With the annual NFL Draft less than three weeks away, this is the time of year when draft analysts struggle to build a consensus.
During a conference call with reporters on Monday, NFL Network analysts Charles Davis and Daniel Jeremiah agreed on two things. First, the Chiefs’ need to take a receiver in the first round has been greatly reduced by the signing of Jeremy Maclin. And second, offensive line might be the way they go instead.
“I know they brought over Jeremy Maclin in a receiver spot and I think they probably could get by with waiting (on receiver),” Jeremiah said. “Because of the depth in this draft class, if they want to continue to supplement the depth at that position, they could do so outside the first round.”
“I think the pressure has been tamped down on having to take a receiver early because of bringing in Maclin, and Daniel noted it’s a receiver-rich draft, so they can always address that later on,” Davis said.
There are a number of receivers expected to go in the second round or later who could be intriguing fits for the Chiefs, including Phillip Dorsett of Miami (Fla.), Tyler Lockett of Kansas State, Devin Smith of Ohio State and Nelson Agholor of Southern California.
That’s why Jeremiah believes another area of need, offensive line, could demand the Chiefs’ attention in the first round.
“I just know, having been around Andy Reid, how much he loves offensive linemen and defensive linemen, and that could be an area I could see him go,” said Jeremiah, who worked as a scout for the Eagles during Reid’s tenure there.
“And kind of the wild-card player there could be Cedric Ogbuehi, just because you talk about somebody that got hurt at the end of the year with his ACL, but coming into the season, I think most teams would probably have had him as the No. 1 tackle entering into this fall.”
Ogbuehi, who checks in at 6 feet 5 and 306 pounds, boasts the kind of elite arm length — nearly 36 inches — that helps offensive linemen keep pass rushers off their body. He is also a good athlete with quick feet.
However, he allowed seven sacks in 2014 at left tackle for Texas A&M — he played on the right side the previous year — and tore his ACL in a bowl game against West Virginia. He did not work out at the combine or his pro day as he rehabbed from the injury.
“He switched from right tackle over to left this year, did not play as well at Texas A&M and then he got hurt,” Jeremiah said. “But he’s somebody (where) you talk about athletic ability and all that, he’s got it in spades, and I wouldn’t be shocked at all if Andy Reid continued to go in the trenches with something he’s known for.”
Davis said Ogbuehi, who is widely projected to be a second-round pick, has rare physical gifts — so much so that he overshadowed two offensive-tackle teammates who were top-10 picks in Luke Joeckel and Jake Matthews early in their Texas A&M careers.
“I remember covering Texas A&M when Ogbuehi got to campus and Mike Sherman was still the coach there,” Davis said. “And remember, they had Joeckel there, they had Jake Matthews there, those guys were playing together as youngsters right away, and all the coaches talked about was Cedric Ogbuehi and what he was going to be.
“He had some dings last year and they kept moving him around — some games you found him at left tackle, some games you found him at right tackle — I think he had back, shoulder, all sorts of stuff.”
Davis also threw another name out there at a position — center — the Chiefs might be looking to address after the loss of Rodney Hudson to free agency.
“But also, center is going to be possibility for the Chiefs early, too,” Davis said. “If you take a look at Cam Erving, coming out of Florida State, he’s one of the guys you can plug right into that spot with Rodney Hudson being gone.”
Erving, who is 6 feet 5 and 313 pounds, moved from left tackle to center during the middle of last season and saw his draft stock improve with an excellent performance down the stretch.
The Chiefs also have 2013 sixth-round pick Eric Kush waiting in the wings at center.