Draft Season is right around the corner, and according to some mock drafts the Chiefs could have a chance to draft a LARGE difference-maker at the end of the first round.
The NFL offseason is oftentimes about media and fans looking to make a big deal about things that don’t need much to be made of. Coaching rumors, free agency rumors, trade hypotheticals, everyone’s a buddy all of a sudden has some random source about what Brett Veach is going to do, and of course, everyone is a draft wizard after watching grown men run around cones in underwear.
These are all the reasons I can’t stand this time of year as a fan and a writer, because it’s mostly all flash with little substance. That being said, I do enjoy taking a look at different draft prospects and even creating a few mock drafts of my own with the help of The Draft Network mock draft simulator.
The Chiefs have a lot of picks this year, and that is good because they also have several needs as a team. These positions of need consist of defensive end, defensive back, and wide receiver, it shouldn’t be hard for the team to find their guys, this class is loaded at all three positions. However, when doing this mock draft, it gave me the option to take a player who may be falling down draft boards and he is a player that must be drafted if he falls to the Chiefs.
Throw out drafting for need, throw out drafting for positional value, all that does is pigeonhole teams into taking players and hoping that they pan out. Take the best available player, and find a way to build your team around them. Especially when they are 6’6″ 340+ pounds and they move like an outside linebacker.
Jordan Davis is a rare prospect, and if the Chiefs could find a way to select him he would instantly improve a defensive line that was depleted late in the year.
Jarran Reed and Derrick Nnadi are both scheduled to be free agents, so in a way, it actually could fill a need for the nose tackle, who can also play as one technique and three-technique, regardless if the Chiefs bring back Reed (less likely), or Nnadi (more likely). Nnadi and Reed are solid players, Reed the better pass rusher, Nnadi one of the league’s best run-stuffing defensive tackles, but Davis has the talent and ability to surpass what either of them can put on the field.
Winning the Bednarik Trophy for the best defensive player in college football, with only two total sacks in a year with insane pass rushers is a testament to just how dominant Davis was, but as well as how man teams had to game plan around his ability. His size would indicate that she is a stout run stuffer, which he is. He has the size and strength to be a Vince Wilfork type, eating double teams, filling gaps, and creating plays for his teammates. At the very least he will turn into a dominant run stuffer, but it’s his short-area quickness and ability to win one on one blocks while rushing the passer that could make him special.
His burst off the snap when he can get revved up is ridiculous for how big he is, and he rushes the passer like a player who weighs much less. He has a solid arm-over move as well as a club to long arm, and of course a devastating bull rush. He may not have the most career production, but it’s the fact that he was double-teamed, and occasionally triple-teamed that shows why teams respected his game so much, and why when left blocked one on one he is a problem.
So how could he help the Chiefs?
Nick Bolton and Willie Gay are the future of the defense, and going to be guys the Chiefs rely on moving forward. Every great LB corps and every great defense for that matter starts with the defensive line and the nose tackle is the most important for stuffing the run and keeping the offensive line from creating movement. Davis is not easy to move, despite some concerns about leverage, but he is never going to be blown off the ball, and it would be beneficial for the development of both Gay and Bolton to have an elite-level nose.
It would also help the Chiefs’ best defensive player, Chris Jones. The media and fans have been giving Jones somewhat unfair treatment since the AFCCG loss to the Bengals. Not having a single playoff sack in 11 games doesn’t help Jones out, but it is a fact that he is one of the most double-teamed players in the NFL. Having Davis next to Jones on pass rush downs would make it very tricky for opposing offenses to commit to doubling down on Jones the entire game. It’s a numbers game, the more players a team has to commit to blocking, the fewer players they can send out on routes, and the more players they have to leave in for protection. It would be hard to double two interior pass rushers so one would likely have a one on one, and if they did double both they would have to keep a back or tight end in just to be able to block a four-man rush.
This starts to make things complicated for offenses, especially since so many teams have spent a top dollar, and top draft picks to take offensive tackles to protect their quarterbacks from the influx of edge rushers, yet have neglected to build their interior offensive line as strong. NFL quarterbacks have also gotten more athletic and much better at evading edge pressure (Josh Allen), but pressure straight up the middle will always throw off the timing of plays and create a disturbance in the pocket.
Davis isn’t without flaws, and one thing he will have to work to overcome is developing NFL-level stamina as well as a general condition so he can stay on the field as many plays as possible. The Chiefs will still need to look to add pass rush on the edge to help create a stellar defensive front, but Davis paired with Jones would be a nightmare situation for offenses to have to handle.
Drafting the best available players can help teams in more ways than one. It can make strong units stronger and gives teams a chance to add to their strengths. Davis has immense potential, showed dominance while at Georgia, and is deserving of a first-round draft pick. If the Chiefs have a chance to draft him they need to seize the opportunity. It could make a big difference.