Available free agents who could help Chiefs before or after 2021 NFL draft

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Charles Goldman
·5 min read
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The Kansas City Chiefs had a balanced free agency between adding some new talent and retaining their own key free agents. Attention is on the 2021 NFL draft because it’s right around the corner, but there are a number of players still available on the free-agent market that could help this team next season.

The team could still use help at some key positions on both offense and defense. They don’t necessarily need to add any players prior to the draft as they can see how things fall and add some players after.

The one glaring need on the roster is still at the left tackle position and that’s where we’ll kick off our list:

LT Russel Okung

AP Photo/David Berding

No player or position would help put Chiefs Kingdom at ease than a veteran left tackle. We know that the Chiefs have at least some level of interest in Okung as they've reportedly checked in on him. His market so far has been very quiet, with no reported visits with teams at this time. That could be for a variety of reasons ranging from interest to health. Okung is definitely one of the best players available at a position where the cupboards are pretty bare. He spent the past season in Carolina on a one-year deal, where he allowed just 13 total pressures on 260 total pass-blocking snaps per Pro Football Focus. Pair Okung with a talented rookie in the top three rounds and it'd be a home-run move for the front office.

Slot Brian Poole

AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

The slot corner spot is a position where the Chiefs can afford to add a player and Poole is the best remaining free agent at the position. They already attempted to grab one in free agency, bringing in then-49ers free agent K'Waun Williams. He, of course, left without a deal and re-signed with San Francisco. Poole played just nine games and 483 snaps in 2020 due to a shoulder injury that ended his season early. During the year, he allowed 29 receptions on 40 targets into his coverage, totaling just 261 yards with two interceptions and three pass breakups according to Pro Football Focus. He also didn't allow a single touchdown on the year and had a total of 13 run stops. Those are some decent numbers on a team that was collectively one of the worst in the NFL last season. I'd be interested in seeing what he could do on a team like Kansas City.

DE Melvin Ingram

AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

The Chiefs brought in Ingram for a visit and he left without a deal. It's hard to tell if there's still mutual interest in a contract. Who knows if Kansas City would even offer him the same type of deal now as they would have back then. Still, this could be a low-risk veteran signing for a Chiefs team that needs to strengthen their edge rusher rotation. Ingram should have a bit of a chip on his shoulder after a season where he dealt with a knee injury and failed to produce a single sack. In each of the two seasons prior, Ingram had two sacks on the year. Facing off against his former team twice a year could be a nice motivator to get a deal done with Kansas City.

DE Justin Houston

AP Photo/Reed Hoffmann

Obviously, the Chiefs are very familiar with the player here as Houston was a former third-round pick by the Chiefs back in the 2011 NFL draft. He's easily the most productive pass rusher still available after an eight-sack 2020 season with 25 total pressures for the Indianapolis Colts. He's proven over the past two years that he can play with his hand in the dirt after spending his early career playing 3-4 OLB. Houston recently took a visit with the Baltimore Ravens but left without a deal. The Chiefs would be wise to try and lure Houston away from an AFC foe and back to Kansas City. It'd certainly make the fans feel better after losing out on players like Trent Williams and JuJu Smith-Schuster. If they can sign him after the draft, once his deal wouldn't impact the compensatory pick formula, that'd be an ideal situation. Really any number of former Chiefs could still help this team and there are quite a few of them still available.

RB Dion Lewis

Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

The Chiefs made it known they were looking to add a pass-catching running back by throwing their name into the race to land former Bengals RB Gio Bernard. Of course, they didn't sign Bernard or I'd be writing about someone else. Lewis is a few seasons removed from playing some great football with the New England Patriots and the Tennesse Titans. In the 2020 season with the New York Giants, Lewis appeared in all 16 games, recording 29 carries for 115 yards and two scores. His ability in the passing game is still pretty solid, with 19 receptions for 127 yards and a score. On 29 true pass-block snaps in 2020, Lewis allowed just nine pressures per Pro Football Focus. It's also worth noting that Lewis was drafted by the Eagles back in 2011 under Andy Reid. At worst, he's a camp body who will push some players at the bottom of the roster. [vertical-gallery id=91116]

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