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2011 NFL Mock Draft: Mel Kiper Sticks With Akeem Ayers To Chiefs

In his latest mock draft, ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper has the Kansas City Chiefs staying put at No. 21 with his last round projection of Akeem Ayers, outside linebacker from UCLA. Kiper's belief is that the Chiefs biggest need matching the talent available at the position comes at OLB, and certainly the case can be made that a young starter opposite Tamba Hali is prime among the need positions. Kiper comments:

Ayers surprised a lot of people with some mediocre workouts at the combine, given his reputation for athleticism, but he bounced back at his pro day. And as I've said before, the tape doesn't lie. This is a guy with the range of skills to help a team early. A good fit on the edge in the Chiefs' system, Ayers fills an obvious need at outside linebacker in the 3-4 and isn't just a pass-rusher. More in the Mike Vrabel mold, he can cover, rush and tackle well against the run.

After the recent legal issues with Mike Vrabel, it might be the perfect catalyst to turn the page from the storied veteran without any public backlash. But it seems the Chiefs were ready to address the position already, although the long-term deal with Andy Studebaker provides some relief already.

It should be noted the Chiefs have also been linked to outside linebackers and defensive tackles, two positions where prime players are still available at the same spot. Whether the candidate is Ayers or another rumored addition like Wisconsin tackle Gabe Carimi or Baylor DT Phil Taylor, it seems the Chiefs can't make a poor move in the first round.