The Kansas City Chiefs have eight picks in the upcoming draft, and they need to make every one count after an offseason in which they lost six starters plus some other key players.
But each of those eight picks will count differently, depending on the position. The Chiefs look fully stocked at some spots where a rookie might have to be a high pick or outperform his draft round to make the roster. At other positions, the Chiefs can use bodies to at least fill out the depth chart.
Here’s a look at which positions make the most sense for the Chiefs to draft and which ones don’t:
Cornerback: Six corners played a significant number of snaps last season, but only one -- Steven Nelson -- is back. The Chiefs traded for Kendall Fuller and signed David Amerson but still don’t have the depth they would prefer, so it’ll be an upset if they don’t draft at least one corner.
Safety: The Chiefs are in a similar situation here. Daniel Sorensen and Eric Murray are back, and Eric Berry will return after missing most of last season. But the Chiefs released Ron Parker, so they need help at safety, as well.
Defensive line: The Chiefs don’t need a lot of players at these positions because they are so often in their sub packages. The starting lineup of Chris Jones, Allen Bailey and Xavier Williams seems set. But the Chiefs don’t have much proven depth, and Williams has been a backup for most of his career, so adding a capable player into the rotation would be a good idea. Also, Bailey’s contract will be up after next season, and it’s not too early to think about drafting his eventual replacement.
Tight end: The Chiefs don’t have much in the way of receiving options at tight end beyond Travis Kelce. That should be of concern given the way their offense collapsed in the second half of last season’s playoff game without the injured Kelce. The Chiefs seem concerned because they recently discussed a contract with veteran Benjamin Watson before he signed with the Saints.
Linebacker: On the outside, Justin Houston is still an effective player, but he’s 29. Dee Ford is headed into the final season of his contract. The Chiefs have last year’s second-round draft pick, Tanoh Kpassagnon, and whether or not they draft a linebacker in an early round could be a reflection on what they think of his chances for developing into a productive player. In the past year, the Chiefs turned over their inside linebackers by trading for Reggie Ragland, signing free agent Anthony Hitchens and drafting Ukeme Eligwe.
Offensive line: Eight of the nine linemen who played at least one snap for the Chiefs last season are back, so there isn’t a lot of room for new roster additions here. If the Chiefs need help anywhere, it’s at the interior positions. One guard, Parker Ehinger, played little last season after injuring his knee in 2016. Starting center Mitch Morse’s contract is up after next season. Remember that the Chiefs invested a 2018 fifth-round pick in a lineman last year when they traded for Cam Erving.
Wide receiver: In Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins, Chris Conley and Demarcus Robinson, the Chiefs appear to have their top four receivers. So they shouldn’t invest heavily here unless it’s with a player, or players, they really like.
Quarterback: Last week’s signing of third-stringer Matt McGloin greatly alleviates the need for the Chiefs to draft a quarterback. They want to go into training camp with four QBs, though, so it wouldn’t be a surprise if they picked one in a later round.
Running back: The Chiefs appear to be concerned about whether Spencer Ware, who injured his knee last year in the preseason, will be back in time to start the season. But that’s why they signed another big back in Damien Williams. Counting Kareem Hunt Charcandrick West and Akeem Hunt, the Chiefs are otherwise set.