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2014 NFL Draft

Kansas City Chiefs 2014 NFL Draft Needs and Targets

After a promising first year under Andy Reid, the Chiefs need to find better targets for Alex Smith early in the draft.

Andy Reid
Andy Reid

Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Longtime Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid transformed the Kansas City Chiefs into a contender in his first season at the helm, but after a red-hot start the team’s weaknesses were exposed.

With Alex Smith under center the team’s deep passing attack proved to be non-existent, though it didn’t help the team lacks a true No. 2 wideout opposite Dwayne Bowe. And it doesn’t help that one of its strong points — it’s offensive line — could be split up via free agency, which would also be troubling for Jamaal Charles and the Chiefs’ running game.

The Chiefs could afford to use the No. 23 overall pick on a dynamic playmaker in the receiving corps on either a big-bodied target or someone who can stretch the field. Three receivers commonly mentioned as fits in Kansas City include Odell Beckham Jr., Kelvin Benjamin and Brandin Cooks. Beckham has elite over-the-top speed and would not only bolster the deep passing game but add another dimension on special teams that may be missing should Dexter McCluster leave in free agency. At 6-foot-4, Benjamin is a bit raw but was one of the nation’s best when it came to hauling in 50-50 balls, which could benefit a Chiefs’ red-zone offense. And Cooks, like Beckham, has been likened to Victor Cruz for his playmaking ability from the slot.

Impending free agent Branden Albert is already drawing interest from other clubs and will be the most coveted left tackle on the market. If Kansas City doesn’t break the bank to retain him the team may have to address left tackle, as well as some interior line spots. The team could look at second and third-round tackle prospects like Ju’Wuan James or Jack Mewhort, as well as guards like Cyril Richardson or Anthony Steen.

To sure up the back of end of the defense, the Chiefs may want to add a complementary safety opposite Eric Berry. Kendrick Lewis will hit free agency and likely walk, and to replace him the team could look at Dion Bailey or Terrence Brooks. Both free safety prospects could be available in Rounds 3 or 4. Brooks has the ability to cover slot receivers and play deep, while Bailey tallied five picks and six pass breakups last season with the Trojans.

Finally, sticking with the theme of giving Smith receiving weapons, the Chiefs could afford to nab a pass-catching tight end. Anthony Fasano is limited in his abilities, and Travis Kelce has potential to be a good receiver but isn’t a sure thing. Notre Dame’s Troy Niklas would be a good fit but he’s flying up draft boards and may be gone before Round 2 is over. The team should keep tabs on C.J. Fiedorowicz out of Iowa or Arthur Lynch of Georgia as big-bodied tight ends to add in the middle rounds.

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