We have entered the month of April and that means the NFL draft takes center stage.
The Kansas City Chiefs now have four selections in the top 62 picks to work with after the Tyreek Hill trade and it feels like general manager Brett Veach has his eye on certain positions. This regime has always noted the importance of the offensive and defensive line. Based on the current roster, premium picks could target right tackle or edge rusher if management chooses to focus on the trenches.
Offseason departures have created a few other potential needs as well — including wide receiver, cornerback and safety. As the month goes on, more and more prospects will be linked to Kansas City but one NFL legacy has come up often as a name to watch.
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Elam Would Be ‘an Immediate Starter’ for KC
During an ESPN NFL draft buzz notebook with insight from Jordan Reid and Matt Miller, the Chiefs came up twice in the cornerback department.
Starter Charvarius Ward and reserve Mike Hughes both walked in free agency this March, so Veach could be looking to restock at the position in April. That was the thought process from Reid when he connected Kansas City to Florida product Kaiir Elam. He wrote:
In a deep cornerback class, the prospect who seems to be somewhat forgotten is Florida’s Kaiir Elam. The nephew of 2013 first-round pick Matt Elam, he has continued the Gator tradition of players in the secondary going on to be high-round picks. At 6-foot-2, 192 pounds, he is a big, physical press-man corner who also has ball skills. He stood on his 4.39-second 40 time at the combine but had a 37.5-inch vertical and ran a 4.21 in the short shuttle at his pro day. Elam will be an option for teams that run a lot of press-man coverage or schemes that rely on outside corners getting their hands on receivers early in routes. He could sneak into Round 1 — watch out for the Chiefs (No. 29 and 30).
The 20-year old Gators CB is also the son of seven-year NFL pro, Abram Elam. The undrafted safety actually had a much longer career than his brother Matt, and he ended it with the Chiefs for one season in 2012.
Kaiir Elam hopes to be more successful than both his father and his uncle. He played three seasons at Florida, with five interceptions and 20 passes defended.
In a recent mock draft, Pro Football Focus’ Associate Director of Content Austin Gayle agreed with Reid on the landing spot. After selecting wide receiver Treylon Burks with pick No. 29, the PFF analyst sent Elam to the Chiefs at No. 30.
Here was his analysis of the pick: “Elam’s PFF grade isn’t all that impressive, but a lot of that is because of costly penalties. He still allowed just 19 receptions for 191 yards on 34 targets this season while going toe-to-toe with top-end SEC receiver talent. He’s an immediate starter for Kansas City, especially now that veteran Charvarius Ward has signed with San Francisco.”
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Clemson Product Provides Alternative Option
Pro Football Network reporter Aaron Wilson rumored that the Chiefs have shown interest in two veteran corners, Stephon Gilmore and James Bradberry. The former is a free agent, while the latter is being shopped by the New York Giants via trade.
If they do decide to bring in an experienced star, it’s hard to see Veach targeting a cornerback in round one — even if the secondary could still use some more depth behind a potential CB1 like Gilmore or Bradberry. L’Jarius Sneed and Rashad Fenton are both coming off solid campaigns and figure to factor in the starting lineup in 2022, so that only leaves one starting role to fill short-term.
Let’s say Kansas City elects to push the need to the draft, there should be several options to choose from besides Elam. Reid included another intriguing candidate in that late-first-round range, Clemson product Andrew Booth Jr.
Due to a quad strain and a sports hernia, Booth didn’t test at the combine or Clemson’s pro day but he’s expected to be ready for training camp according to the ESPN analyst. The injuries could cause him to drop to KC on draft night, if not lower.
Reid wrote: “His run likely starts with the Bills (No. 25), Chiefs (Nos. 29 and 30) and Bengals (No. 31) all as possible landing spots. Based on his tape alone, Booth could also be one of the hottest prospects early on Day 2.”