Kansas City Chiefs Rookies Forecast

By Charlie Campbell – @draftcampbell

Solid Starter

Mitch Morse, G, Missouri – Round 2
I know sources from a number of teams had Morse in the running for their picks on the second day of the 2015 NFL Draft. He didn’t receive a lot of attention in the lead-up to the 2015 NFL Draft, but a lot of teams really liked him. They feel that the 6-foot-5, 305-pounder is a gritty blocker who has a nice mix of strength, athleticism, flexibility and intelligence. They felt that he would develop into a quality starter at the next level.

Morse was a starting tackle for Missouri. He was a reliable blocker for the Tigers, but NFL teams saw his future inside at guard. They think he will match up better there in terms of size and athleticism. Morse has short arms (32 1/4 inches), but with his experience at tackle, he should at least be a valuable backup on game days teams. Teams believe that Morse could end up being a starter at guard or center. Plans were to cross-train him at both positions and find the best eventual spot for him in the interior.

The Chiefs had a weak offensive line in 2014 and needed a flexible blocker like Morse. Center Rodney Hudson was lost in free agency, plus the guard position has been weak for Kansas City. Morse could compete for playing time with right guard Paul Fanaika and center Eric Kush. In time, Morse should be starting at one of those spots or replacing left guard Ben Grubbs in a few years. Morse has the skill set to be a solid starting guard or center in the NFL.

Most Likely To Bust

Chris Conley, WR, Georgia – Round 3
This was a tough choice because Conley has a lot of talent. That was put on display at the Combine as the 6-foot-2, 213-pounder blazed an extremely fast 40 time. I chose Conley as the most likely to bust among Kansas City’s early-round selections because he never really played up to his skill set while at Georgia.

Conley never caught 50 passes in a season, and even in 2013 when he had a quality quarterback in Aaron Murray, Conley didn’t have big production. That year, he had 45 receptions for 651 yards with four scores. Conley made 36 catches for 657 yards and eight touchdowns in 2014. In his defense, Georgia had a drop-off in quarterback play. Conley was a quality college receiver, but he never played like a dominant weapon with the size or speed mismatch that he appears to have.

The Chiefs need a secondary receiver to pair with Jeremy Maclin, so Conley will get an opportunity to compete for that role. While a starting spot looks available, Kansas City quarterback Alex Smith is not a prolific passing quarterback, and the Chiefs will certainly feature Maclin as their primary receiver with Jamaal Charles leading the ground attack. Like his career at Georgia, Conley may never be in a position to prove to be a top-flight receiver. As one scouting executive told me, sometimes teams fail players. There seems to be a few avenues that could lead to Conley being a bust.

Potential Boom Pick

Marcus Peters, CB, Washington – Round 1
Across the NFL, teams were in agreement that Peters was a top-25 talent; the only questions were whether he could put his off-the-field issues behind him. In speaking with teams that hosted Peters on pre-draft visits, they were skeptical that he had changed or learned from the incidents that led to him getting kicked off Washington’s team during his senior season. However, the Chiefs did their homework and felt comfortable enough with Peters to take him in the first-round of the 2015 NFL Draft with the 18th-overall pick.

As a Huskie, Peters was a man-cover corner who showed the ability to play press-man, off-man and zone coverage. He is beatable on some plays though and isn’t a true shutdown corner. However, the 6-foot, 197-pounder has the skill set to do it all and should become a good starting cornerback in the NFL – provided he can stay out of trouble. Peters has Pro Bowl potential and could be a boom pick for the Chiefs as long as he is focused on football and being a good teammate.

Future Depth Player

Steven Nelson, CB, Oregon State – Round 3
The Chiefs doubled up at the cornerback position when they took Nelson in the third round. At the point in the 2015 NFL Draft, Nelson was a quality value pick as he is a gritty corner who battles receivers aggresively. Nelson had an impressive week at the Senior Bowl following a good career at Oregon State. The 5-foot-10, 197-pounder probably won’t start for the Chiefs over the likes of Marcus Peters and Sean Smith, but Nelson could be a quality nickelback and is big enough to start on the outside if one of those players is injured. Nelson is a physical corner with the ability to cover, and he looks like he’ll at least be a solid backup for Kansas City.

Walt’s 2015 NFL Draft Grades:

18. Marcus Peters, CB, Washington: C+ Grade
Yikes, this could really backfire. Andy Reid visited Marcus Peters’ hometown during the draft preseason to do some undercover work on the talented cornerback. I guess he liked what he saw, as Reid is taking a big gamble on a player who quit on his team. Peters definitely has the talent, as he would’ve been a top-10 pick had he been clean off the field, but this is a big gamble in the top 20.

Follow @walterfootball for updates.

49. Mitch Morse, C/G, Missouri: C+ Grade
Mitch Morse is an athletic interior lineman who can play both center and guard. The Chiefs had to address the former position with Rodney Hudson gone. I think this is a bit too early for Morse, but I’m not so sure he would’ve been available for the Chiefs in the third round. Kansas City could’ve traded down, which would’ve salvaged this grade. However, Morse should end up being a decent player for the Chiefs.

76. Chris Conley, WR, Georgia: B- Grade
Chris Conley is one of the most athletic players in this class. He doesn’t know how to play football very well yet, but if he learns, he could emerge as a viable starting receiver. I don’t know why Kansas City felt the need to move up, though. The thinking is that they wanted to leap ahead of Cleveland for a wideout, but if a team is concerned that the Browns are going to draft a certain prospect, that player probably isn’t good to begin with.

98. Steve Nelson, CB, Oregon State: B Grade
Steve Nelson probably could have gone early in the third round without being deemed much of a reach, so the range definitely makes sense. Nelson also fills a need. Sure, Kansas City selected Marcus Peters in the first round, but Nelson will be able to play in the slot. If anything, he’ll provide decent value for a team that needs to find a way to beat Peyton Manning.

118. Ramik Wilson, ILB, Georgia: B Grade
Ramik Wilson isn’t a very good athlete, but he’s been productive at Georgia, so Andy Reid is hoping Wilson will continue to be so in his new home. Wilson will have to contribute early, as Kansas City doesn’t have much at the inside linebacker position.

172. D.J. Alexander, LB, Oregon State: B+ Grade
Another inside linebacker makes sense for the Chiefs, who need to shore up that position. D.J. Alexander is a top athlete who was productive at Oregon State. The concern with him is a neck problem that he needed surgery on. He should be able to become a solid contributor if he can stay healthy.

173. James O’Shaughnessy, TE, Illinois State: C+ Grade
James O’Shaughnessy was very productive at Illinois State, both in terms of a pass-catcher and blocker. Though level of competition is obviously an issue, he has upside as a solid athlete. The Chiefs needed another tight end, and while O’Shaughnessy was a slight reach, he does make sense at this juncture.

217. Rakeem Nunez-Roches, DT, Southern Miss: B- Grade
Rakeem Nunez-Roches provides some value at the very bottom of Round 6, as he would’ve been chosen earlier if he didn’t have injury concerns. However, I don’t think he’s a good fit for Kansas City’s 3-4 scheme.

233. Da’Ron Brown, WR, Northern Illinois: B- Grade
Da’Ron Brown was highly productive at Northern Illinois, but I never had him in my mock because he didn’t seem like an NFL talent to me. That said, he might have a chance to make Kansas City’s roster because of the lack of depth at receiver.

2015 NFL Draft Team Grade: C+ . Follow Walter @walterfootball for updates.

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