It has been well stated how big of a need the Kansas City Chiefs have at wide receiver entering 2021. Of course, Sammy Watkins and Demarcus Robinson could both be gone as they enter free agency. Smarter defenses have shown that they can take away both Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce at times in crucial moments. Moreover, the team must continue to surround Patrick Mahomes with the best set of weapons as they possibly can.
There have been some deep, star studded wide receiver draft classes over the last few years. Some had to wait longer to hear their name being called, like DK Metcalf, AJ Brown and Terry McLaurin for example. Others like CeeDee Lamb, Justin Jefferson and Brandon Aiyuk all made immediate impacts as first round selections. So what should Kansas City do this year? Would you rather they wait until day two or three of the draft to select their next potential top target getter? Or, would you rather they swing the bat in Round One? Let’s look into the potential options, list of Chiefs’ top needs and depth of the other positions.
- 2021 Chiefs Draft Prospect: Spencer Brown
- 2021 Chiefs Draft Prospect: Janarius Robinson
- 2021 Chiefs Draft Prospect: Ben Cleveland
- 2021 Chiefs Draft Prospect: Nico Collins
- 2021 Chiefs Draft Prospect: Aaron Robinson
Day One Options Vs Day Two
Even if Kansas City were to actually trade up a little from their current first round slot (31st overall), they likely have little to no chance of being in the conversation of this year’s “Big Three” (Ja’Marr Chase, Jaylen Waddle, DeVonta Smith). Other receivers who appear to be in the first round conversation include Minnesota’s Rashod Bateman, LSU’s Terrace Marshall Jr., Florida’s Kadarius Toney and possibly Purdue’s Rondale Moore. Simply, Moore is a bigger question mark, due to injury history and size or durability questions. Quite frankly, the entire trio of Bateman, Marshall Jr. and Toney all serve as potential fits in the Chiefs offense. They each bring play styles to the table that Kansas City likes in their playmakers. However, all three could also still bring a new flavor to the table as well.
A handful of the top options expected to be available in Round Two or Three include an even wider array of styles and techniques. You have your fair share of physically dominant players, like North Carolina’s Dyami Brown, USC’s Amon-Ra St. Brown and Auburn’s Seth Williams. There are the technicians like Michigan’s Nico Collins and Oklahoma State’s Tylan Wallace. Finally, you have a speed demon like D’Wayne Eskridge from Western Michigan.
It will all depend on what the team prefers from their wide receiver. Mostly, these players can all win in a variety of ways. The team may have to jump early, if they indeed are super high on some of these individual players.
Other Team Needs
The other three top needs for the Chiefs entering 2021 include both offensive tackle and interior offensive line, as well as a pass rusher. The offensive line class is also fairly fruitful. Odds are, offensive tackle looks to have more upside than the interior offensive linemen. Among this year’s options at pass rusher, there is more upside than potentially adding an immediate impact. That is at least especially true for a team like Kansas City. With the salary cap and other teams drafting the top pass rushers early, the Chiefs will likely need to address pass rusher later on. I do not see them going with an edge rusher early, unless a gift drops into their laps.
Nothing is entirely set in stone. Who knows what will exactly happen in free agency or with potential cap casualties/cut candidates. Despite the tantalizing wide receiver options perceived to go mid to late Round One, the Chiefs may not be able to withstand waiting until later to address the other spots and issues.
Value Of Wide Receiver
Of all of the positions in football, wide receiver is one where you can find talent anywhere. Sure, there are players that are more elite than others. Teams have been able to enjoy major payoffs with minimal gambles on day two of the draft. We mentioned Metcalf, Brown and McLaurin earlier. The Chiefs actually traded up for Mecole Hardman on day two that same draft, and have not seen as large of a return on investment. In the last few drafts, other top receivers taken on day two include DJ Chark, Cooper Kupp, Juju Smith-Schuster, Chris Godwin and Kenny Golladay. Consequently, let’s look into notable day two wide receiver picks who enjoyed strong rookie seasons last year. Tee Higgins, Michael Pittman Jr., Laviska Shenault and Chase Claypool were all reliable targets at some point or another in 2020.
Not all first round picks at wide receiver have been misses lately. However, the ones that have yet to pan out are all drafted because of one single trait. Marquise Brown comes to mind, with the speed factor. With the selections of wide receivers on day two, it appears those are the guys who already display a near complete body of work. They can best defensive backs in more ways than one. Additionally, these players can all serve a multitude of roles, which includes the depth of the 2021 wide receiver class.
This edition of This Or That is fairly simple to vote on. And while the answer may seem obvious, the team could still stand to surprise Chiefs fans once again. Go to the poll to cast your vote: draft wide receiver day one or on day two?
My personal pick here, would be to wait to address wide receiver until day two. The latest history has been more hit or miss for Round One receivers. That is not the main reasoning for me voting that way, however. Receivers can certainly be found among a greater amount of options later on. But, the other team needs for Kansas City supersede wide receiver at a greater degree. The offensive line was exposed in the Super Bowl and Mahomes can not do it all on his own by running around all the time. Even the pass rush itself, needs to show significant improvements in 2021 and beyond. Adding a Bateman, Marshall Jr. or Toney would be thrilling. Though, it is time for the flashy team to make the selection that is not quite as sexy.
Be on the lookout for more FPC Chiefs This Or That hypothetical articles throughout this 2021 offseason. We will post them on Tuesday and Thursday. For more great sports and NFL content, stay tuned to Full Press Coverage.
– Braden Holecek is the Kansas City Chiefs managing editor for Full Press Coverage. He covers the NFL. Like and follow on Follow @ebearcat9//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js Follow @FPC_Chiefs//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js and Facebook.