Red Zone

ESPN’s Mel Kiper has Chiefs picking defensive lineman in latest mock draft

Alabama defensive lineman Jarran Reed.
Alabama defensive lineman Jarran Reed. The Associated Press

ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper released his third mock draft Tuesday, and he currently has the Chiefs opting for some help along the interior defensive line by selecting Alabama tackle Jarran Reed with the 28th overall pick.

“He played at Alabama in a very similar defense,” Kiper said. “He’s not a nose, so he could be a guy that beats you with quickness. He certainly can play as a five-technique. To me, he fits what they need with (Mike) DeVito and the free agents they have with (Jaye) Howard. That’s a need area.”

Reed, who checked in at 6 feet 3 and 307 pounds, is a respected run-stopper who plays with power. He finished the 2015 season with 56 tackles (4  1/2 for loss) with a sack. Reed’s draft profile on notes that he needs to improve his pass-rushing ability.

Whether the Chiefs need defensive-line help could come down to whether they manage to retain Jaye Howard, who is set to become a free agent at 3 p.m. Wednesday.

Kiper said he also thought about mocking a corner to the Chiefs, given the fact 2014 third-round pick Phillip Gaines is coming off a torn ACL and starter Sean Smith is set to be a free agent.

“They went corner last year (in the first round),” Kiper said, referring to Marcus Peters. “They could do it again.”

A few corners Kiper likes at that draft spot are Kendall Fuller of Virginia Tech and William Jackson III of Houston.

Kiper said he also considered a receiver, like Corey Coleman of Baylor, Josh Doctson of Texas Christian or Will Fuller of Notre Dame, for the Chiefs at No. 28.

“They’ve passed on a wide receiver the last three years,” Kiper said. “Will they look at a wide receiver this year? I think if Doctson or a Fuller were there … they’d have to look seriously at that.

“But I went with Reed in the late first round as a hole-filler who can play in that scheme and could come right in and be a major asset.”