12th in pressure rate and 19th in total sacks. However, they frequently blitzed in order to achieve these numbers (9th-highest blitz rate).

With such an average pass rush, the Chiefs couldn’t get home enough outside of the Buffalo game in the playoffs. Furthermore, the team loses four of their 32 sacks and 20 pressures with the departure of Alex Okafor and Tanoh Kpassagnon. They re-signed Taco Charlton, but he is not the answer. As such, the team needs to heavily invest in their pass rush.

Ade Ogundeji is a lengthy and explosive edge rusher, albeit rather raw. He’s got inside-outside versatility, similar to Kpassagnon. Ogundeji displayed his explosiveness with a stellar 10-foot broad jump and impressive 10 and 20-yard splits. He has to improve his overall pass-rush plan, but he has the tools and upside to invest in on Day 3 in this 7-Round Chiefs 2021 NFL Mock Draft.

Elerson Smith, EDGE, Northern Iowa

I stated above that the Chiefs needed to invest heavily into their pass rush. Therefore, I decided to double-down on the group in the fourth round. This feels like the sweet spot for the Chiefs to add depth.

Elerson Smith would be a steal this late in the draft. An AFCA first-team All-American in 2019, Smith produced a whopping 14.0 sacks and 21.5 tackles for loss as a junior. Coming from the FCS level, Smith proved he could handle playing in the big leagues at the Senior Bowl. With a solid combination of athleticism and length, Smith wins around the arc with his quick first step and fluidity.

Additionally, Smith recorded a ridiculous 41 1/2-inch vertical jump and a three-cone drill of 7 seconds flat. He projects to go early as a sub-package rusher while he continues to bulk up and add weight to his frame.

Joshuah Bledsoe, S, Missouri

With Tyrann Mathieu, Juan Thornhill, and Daniel Sorensen, the Chiefs appear to be set at safety. Regardless, I still chose another here in this Chiefs 7-Round 2021 NFL Mock Draft for multiple reasons.

As of now, Mathieu’s contract will expire next year. He *could* be extended to save cap room, but that hasn’t been done yet. Sorensen is on a cheap one-year deal as well. Between the two of them, they registered 2,026 snaps in 2020. With both on expiring contracts, Kansas City should look at younger options for the future. Thus, I elected to spend a top-200 pick on a long-term play.

Joshuah Bledsoe is a nickel/free safety hybrid similar to Mathieu. With just 1 career interception, he wasn’t incredibly productive in coverage, but he does an admirable job against the run and in man coverage against slot receivers. The deep safety responsibilities were often given to teammate Tyree Gillespie, so Bledsoe’s experience there is rather limited.

On the other hand, the Chiefs favor multiple safety looks, and Bledsoe can rotate in as a rookie and be a potential full-time starter in the future.

Frank Darby, WR, Arizona State

The Chiefs lost Sammy Watkins and have been involved with several wide receivers in free agency. As such, we can infer that they are looking to bring in depth at the position.

While they do have Tyreek Hill and Mecole Hardman on the roster and re-signed Demarcus Robinson, they need to continue building this unit up. Hence, I elected to go with a dynamic Day 3 receiver who can play special teams as well.

Frank Darby is a unique wideout and is coming off of an odd 2020 season. In 2019, Darby feasted opposite of Brandon Aiyuk and enjoyed success as a vertical threat. Last year, he was incredibly productive, but he played in just two games due to injury and Arizona State’s shortened season. It’s tough to sell him as anything more than a Day 3 flyer, but Darby would be a solid pickup this late in this Chiefs 2021 Mock Draft.

Jason Pinnock, CB, Pitt

The Chiefs double-down at corner here in this 7-Round 2021 NFL Mock Draft. Accumulating another athletic corner would bolster the Chiefs’ secondary. I’m not sold on Rashad Fenton playing a ton of snaps, and the team also has to replace Antonio Hamilton’s special-teams reps.

I admittedly did not know much about Pinnock before his pro day just a couple of weeks ago. Nevertheless, Pinnock posted a 9.76 RAS after a 4.49 40, a 39.5-inch vertical jump, and a 10-8 broad jump.

Those explosive numbers back up how Pinnock plays on film. He fights his tail off at the catch point and loves to get into opposing receivers’ chests. Pinnock snatched 3 interceptions in 2020, including the game-winner against Louisville. He was also charted with allowing a completion rate of just 37% while at outside CB.

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