The Kansas City Chiefs have been one of the best teams in the NFL over the past four seasons. They won the Super Bowl in 2020 and came up just short of repeating the feat against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in February 2021.
In that defeat, the primary issues with the Kansas City Chiefs were apparent throughout the game.
The Chiefs were without three starting offensive linemen. Mitchell Schwartz and Eric Fisher were both injured, and Laurent Duvernay Tardiff opted out of the 2020 season to work as a doctor amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
Come the Super Bowl, the missing starters left the Chiefs down to their bare bones on the OL depth chart and, subsequently, weak upfront. The Buccaneers defense spilled across the line at will and put too much pressure on Mahomes.
The Bucs secondary marked wide receiver Tyreek Hill completely out of the game. Tight end Travis Kelce had a rare off-day, and the rest of the receiving unit also let Mahomes down either by struggling to get open or dropping passes.
Top five prospects the Kansas City Chiefs should pursue at the 2021 NFL Draft
Credit to the Bucs, of course, but it was the worst Kansas City offensive performance since Mahomes became a starter. But the performance highlighted some key areas that head coach Andy Reid should fix during the offseason.
Fisher and Schwartz have since left the Chiefs and are currently the top two OL talents available in free agency. They did add former New England Patriots guard Joe Thuney to the roster but will need to strengthen their offensive line further in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Wide receiver Sammy Watkins has also left the Chiefs to join the Baltimore Ravens this offseason. The teams will need to add a new receiving threat to the roster to share responsibility in the receiving game alongside Hill and Kelce.
If Andy Reid gets his draft picks right, the Chiefs could very well go deep in the playoffs again.
Kansas City currently owns five picks in the top 144 in the 2021 NFL Draft. Here's a list of their first five draft picks:
- First-round: No.31.
- Second-round: No.63.
- Third-round: No.94.
- Fourth-round: No.136.
- Fourth round: No. 144 (Kendall Fuller compensatory pick)
Let's take a look at the five prospects that the Chiefs should target in the 2021 NFL draft.
#1 - Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State
The best OT left on the board in my PFF Mock draft when the Chiefs make their first-round pick is Oklahoma State's Teven Jenkins.
Jenkins is 6'6", 325 lbs, and known to be highly aggressive and competitive at the line. The OT developed into one of college football's best blindside blockers during his career in Oklahoma.
Jenkins is a real asset in the running game, athletic enough to get out ahead of the play and block oncoming traffic.
Able to play in both LT and RT positions, the Chiefs will surely have an eye on this physical specimen heading into the 2021 NFL Draft.
#2 - Landon Dickerson, C, Alabama
The Chiefs have already bagged themselves a reliable new center in the now-former Los Angeles Rams player Austin Blythe, who signed on for a year in Kansas a week ago.
That being said, Landon Dickerson will still be available on the draft board at No.50. Knowing that the 2021 draft class is receiver-heavy and center-light, I believe the Chiefs will have to trade up to get the Alabama man.
Dickerson was a Rimington and All-American trophy winner in 2020. His ability to stuff the rush ahead of QB Mac Jones was an essential component of the Crimson Tide's national championship-winning season.
Dickerson will compete with Blythe for depth chart supremacy at center. With either of the two at center, Joe Thuney at left guard and Laurent Duvernay-Tardif at right guard, the Chiefs will have a stellar O-line.
#3 - Nico Collins, WR, Michigan
Michigan Wolverines wide receiver Nico Collins had a breakout sophomore campaign in 2018, catching 38 passes for 632 yards and six touchdowns for the Wolverines.
Taking on more responsibility as a junior, Collins' stats improved again as he amassed 729 yards and seven touchdowns in 2019.
Collins opted out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19 concerns, but it hasn't damaged his stock. The receiver has been compared to the likes of Chase Claypool and DK Metcalf during the build-up to the draft.
The Chiefs simply don't have a target like Collins on their roster, and Mahomes could likely benefit from having a big man who wins contested catches out on the flanks. Collins at No. 94 just makes sense.
#4 - Amari Rodgers, WR, Clemson
Clemson WR Amari Rodgers is a speed-merchant whose skill set is comparable to the Cleveland Browns' Jarvis Landry.
In 2020, Rodgers racked up 1,027 receiving yards and seven touchdowns for the Tigers. His great footwork, reliable hands, and knack for getting into the endzone would make him a top asset for any gunslinger in the league.
But a partnership with Mahomes in Kansas could help fans see the very best of Rodgers.
#5 - Patrick Johnson, Edge, Tulane
Despite being rated a two-star prospect out of Notre Dame High School, Patrick Johnson went on to become a three-time AAAC selection whilst playing for the Tulane Green Wave.
As a senior, Johnson tied for second in the FBS with 10 sacks and tied for eighth with 14.5 tackles for a loss. The athletic DE also set a school record with 24.5 sacks during his college career.
Make no mistake, Patrick Johnson is one of the quickest pass rushers in the 2021 NFL draft. If he drops as far as the fourth-round, the Chiefs would be wise to take him to shore up, perhaps even improve the pass rush unit.