The countdown to the 2021 NFL Draft continues to grow smaller and smaller. And yet, the options that teams may have on their table are growing larger and larger. There are differing opinions on players that are all over the place. In the meantime, prospects available either come with having not played in 2020 after opting out, or the player may have played for four straight seasons as the starter. With a team like the Kansas City Chiefs and where they are currently slotted in Round One (31st overall), maybe the best option is to trade out of the first round.
There are possibly multiple benefits to this. Firstly, you can wait and make a pick at a more comfortable spot in the early second round. That allows you to let the board fall to you. On the other hand, you have a chance to acquire more draft capital for this 2021 NFL Draft. So today’s edition of This Or That offers the following question. Should the Chiefs trade out of Round One and make their first pick in Round Two? Or, is their best interest to stick at 31st overall and make a late first round pick?
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Chiefs’ Draft Trade Trends
Looking back at the draft trades Kansas City has made in recent years, and generally it has always been that they have moved up the order, rather than down. The most significant trade up was in 2017, of course. They moved up 17 spots to take Patrick Mahomes. Though, the guy who reportedly pounded the table for him the most was more of an assistant in the front office at the time. Now he is the current GM.
When Brett Veach has held the general manager title, the team has traded up twice in Round Two. That allowed them to net Breeland Speaks (2018) and Mecole Hardman (2019). Other trades, like the Frank Clark deal with Seattle, allowed the Chiefs to move up in other various rounds. This resulted in the selection of Khalen Saunders in 2019. Finally, Veach opted to re-enter the draft pool last year to select BoPete Keyes in the seventh round of 2020.
Looking back on the earlier returns on investment, it has been largely hit or miss. The production we have seen has been up and down for Hardman. Keyes was essentially in a redshirt season last year, but did play while the starters rested in Week 17. Saunders was made a healthy scratch throughout much of last season. And lastly, Speaks only saw the field with Kansas City in his rookie year. An injury and suspension kept him out in 2019. The Ole Miss product was then cut before the start of last season.
Under Veach’s watch, the Chiefs have technically traded down in the draft once. That was only a couple of spots in 2019, however. They and the Los Angeles Rams swapped the 61st and 63rd pick. Each team wound up taking a safety, as LA selected Taylor Rapp at 61 and Kansas City opted to go with Juan Thornhill at 63.
The most significant trade down in recent team history happened in 2016. Kansas City traded with San Francisco, moving down 10 spots and out of the first round. The 49ers moved up to 28th overall and selected Joshua Garnett. He managed to only appear in 22 games across three seasons before being let go. After waiting until the second night to make their first pick, the Chiefs selected Chris Jones of Mississippi State at 37th overall. Safe to say that paid off, right?
Jones has been a game wrecker in the defensive front. In five seasons so far, he has recorded 40.5 sacks in 76 games, including 15.5 sacks in 2018. Jones has also registered 100 quarterback hits, 40 tackles for loss, 24 pass deflections, nine forced fumbles, two interceptions and one fumble recovery. Could a similar opportunity present the Chiefs in the 2021 NFL Draft?
Possible Trade Partners
Say the Chiefs were to trade out of Round One in a similar fashion like they did in 2016. You move down anywhere from seven to ten picks, pick up an additional fourth or fifth rounder and it could be a beneficial opportunity. And, there are actually a handful of teams that make sense that would be willing to trade back up to 31st overall.
How about number 38 and 39 overall? The Cincinnati Bengals may see a name on the board that is cannot miss to help surround young quarterback Joe Burrow with premium talent. Meanwhile, the Carolina Panthers just made a trade for quarterback Sam Darnold. To help try to resurrect him, they may have a similar thought in mind. Each of those two teams could stand to add a pass catching weapon or an offensive linemen.
Going down a little further into the second round, the New York Giants make plenty of sense as a possible partner at 42 overall. Giants general manager Dave Gettleman has always been willing to trade up and show his aggressive side to get his guys. Most specifically in 2019, after already taking quarterback Daniel Jones at six and defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence at 17, Gettleman traded back into the first round. He came back to 30th overall, where he selected Georgia cornerback Deandre Baker. Possibly, he would be willing to make multiple first round picks once again.
Another team to keep an eye could be the Jacksonville Jaguars. They may have a desire to move up from 45 overall. That would not only give them three first round picks, but four selections to be made in the top 33. As crazy as that may sound, a new head coach like Urban Meyer could be willing to come with his guns-a-blazing.
Options To Use, If Trade Down Occurs
We mentioned some of the benefits for Kansas City above, if a trade down were to happen. The most important factor for a team like the Chiefs, is that the value could truly come to them. With where they are at currently as a team, the expectations should not fall off. But still, this team is entering one of their more make or break drafts in recent memory.
You currently have holes at left tackle, center, defensive end, wide receiver and potentially cornerback. Some are smaller needs than others. And yes, the team has brought in plenty of competition for some of those aforementioned spots. Returning to the team are names like Demarcus Robinson, Mike Remmers and Lucas Niang will eventually join the roster. Austin Blythe gives them an option at center. Adding Jarran Reed opens up more possibilities for how they can attack adding someone at the other starting defensive end spot.
By going best player available, while still attacking positions of need, the options could very well be extremely fruitful the first time the Chiefs are on the clock. Say you want a new left tackle. The way things have been trending, guys like Liam Eichenberg or Dillon Radunz could be there in the early second. The same trends have been occurring for centers like Landon Dickerson or Creed Humphrey. Ditto for wide receivers or pass rushers like Terrace Marshall Jr., Dyami Brown, Gregory Rousseau or Jayson Oweh.
Go to the poll to cast your vote here: Trade out of Round One or not?
We must remind everyone that it is difficult to know just exactly how the board will fall. Though, the Chiefs are currently sitting in a prime trade spot for other teams to swoop in and make a splash of their own to end Round One. The bottom line for Kansas City is this. Do not reach for need at 31st overall. If you do not feel comfortable taking what is currently on the board, facilitate a deal and pick up an extra draft pick for good measure. I would be willing to stay patient and move into the early second round, compared to being stuck in a corner in Round One. Disagree with me and want to stay at 31? Let us know in the poll above.
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.