When it came to making a pick for the Kansas City Chiefs in the first round of ESPN NFL Nation’s mock draft, I felt a little like a man without a country. The top two safeties? Gone. The top two cornerbacks? Gone? The top five wide receivers? Gone.
So picking a player at a position of need for the Chiefs would have meant forcing a pick and that would violate one of my two rules for the Chiefs in this year’s draft. The other was not to trade up. Doing so in a draft without a second-round pick meant this would either be, in effect, a one-player draft for the Chiefs or they would have damaged a future draft. Not going to do either one.
That left either a trading down or selecting the best available player. I had what I would call significant discussions with three teams, the most serious of which was San Francisco. But my 49ers colleague, Bill Williamson, wouldn’t relinquish his first-round pick, No. 30 overall. He did offer two second-round picks, Nos. 56 and 61. But I wasn’t going to trade out of the first round for that, so it was time to make my pick.
Instead, I settled on Minnesota defensive lineman Ra'Shede Hageman and after some reflection, this doesn’t feel like a consolation prize to me and I would be surprised if the Chiefs felt that way if they wind up making the same pick.
Hageman is big (6-foot-6 and 310 pounds) and has uncommon athleticism and skill for a player of his size. He’s a good fit for the Chiefs’ defensive system, though he doesn’t fill an immediate need. The Chiefs have Mike DeVito, Vance Walker and Allen Bailey0 at his spot.
Hageman might take some time to develop into his full potential but the Chiefs can wait. His potential makes him worth the wait. He could become the best interior pass-rusher in this draft and if that happens, the Chiefs got themselves a bargain.