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Should Kansas City take a DL early?

The Kansas City Chiefs are set to take a premium prospect with their No. 32 selection in the 2024 NFL Draft next week. With plenty of room to improve the team’s roster, general manager Brett Veach has a ton of options, but the general consensus seems to be that he will use Kansas City’s first-round pick on either an offensive tackle or wide receiver.

However, an alternate strategy that could serve the Chiefs well would be for Veach to target a pass rusher early, and opt to wait on other positions of need until the second, third, and fourth rounds.

With Chris Jones anchoring Kansas City’s defensive line, the Chiefs don’t need to add a defensive tackle early. Instead, Veach could look to reinforce the edges of Kansas City’s front four to gain yet another talented pass rusher to pair with Felix Anudike-Uzomah and George Karlaftis next season.

Check out how this scenario might play out in this full seven-round Chiefs mock draft:

Feb 29, 2024; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Penn State defensive lineman Chop Robinson (DL45) works out during the 2024 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

If Robinson is available this late in the first round the Chiefs might have no choice but to pick him. An outstanding talent, Robinson is among the best prospects in the 2024 class, and has the potential to be a cornerstone piece of an NFL defense. Some simulations have him dropping into the early second round but, for now, this pick is probably a pipe dream.

Nov 25, 2023; Columbia, South Carolina, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks wide receiver Xavier Legette (17) runs the ball against Clemson Tigers safety Khalil Barnes (36) at Williams-Brice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Yeazell-USA TODAY Sports

Legette is set to be one of the best value picks in the draft on Day 2 and would benefit from playing in Kansas City’s offense with Patrick Mahomes. His ability after the catch makes Legette a special prospect, and after showing that he had sure hands in 2023 at South Carolina, his stock has soared in recent months as scouts and evaluators have projected his role at the NFL level.

Mar 3, 2024; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Notre Dame offensive lineman Blake Fisher (OL20) during the 2024 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Fisher is a rock-solid lineman with all the tools coaches look for in a tackle prospect. He isn’t the most highly-touted player in the class, proved to be a capable blocker in the Fighting Irish offense, helping lift Notre Dame to a 10-3 season in 2023.

Nov 11, 2023; Tallahassee, Florida, USA; Florida State Seminoles wide receiver Johnny Wilson (14) before the game against the Miami Hurricanes at Doak S. Campbell Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports

At six-foot-seven, Wilson would be a massive target for Patrick Mahomes on the boundary and could help Kansas City in the red zone next season as a jump ball threat. His skill set isn’t as refined as some of his peers in the 2024 class, but his physical tools make him a mouth-watering prospect who would be an absolute steal in the fourth round.

Kentucky’s Trevin Wallace recovers the fumble and moves the ball against Florida Saturday afternoon.
Sept. 30, 2023

Kentucky had a down year in 2023, but Wallace had nothing to do with his team’s underwhelming performance. He tallied 80 total tackles in 12 games and added five and a half sacks to put himself on the map of many NFL scouts. Wallace could stand to add some bulk to his six-foot-two frame but projects well as a developmental linebacker who can make outstanding plays in the middle of any defense.

Nov 18, 2023; Fort Worth, Texas, USA; TCU Horned Frogs tight end Jared Wiley (19) catches a pass for a first down against the Baylor Bears during the second half at Amon G. Carter Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Wiley is a gritty pass catcher who would benefit from playing with Travis Kelce as part of Kansas City’s already-stacked tight end group. There remains plenty of room for refinement in Wiley’s game, but he represents a low-risk option for the Chiefs in the fifth round.

Feb 3, 2024; Mobile, AL, USA; National running back Kimani Vidal of Troy (28) runs the ball during the first half of the 2024 Senior Bowl football game at Hancock Whitney Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

Vidal is a blazing-fast running back who could produce for a number of teams across the league if he sees enough action to acclimate himself to the professional game. He racked up more than 1,600 rushing yards last year at Troy and was named the Sun Belt Offensive Player of the Year. Though he might not be the most well-known prospect, Vidal would be another low-risk prospect for the Chiefs to add in the late rounds.

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