After long night of waiting, Chiefs finally get turn to draft

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The first round of the 2018 NFL draft brought no joy to the Kansas City Chiefs. They watched as each of their three AFC West rivals obtained a coveted player while the Chiefs were mere bystanders after sending away their top pick in last year’s trade that brought quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

The Chiefs are back in the game Friday night when the draft continues with the second and third rounds. The Chiefs have one pick in the second round, 54th overall.

They’re scheduled to pick twice in the third round. The Chiefs have the 78th overall pick, acquired from Washington in the Alex Smith trade, and No. 86.

"It was a lot of waiting but we’re certainly excited for tomorrow," general manager Brett Veach said. "We’re happy. We have a 2 and two 3s so we have good picks, and we can get good players staying put. We have some ability to move around, too.

"We feel good whether we stay, move up, move back. There are always different scenarios that could play out, but I think we’re positioned to capitalize however it does play out."

The Chiefs also have five picks on the draft’s final day on Saturday, including two in the fourth round.

The Chiefs have found uncommon success in the third round in recent years. They drafted three of their best players -- linebacker Justin Houston (2011), tight end Travis Kelce (2013) and running back Kareem Hunt (2017) -- in the third.

Running back Jamaal Charles no longer plays for the Chiefs, but he is the franchise’s all-time leading rusher. The Chiefs drafted him in the third round in 2008.

The Chiefs tried to fortify themselves before the draft to the point where they didn’t have to focus on any particular position. But they’re still thin at some spots on defense, particularly along the line and in the secondary.

A safety like Alabama's Ronnie Harrison makes sense for the Chiefs with their top pick. The Chiefs have one of NFL's top safeties in Eric Berry, but he's coming off a torn Achilles that caused him to miss most of last season. Daniel Sorensen and Eric Murray played a lot last season in his absence, but the Chiefs may be looking for an upgrade.

The Chiefs lost five of their top six cornerbacks from 2017, leaving that as another position of need. Colorado's Isaiah Oliver would be a smart pick for the Chiefs if he falls to No. 54.

On offense, the Chiefs could use a pass-catching tight end to pair with Kelce and an interior offensive lineman. That’s not necessarily where Kansas City will go with its picks, though.

"If all things are equal, we will lean towards where we feel this can help sooner [rather] than later," Veach said. "But they’re going to have to be equal or close to equal. We’re not going to take a player that we have a fourth- or fifth-round value on [in the second or third round] just because [they have a positional need].

"You can’t pass up good players."

The Chiefs made some inquiries about getting back into the first round but were never close to completing a deal. They didn’t want to part with any of their other picks in this draft or trade some of next years choices.

"We made calls," Veach said. "If you were to ask me what were the odds of me getting into Round 1, I would have said very low. That didn’t mean I wasn’t going to try. We certainly had dialogue from 27 to 31, 32. It has to make sense for us both now and the future. So when you’re talking about [trading] multiple picks or [2019] picks, that wasn’t something we were interested in doing."