The Kansas City Chiefs are desperately trying to take their roster to the next level, as they remain one of the best teams in the AFC without truly threatening to make a run to a Super Bowl. They have strung together four consecutive winning seasons and made the playoffs three of those years, but haven’t been able to get over the hump and into a conference championship game.
Yet they have 43 wins over that time, behind only the Super Bowl winners during that time in the Patriots, Broncos and Seahawks. With one of the most complete rosters in the league, the Chiefs are more likely to improve with their early picks or even with a gem in the middle rounds. However, they should be able to find depth at certain spots and developmental picks who they could groom into starters down the road. Here are five players they could target on Day 3 of the 2017 NFL Draft.
Brian Allen, CB, Utah
The converted wide receiver found playing time over the past two seasons at Utah. He had good ball production, showing off his hands with an interception and three passes defended in 2015 before coming back with four picks and six knockdowns as a senior. However, his play on the field isn’t as likely to get him drafted as his 6-foot-3 frame and 34-inch arms, both elite for cornerbacks. At 215 pounds, Allen ran a 4.48 40-yard dash at the combine, and also posted an excellent three-cone drill.
The combination of size and speed should make him a coveted player, especially with the background as a receiver and ability to turn the ball over in the secondary. He is rawer than most corners available, but the potential could get him drafted late as the Chiefs look to groom a second corner across from budding star Marcus Peters.
Jalen Robinette, WR, Air Force
Coming from the option attack of Air Force, Robinette is used to making the most out of few opportunities with the football. He averaged only 30 catches a year for four seasons, but scored 18 times and pushed the ball downfield with 22.5 yards per reception in his career. At 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds, he has the size to make that kind of playmaking ability quite dangerous.
Robinette didn’t run as fast as expected for his production, failing to get under 4.6 in the 40-yard dash at the combine. His other marks were good but not great as well. He is going to be extremely raw as a route runner, and will have an uphill climb against NFL talent where his size will not be as big of an advantage and his speed will turn into a negative.
Still, the Chiefs like to get the ball to their tight end and backs, as well as Tyreek Hill in creative ways. It isn’t quite the triple option, but a receiver who is used to doing his work off play action and producing with few opportunities could thrive in Andy Reid’s offense with Alex Smith at the helm.
Vincent Taylor, DL, Oklahoma State
Taylor could be en excellent get late in the draft depending on how the word “late” is defined. Taylor is a run-stuffing defensive tackle, and one of the best in this class in that aspect. However, he doesn’t project as a pass rusher despite his 7.5 sacks as a junior, and was mostly a two-down player in college.
For that reason, Taylor could be available in Round 4 or possibly Round 5 of this draft, even with the general lack of talent at the position that should work the other way and push Taylor’s stock upwards. After losing Dontari Poe, the Chiefs inked Bennie Logan to a one-year deal to solidify the middle of the defensive line. Taylor would be the exact type of player who could come in as a rotational nose tackle, with the ability to take over in that spot on early downs against the run. If he can bring a little juice getting after the quarterback, that makes him all the more valuable.
Khalfani Muhammed, RB, California
He wasn’t invited to the combine, but the California back should still be on most team’s board because of his elite speed. He is undersized and wasn’t used heavily in the Cal offense, but he averaged 5.8 yards per carry for his career and showed he could carry the ball effectively in bulk with his 152 attempts as a senior.
Yet the big-play ability still lurks as a reason to take a chance on him late in the draft or possibly as an undrafted free agent. He ran a blazing time in the low 4.3s in the 40-yard dash at his pro day, with reports that he has clocked even faster in the past (it was raining at his pro day).
It is surprising Cal couldn’t find more for him to do in the passing game as he finished eighth on the team with only 17 receptions, accounting for less than five percent of Webb’s throws in an offense that was often predicated on bubble screens and short throws. His size is also a concern, but if Kansas City can find use for him as a receiving threat out of the backfield, he and Hill would constitute a scary amount of speed in the huddle at one time.
Montae Nicholson, S, Michigan State
With Eric Berry and Ron Parker combining to be an excellent pair of safeties, Nicholson could be a third guy in that group with the ability to find a role in the defense. Berry is obviously a stud, with the ability to play in coverage and also be a monster against the run. Parker has a more defined role, playing closer to the line of scrimmage.
Nicholson would go the other way. Despite being 6-foot-2 and 210-plus pounds, his play style and speed keeps him back in the deep middle in coverage. He has the tools and length to be a free safety or even an outside corner, which would give him a shot to break into the Chiefs defense in some capacity. His ball production was lacking at Michigan State, and despite his reputation as contact averse he did record 169 tackles over the last two seasons. If he was able to grow into a part-time role as an over the top safety, it would allow Kansas City to utilize Berry in an even more varied role.