The Kansas City Chiefs were a couple of defensive stops away from going to the Super Bowl, so defense figures to be a priority in April’s NFL Draft. After all, they had the league’s best offense and one of its worst defenses in 2018.
Unfortunately, Kansas City’s success last year means they will be drafting all the way down at 30th overall in the first round. Some of the best prospects will already be gone by then. However, there will still be quality players for the taking.
Here are four of the best players the Chiefs could look at in the first round, according to mock drafts.
CB Byron Murphy – Washington
Last year’s surprise trade of Marcus Peters left a gaping hole in the secondary the Chiefs could never fill. They had the second-worst pass defense in terms of yards allowed in the NFL. A mock draft by CBS Sports has the Chiefs replacing Peters with another Washington product in Byron Murphy.
Murphy racked up 58 tackles and four interceptions for the PAC-12 champions last year. What he lacks in size at just 5’11’’ he makes up for in talent and instincts, according to scouting reports.
S Deionte Thompson – Alabama
ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper, on the other hand, had the Chiefs taking Alabama safety Deionte Thompson in a January mock draft. Kansas City needs to prepare for a future without Eric Berry. The former All-Pro safety has played just a few games in the past two years and there is no guarantee he will ever be available and fully effective again.
Enter Thompson. The 6’2’’ defensive back totaled 78 tackles for the national championship runner-up Crimson Tide last year in his first full year as a starter. He also intercepted two passes and forced three fumbles.
CB Deandre Baker – Georgia
Going back to the cornerback spot, Bleacher Report predicted the Chiefs will take Georgia corner Deandre Baker. The Bulldogs defensive back had 40 tackles, a forced fumble and two interceptions last year for the team that almost beat Alabama in the SEC title game.
A WalterFootball scouting report praised coverage and ball skills, as well as his overall athleticism. However, there are concerns about his speed and character issues that could drop him to the Chiefs.
DT Dexter Lawrence – Clemson
One of the more interesting players mocked to the Chiefs is defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence, by WalterFootball. A few months ago, the idea of Lawrence falling as far as 30th overall was unthinkable. However, Lawrence tested positive for a performance enhancing drug late in the season and was suspended for Clemson’s playoff game against Notre Dame.
However, Lawrence is massive at 6’5’’ and 340 pounds and anchored one of the best college defensive lines in years. Opponents had a difficult time running the ball against Lawrence as well as trying to block him in pass protection. He could make an immediate impact next to Chris Jones on the Chiefs’ defensive line.