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Palmer mock draft: Chiefs will need to be active to address DL

Posted at 12:16 PM, Apr 18, 2019

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Admittedly, this particular exercise isn’t all that realistic given the propensity for trades, especially first-round trades, in recent years.

Still, I think it provides a good baseline of how the 2019 NFL Draft could shake out from a value perspective and where the Kansas City Chiefs (and other teams) may need to maneuver if there are players or positions they covet.

The plan is get a bit more crazy with a follow-up mock draft early next week, but for now let the criticism of my first NFL first-round mock draft begin:

1. Arizona: QB Kyler Murray, Oklahoma

The right quarterback can overhaul an organization’s outlook and fortunes in a hurry. If new Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury believes Murray is best suited to lead his high-octane offense, it’s a good pick — despite Desert Swarm spending the No. 10 pick on Josh Rosen last season.

2. San Francisco: DE Nick Bosa, Ohio State

He didn’t have monster production with the Buckeyes — 29 tackles for a loss, including 17 1/2 sacks in 47 career college games — but Bosa is widely viewed as one of the safest picks in the draft and best edge rushers, which the Niners still need despite the Dee Ford trade.

3. New York Jets: OLB Josh Allen, Kentucky

Allen looks like a potentially dominant 3-4 outside linebacker. He’s athletic, incredibly fast and plays hard down after down. Anthony Barr jilted the Jets during free agency, but that may wind up being a good thing if it ensures the club selects Allen.

4. Oakland: DT Quinnen Williams, Alabama

Jon Gruden may be tempted to maneuver for Drew Lock, if he’s not enamored with Derek Carr after one season together. But Williams is arguably the most talented player in the draft and the Raiders would be fortunate to have him land in their laps.

5. Tampa Bay: LB Devin White, LSU

On and off the field, White is a star. He’s an immediate plug-and-play starter at a glaring position of need, but he also could be available a few picks later. The Bucs may covet White, but also may be able to land him and add picks for the rebuilding effort if a QB-hungry team gets antsy.

6. New York Giants: QB Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State

Eli Manning isn’t getting any younger. Haskins arguably has the brightest future of any quarterback in the draft. After trading away so much talent, the Giants could give the fan base hope with a new face of the franchise for the ongoing rebuild with 2019 serving as a torch-passing season.

7. Jacksonville: OT Jawaan Taylor, Florida

Selecting a tackle or tight end isn’t sexy, but it’s prudent for the Jaguars, who signed Nick Foles in the offseason as Blake Bortles' replacement at quarterback. The defense is in good shape, so the offense doesn’t have to be ultra-explosive. Either protect Foles or give him a new security blanket (à la Philadelphia’s Zach Ertz) with the pick.

8. Detroit: DE Montez Sweat, Mississippi State

The Lions can maximize the Trey Flowers signings and find Sweat a terrific mentor, who already has some familiarity with coach Matt Patricia’s system. The duo could emerge as one of the NFL’s top pass-rushing tandems next fall.

9. Buffalo: DT Ed Oliver, Houston

The Bills will thank their lucky stars if Oliver falls this far — and should. He’s got a lot of Aaron Donald to his game. That’s not to say he’s anywhere near Donald’s level yet, but he’s an insanely gifted player with amazing speed on the interior defensive line.

10. Denver: QB Drew Lock, Missouri

It makes so much sense for the Broncos, who need a long-term solution at quarterback, to invest in an heir apparent to Joe Flacco. The best case scenario for the Broncos to remain competitive through a rebuild is to ride the defense, squeeze whatever is left from Flacco’s career, and have a new face of the franchise ready to take over. The Lee’s Summit legend may be the final piece.

11. Cincinnati: LB Devin Bush, Michigan

With teams out-maneuvering the Bengals for the top-10 quarterbacks, it’s a fine consolation prize to add a premium talent at linebacker. Offensive line also is a need for Cincy, making Alabama tackle Jonah Williams a possibility as well.

12. Green Bay: TE T.J. Hockenson, Iowa

Jimmy Graham isn’t the dynamic player the Packers hoped he would be any longer and didn’t seem to develop much chemistry with quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Maybe Hockenson — a rare talent, who instantly makes Green bay’s offense better — will have more luck. Green Bay may also be tempted to take Alabama tackle Jonah Williams here.

13. Miami: OT Jonah Williams, Alabama

Some pundits have Williams as a top-five talent in this year’s draft. If the Dolphins can’t trade back and collect picks, nabbing Williams here represents pretty good value for Miami. If one of the top three QBs slide, that may be tempting for the Fins, who seem likely to wind up with their pick of quarterbacks in next season’s draft.

14. Atlanta: DT Christian Wilkins, Clemson

It might be tempting to take Rashan Gary here, since edge rusher is a bigger need than defensive tackle after the Falcons used the franchise tag on Grady Jarrett. But Atlanta needs help all along the defensive line and Wilkins could save the club big-time money next offseason.

15. Washington: OLB Brian Burns, Florida State

He’s better in space than in close quarters at the line scrimmage and is among the fastest pass rushers in the draft. Burns is a perfect replacement for Preston Smith, who bolted for greener pastures in free agency. It’s too early to draft Duke quarterback Daniel Jones, but trading back would also be an option.

16. Carolina: DE Rashan Gary, Michigan

Most mock drafts have Gary going higher — and maybe he will, especially if an enamored team moves up as he slides — but the Panthers would be thrilled to stand pat and land a top-five edge rusher.

17. New York Giants: DE Clelin Ferrell, Clemson

Quarterback and players who can get after the quarterback are arguably football’s most important positions groups. The Giants snagged a QB early and add a potentially elite pass rusher late.

18. Minnesota: OT Andre Dillard, Washington State

There aren't many quality tackles capable of starting right away and there aren’t many teams that need one as badly as the Vikings, who must protect Kirk Cousins better to return to 2017 form.

19. Tennessee: WR D.K. Metcalf, Mississippi

The NFL Combine darling, Metcalf fills a glaring need for a playmaker on the outside as quarterback Marcus Mariota enters a make-or-break season. The Titans must find out if he’s the future of the franchise or if it’s time to move on.

20. Pittsburgh: CB Byron Murphy, Washington

The Steelers may have interest in Antonio Brown’s replacement here, but won’t be so bold and presumptuous to select his cousin — Marquise “Hollywood” Brown from Oklahoma — here. That leaves bolstering the secondary as the best option (or trading back with no linebackers worthy of the pick).

21. Seattle: DT Jeffery Simmons, Mississippi State

The Seahawks, who have only four picks, will explore trading down, maybe even out of the first round to collect a few additional picks. But with a tidy roster already in place, taking arguably a top-five talent at No. 21 in Simmons is a nice coup. Simmons may not be fully healthy for 2019, but it’s a long-term play with tremendous upside.

22. Baltimore: WR Marquise Brown, Oklahoma

Edge rusher is a big need after Terrell Suggs and Za’Darius Smith were lost in free agency, but the next player on the board — Florida’s Jachai Polite — feels like a reach. Trading back may be a possibility, but adding one of the fastest players in the draft to aid Lamar Jackson’s development isn’t a bad idea either.

23. Houston: G Cody Ford, Oklahoma

Deshaun Waston is the Texans’ future. Deshaun Watson has been beaten to a pulp in recent years because of poor offensive line play. Ford instantly makes that unit better — and Deshaun Watson is grateful.

24. Oakland: CB Greedy Williams, LSU

The Raiders love speed and no corner combines speed with ball skills quite like Williams. He’s a premium talent at a premium position.

25. Philadelphia: DT Jerry Tillery, Notre Dame

Fletcher Cox and Malik Jackson are a nice interior tandem, but the Eagles are thin behind that duo and need rotational help. With no value picks available at bigger positions of need, linebacker or offensive tackle, Philly gets better in the defensive trenches.

26. Indianapolis: DT Dexter Lawrence, Clemson

The Colts need help against the run and Lawrence has good instincts going after ball carriers plus he's strong at the point of attack. Lawrence is able to collapse the pocket with penetration, so he'll address Indy’s most glaring need.

27. Oakland: TE Noah Fant, Iowa

Derek Carr lost his security blanket when tight end Jared Cook left in free agency. The addition of Antonio Brown undeniably upgrades the Raiders' stable of pass catchers, but the ultra-athletic Fant gives the offense a much-needed chain-mover/over-the-middle playmaker.

28. Los Angeles Chargers: CB Rock Ya-Sin, Temple

With no glaring roster deficiencies and the defensive line ranks severely depleted at this stage, it makes sense to add arguably the best cornerback available in a division that includes two games a year against Patrick Mahomes.

29. Kansas City: C Garrett Bradbury, North Carolina State

If the Chiefs don’t budge from No. 29, the options seem to be Bradbury, CB Deandre Baker (Georgia), S Nasir Adderley (Delaware) or — if you want to get wild, WR A.J. Brown (Mississippi) or TE Irv Smith Jr. (Alabama). Bradbury got the nod based on best-available-player idea, but the Chiefs will be trading up if this is how things are going to break.

30. Green Bay: G Chris Lindstrom, Boston College

The Packers are paying Aaron Rodgers a king’s ransom and bolstered the defense through free agency. The king got a weapon earlier in the first round. Now, he gets some protection.

31. Los Angeles Rams: C Erik McCoy, Texas A&M

McCoy also can play guard and shores up the Rams’ depth up front. The club declined to pick up center John Sullivan’s option for 2019, heightening the need for depth at center/guard.

32. New England: WR A.J. Brown

Eventually, Tom Brady will retire and the Patriots will need better skill players to compete. Might as well land a potential elite wideout now and give Brady a fun new toy to play with in the twilight of his career. Duke quarterback Daniel Jones — or a trade down for a team eager to snag Jones on a first-round rookie contract — might make sense, too.