NFL Draft News & Analysis

Kansas City Chiefs 7-round mock draft: Ladd McConkey provides more help for Patrick Mahomes

2T5MYTP ATHENS, GA - NOVEMBER 04: Georgia Bulldogs Wide Receiver Ladd McConkey (84) defends as Missouri Tigers Linebacker Ty'Ron Hopper (8) defends during the college football game between the Missouri Tigers and the Georgia Bulldogs on November 04, 2023, at Sanford Stadium in Athens, GA. (Photo by Jeffrey Vest/Icon Sportswire) (Icon Sportswire via AP Images)

• More receiving help for Patrick Mahomes: Ladd McConkey is a highly nuanced receiver who has the athletic ability and football intelligence to be a difference-maker in the slot at the NFL level.

• The Chiefs opt for defense in Round 2: Kentucky cornerback Andru Phillips brings a physical brand of play to the position, and that lends itself well to press coverage, where he is most confident.

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As the 2024 NFL Draft nears, our seven-round team mock draft series continues with the Kansas City Chiefs.

Round 1, Pick 32: WR Ladd McConkey, Georgia

A three-star recruit with plenty of athletic versatility, McConkey played quarterback, running back, defensive back, punter and return specialist in high school. From his Georgia tape, McConkey is a highly nuanced receiver who has the athletic ability and football intelligence to be a difference-maker in the slot at the NFL level. His footwork and release variation give him the advantage against press coverage in the slot or on the outside. He also has good enough long speed to remain a threat vertically. He's on the smaller side, but that does not curb his willingness to be an impact blocker.

Round 2, Pick 64: CB Andru Phillips, Kentucky

Phillips did not gain much starting experience from his four years at Kentucky. He played in every game in 2022 but was a rotational player in the slot and on the outside. In 2023, he was a consistent starter at outside cornerback. He brings a physical brand of play to the position, and that lends itself well to press coverage, where he is most confident. He is a strong run defender from the slot and can set the edge, stop screens and make tackles. Phillips’ deficiencies are on display in off-coverage. His lack of starting experience shows in his spacing and timing for contact. He also must improve the fluidity and precision in his hip turns.

Round 3, Pick 95: T Dominick Puni, Kansas

Puni was a no-star recruit and played at Central Missouri for four seasons before transferring to Kansas in 2022, where he played left guard and left tackle. In his first season with the Jayhawks (left guard), Puni displayed bad posture and poor pad level. That made him susceptible to rushers and didn't allow him to really maintain blocks. His posture was better in 2023 (left tackle), and although he was still standing taller than preferred, he was conscious of leverage and dropped his pads more before contact. He also showed a lot more power in 2023, disrupting and displacing defenders. His power best projects to guard.

Round 4, Pick 131: DI Leonard Taylor III, Miami (FL)

Taylor is built like a super-sized linebacker in the middle, at 6-foot-4 and 305 pounds. His best pass-rush moves come from a good first step and violent hands. However, his strike placement is inconsistent. When he doesn't win by shooting a gap or with a good first step, he can struggle to disengage from blocks. He also has a bad tendency to pop out of his stance and get outleveraged. Taylor is a strong player in run defense, but his lack of consistent leverage allows him to be controlled too easily. Though he is explosive on some reps, he is not necessarily twitched-up when it comes to change of direction, block shedding and pursuit.

Round 5, Pick 159: RB Jaden Shirden, Monmouth

Shirden went from a no-star recruit to an impact player at Monmouth. He led the FCS in rushing in two consecutive seasons in 2022 and 2023 with over 3,200 yards and 23 touchdowns. Shirden is a high-speed playmaker who can process things quickly and stay one step ahead of defenders to make them miss in open space. He has good long speed and burst and can even provide some decent leg drive despite being only 187 pounds. He is unreliable in third-down back situations as both a receiver and pass protector. He can read zone-blocking schemes well, but man/gap concepts are not as natural to him.

Round 5, Pick 173: T KT Leveston, Kansas State

Leveston was a two-year starter at left tackle at Kansas State, but his best NFL position is on the inside. That's not due to lack of length, as he has adequate weight and length for the guard position. His experience at tackle also gives him a more comfortable baseline for pass sets at guard. He is quite the mauler in the run game, and his frame allows him to generate a ton of power at contact. He is also a fighter when he gets latches onto defenders. His hands are his biggest weakness as a player right now. His hands are too low, which exposes his chest and makes him late to punch. His low hands also cause his hand placement to be too wide.

Round 7, Pick 221: WR Casey Washington, Illinois

Washington closed out his college career with a terrific 218-yard performance against Northwestern. Although his production wasn't consistent throughout his time in college, he did show a safe pair of hands, dropping just three of his 83 catchable passes over the past two seasons.

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