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ESPN's Mel Kiper has Chiefs taking Jaelen Strong in first round

By TEREZ A. PAYLOR

The Kansas City Star

ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. released his fourth mock draft of the year on Thursday, and for the fourth straight time, he has the Chiefs selecting a receiver in the first round.

Here's what Kiper wrote about his pick for the Chiefs, Arizona State receiver Jaelen Strong:

“Another one that remains the same from version 3.0. The departure of Dwayne Bowe isn't really much of one in terms of production, but the Chiefs still need a talent upgrade at wide receiver and a player who can win battles on downfield throws. At slightly under 6-foot-3, Strong also has a 42-inch vertical, a number that shows up on tape as he wins on balls in the air. Strong also has underrated speed and will run by cornerbacks who don't respect it. I don't know if a true down-the-field threat is going to make Alex Smith a down-the-field thrower, but Strong at least creates more of an option in the passing game.”

Kiper has four other receivers going ahead of Strong, with Alabama's Amari Cooper going to Oakland at No. 4, West Virginia's Kevin White going to Chicago at No. 7, Central Florida's Breshad Perriman going to the Rams at No. 10 and Louisville's DeVante Parker going to Cleveland at No. 12.

This marks the second straight mock that Kiper has projected Strong to the Chiefs. In his first mock draft, he projected Oklahoma receiver Dorial Green-Beckham to them. In his second mock, he projected Ohio State receiver Devin Smith to them.

To reach Terez A. Paylor, call 816-234-4489 or send email to tpaylor@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter at @TerezPaylor.

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