The Kansas City Chiefs shocked the nation when they traded superstar Tyreek Hill to the Miami Dolphins — but there was always a plan.
General manager Brett Veach had already signed JuJu Smith-Schuster to a team-friendly contract at the time. He followed that up by adding Marquez Valdes-Scantling on a three-year deal, with the speedy Mecole Hardman already on the roster.
The assumption is that KC is not done. With two first-round picks at the back-end of the top 32, many believe that Veach will draft a wide receiver in that 25-35 range. The Chiefs own pick Nos. 29 and 30, but there is always the potential of a move in one direction or the other.
Several wide receiver prospects could find themselves available in that window of picks, and one promising playmaker just visited the organization on April 6.
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The Confident George Pickens Came to Town
According to ESPN NFL insider Jeremy Fowler, “explosive WR George Pickens is visiting with #Chiefs [on April 6] and #Packers [on April 7].”
Fowler added: “Pickens recently told me he believes he’s the best wideout in the draft because ‘as a big target that can run 4.4, I can do what (other receivers) can along with having size’… That many talented WRs are [5-foot-11] or [6-foot] but ‘when you can do all those things (at [6-foot-3]) it’s a no-brainer.’ Pickens says he takes pride in blocking, comes from [a] pro-style system at UGA, and closely studies the greats such as Davante Adams and Cooper Kupp.”
Pickens’ confidence isn’t the only impressive part about his game. Pro Football Focus analyst Ben Linsey tweeted that his career drop rate is 2.1%, which ranks first for the top rookies in this class.
Christian Watson — another wide receiver that has been linked to the Chiefs this offseason — had polar opposite numbers with a 12.7% drop rate. Popular mock draft targets Jameson Williams and Treylon Burks were also on the higher side at 7.7% and 7.4%, respectively.
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Frame & Past Could Act Against Pickens
Pickens may have height, speed and hands, but he’s not built like an NFL WR — at least not yet.
Draft analyst Drae Harris of The Draft Network wrote: “He can defeat press with foot quickness but will need to add mass, bulk, and upper-body strength to his wiry frame in order to play through physicality in the NFL. Because he is lean and there have been injury concerns in his past, this could affect the projection to the next level.”
Lance Zierlein of NFL.com concurred, noting that Pickens is “in desperate need of additional play strength and a clean bill of health.”
“The routes need more polish and physicality,” Zierlein concluded, “but he has the athletic ability to become a viable target on all three levels as a likely Day 2 draft pick with a little wider gap between ceiling and floor than NFL teams might like.”
Kansas City is no stranger to boom or bust risks. After all, Hill was a fifth-round sleeper that turned into a matchup nightmare under Andy Reid. Similarly, a different Georgia product (Hardman) has not worked out as expected.
Just like the projections for Pickens, Hardman was a second-round selection in 2019.
The Chiefs are allowed 30 pre-draft prospect visits before the draft. We’ll continue to monitor the potential targets as Veach and Reid bring in more rookies for a closer look.