Heading into the first round of the NFL Draft on Thursday night, the Chiefs had a few positions of need.
Cornerback. Defensive line. Receiver. Offensive line, specifically the guard position.
But instead of selecting a player, the Chiefs opted to do something that would help them better address all their needs:
They traded out of the first round.
The Chiefs traded their selection, No. 28 overall, and their seventh round pick (No. 249 overall) to San Francisco for the sixth pick in the second round (No. 37 overall), a fourth-round pick (No. 105 overall) and a sixth-round pick (No. 178 overall).
“I know everybody’s a little frustrated because you don’t get a first-round pick, but I think the draft is a three-day process,” said Chiefs general manager John Dorsey.
“We had some options to go up … but we feel like this is the best decision for us going forward.”
The move allows the Chiefs to essentially recoup the third-round pick they were forced to surrender when the NFL disciplined them for tampering before acquiring receiver Jeremy Maclin during free-agency in March 2015.
Dorsey, however, said the decision to trade down didn’t have anything to do with the loss of that third-round pick and added that they made the decision to trade down because two players — whom he declined to name — went before the Chiefs’ pick.
The Chiefs have numerous picks left in the draft, including a second (No. 59 overall), fourth (No. 126), two fifths (Nos. 162 and 165), a sixth (No. 203) and a seventh (No. 249).
Dorsey, however, does like the addition of a high fourth-round pick, adding that the success rate between a third-rounder and an early fourth-rounder is about the same.
“That’s a really good position to be in, because to me, that’s a sweet spot in fourth round,” Dorsey said.
The last time the Chiefs traded back in the first round, in 2011, they sent the 21st overall pick (which became defensive tackle Phil Taylor) to Cleveland for the No. 27 overall pick (which became receiver Jon Baldwin) and a third-rounder, which became linebacker Justin Houston.
Baldwin never lived up to his draft status, but Houston developed into one of the league’s best players.
Another trade involving the Chiefs’ first-round pick came in 2003, when they sent the 16th overall pick to Pittsburgh — which became future Pro Bowl safety Troy Polamalu — in exchange for the 27th pick (running back Larry Johnson) and the Steelers’ third-round pick, which became cornerback Julian Battle.
The Chiefs also got the Steelers’ sixth-round pick that year, which they dealt to the Jets.
At No. 28, the 49ers selected Stanford guard Joshua Garnett, a powerful run blocker who won the Outland Trophy as the nation’s best interior defensive lineman.
Before they traded out of the spot, the Chiefs saw a number of intriguing players at positions of need get taken ahead of them, including the four best receivers — Baylor’s Corey Coleman (No. 15 to the Browns), Notre Dame’s Will Fuller (No. 21 to the Texans), Texas Christian’s Josh Doctson (No. 22 to Washington) and Mississippi’s Laquon Treadwell (No. 23 to the Vikings).
Meanwhile, the top four corners — Florida State’s Jalen Ramsey (No. 5 to Jacksonville), Florida’s Vernon Hargreaves (No. 11 to Tampa Bay), Ohio State’s Eli Apple (No. 10 to the Giants) Houston’s William Jackson III (No. 24 to the Bengals) were all off the board, too.
Also, the Broncos jumped the Chiefs by moving up from No. 31 to No. 26 to select Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch, who would have been a nice developmental quarterback for Chiefs coach Andy Reid behind 32-year-old starter Alex Smith.
But Dorsey denied that Denver’s decision to trade up for Lynch influenced the Chiefs’ decision to move down.
“Not at all,” Dorsey said.
The Chiefs did have an interesting trio of defensive tackles to choose from before trading out, including Mississippi’s Robert Nkemdiche, Mississippi State’s Chris Jones and Louisiana Tech’s Vernon Butler.
Nkemdiche went No. 29 to the Cardinals, while the Panthers selected Butler at No. 30. Kenny Clark of UCLA, another top defensive tackle, went one pick ahead of the Chiefs’, to the Packers at No. 27.
The top players remaining on the board heading into Friday’s second round, according to ESPN, are Jones, UCLA linebacker Myles Jack — a projected top-five pick whose stock slipped due to concerns over a potentially degenerative knee condition — Ohio State safety Vonn Bell, Clemson defensive end Kevin Dodd, Boise State outside linebacker Kamalei Correa, Alabama defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson and Ohio State receiver Michael Thomas.
At the Chiefs’ positions of need, Virginia Tech cornerback Kendall Fuller, Florida defensive end Jonathan Bullard and K-State guard Cody Whitehair are also available.
Dorsey said that Jack is a very good player, and he’s surprised he’s still on the board. But he wouldn’t discuss Jack’s medical status.
“He’s not dropping because of his tape,” Dorsey said.
Chiefs’ remaining 2016 draft choices
Second round, No. 37 overall
Second round, No. 59 overall
Fourth round, No. 105 overall
Fourth round, No. 126 overall
Fifth round, No. 162 overall
Fifth round, No. 165 overall
Sixth round, No. 178 overall
Sixth round, No. 203 overall