The 2021 NFL draft is less than 50 days away and free agency is just around the corner. Our friends over at Draft Wire recently released an updated 3-round mock draft projection, following the announcement of the NFL’s compensatory draft picks. So who did the Chiefs come away with in the latest mock draft? Well, let’s just say Luke Easterling was paying attention when Kansas City released both of their starting offensive tackles on Thursday.
31. North Dakota State OT Dillon Radunz
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Releasing both of your starting tackles is a surefire way to get an offensive tackle sent to you in the first round of a mock draft. Brett Veach mentioned in his pre-free agency press conference that when you pick at No. 31 or No. 32, most of the depth on the offensive line is already gone. Well, that's really true here. Six offensive tackles already are off the board by the time the Chiefs are on the clock. Radunz makes a ton of sense as a replacement option for Eric Fisher at the left tackle position. He's a fit for zone-blocking schemes and he brings some nastiness to the run game. He did a great job climbing to the second level for the Bison and clearing the path for his scrambling QB Trey Lance. His anchor in pass protection is really impressive at times. He's also a good athlete, but he weighed in a little light at his Pro Day (6-5, 301 pounds). The big thing for Radunz, he's a three-time FCS national title winner with North Dakota State. He proved that he can hang against NFL caliber talent at the Senior Bowl and he also showed that he has some versatility, playing left guard at times. If he's available at the end of the first round this would be a solid choice for Kansas City, but asking him to jump in and be a full-time starter in his first year could amount to trial by fire.
63. Tennessee OG Trey Smith
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Smith is a monster of a human, listed at 6-6 and 320 pounds. He is a people-mover in the run game and a brick wall in the passing game. He serves up pancakes like he's the local I-HOP. He has powerful hands and a good understanding of how to out-leverage defenders. He's also a big-time leader for the Volunteers in the locker room. At Tennessee, Smith showed his versatility experience playing left tackle and left guard. He earned back-to-back First-Team All-SEC selections for his performances in 2019 and 2020 at the latter position. In the NFL, Smith is probably a better fit at left guard. That's where he lined up during the week of practice at the Senior Bowl, so I suspect the NFL also feels this way. Smith does have some medical red flags that will need to be cleared by Rick Burkholder and the Chiefs' medical staff. Assuming he passes those checks, this would be a solid piece for Kansas City as they seek to rebuild their offensive line.
94. Kentucky CB Kelvin Joseph
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Joseph is one of the few corners in this draft class that really saw a big rise from the 2020 college football season after sitting out 2019 due to transfer rules. He had 25 total tackles, a pass defended, four interceptions and one returned for a touchdown in nine games. He was a lockdown corner in coverage too allowing very little in the way of receptions and explosive plays. He's fluid, physical and does a good job of locating and defending the football once it's in the air. Early on in the pre-draft process, Joseph was hailed as someone that the league was really high on. Some even have him being selected as early as the first round of the draft. He seems to be a pretty polarizing prospect between the media and the league, but I'm under the impression that this would be a steal if the Chiefs could manage to come away with this player at No. 94 overall. There's some off-field stuff that teams will have to work through on Joseph, but if teams can clear him, he checks every other box you want.