Tim Crone: Hoping that the Chiefs use the draft wisely

The Examiner
Tim Crone

The 2021 NFL draft is almost here and fans are all trying to figure out the best picks for another Super Bowl run. We all think we have the right answers for which players Brett Veach and his staff should choose to help Patrick Mahomes and company be successful.

The talk has been all about a rebuilt offensive line. Football games are won with a great quarterback and dominant offensive and defensive linemen. Veach and company have done well in free agency to begin the building process.

The Chiefs scouting staff under Veach has shown a lot of guts and preparation in past drafts. Many people, including myself, think an offensive left tackle should be the priority. There are several good offensive tackles available in this year’s draft, i.e. Notre Dame left tackle Liam Eichenberg, Alabama left tackle Alex Leatherwood and USC left tackle Alijah Vera-Tucker.

But that likely changed Friday when the Chiefs traded for Baltimore Ravens left tackle Orlando Brown in exchange for the No. 31 overall pick, picks in the third and fourth rounds and a 2022 fifth-round pick.

The Chiefs also got the Ravens’ second-round pick this year and a sixth-rounder in 2022.

Veach is his own man and could go in a different direction with wide receiver, cornerback or edge rusher with his two second-round picks. An area I hope can be improved upon in the draft is at the inside linebacker position. This has been a weak spot and hasn’t really been a priority for the team until last season when they took Willie Gay Jr. in the second round. Another good inside linebacker could benefit the defense in many ways.

The departure of Sammy Watkins and the love Andy Reid has for offense could make a wide receiver a pick. Talk has focused on a potential second round pick, Terrace Marshall, wide receiver out of LSU, who is 6-foot-4 and 200 pounds. It makes a lot of sense since most of the current wide receivers are shorter and quicker type pass catchers. Another big target in the red zone, besides tight end Travis Kelce, could prove to be an excellent choice.

The Chiefs need help at edge rusher. They lacked consistent pressure on the QB all year. Frank Clark gets a lot of ink, but he often comes up without a single tackle. Pressure is a must in today’s NFL.

I say every year that if you can pick up a cover corner, you must do it. The wide-open NFL philosophy demands a team has at least four or five cornerbacks who are able to line up against both outside and inside receivers.

Some suggest the Chiefs should make a move to attain a solid safety. If a safety is picked up, they must be able to cover the pass and be a secondary run stopper in the alleys. Daniel Sorensen has been consistent in his career, but opponents tend to pick on him.

The Chiefs have done a great job of getting late round draft choices who can make an early impression and become key for the team on both sides of the ball. The Chiefs need to get a quality player behind the league’s best tight end Travis Kelce. He is not getting any younger and he needs a few more plays off. If Kelce is not in the game, the team has no threat in the passing game at that position.

Don’t be surprised if the organization comes up with a complete surprise. One reason why the Chiefs have been so successful the past five years is that the personnel staff has been able to supply quality depth. The NFL is going to a 17-game format, so quality depth will be required up and down the roster.

The Chiefs proved in last year’s Super Bowl that they do have weaknesses that cannot be overcome every time with the magic of Mahomes. The team has been able to address needs in the last five drafts and has been able to provide quality talent.

The top five positions, in order, I believe the Chiefs need to draft are offensive tackle, wide receiver, edge rusher, corner and inside linebacker. The draft should prove interesting for Chief’s fans.

• The quote of the week comes from Hall of Famer Joe Namath, “I prepared myself beforehand until I knew that I could do what I had to do. Then I had faith.”

Tim Crone, a William Chrisman High School graduate, is a former activities director and coach for Blue Springs High School and is a host of a weekly radio show, “Off the Wall with Tim Crone,” on KCWJ (1030 AM) 6 p.m. every Monday. He writes a weekly column for The Examiner. Reach him at t.crone@comcast.net.