Todd McShay and Mel Kiper are the primary analysts for the 2012 NFL Draft for ESPN, and mock drafts from each typically get longer as the draft moves closer. Todd McShay has now come out with a two-round mock and he has the Chiefs settling some perceived issues of depth and competition when they grab Luke Kuechly at inside linebacker in the first round and Kevin Zeitler at guard in the second.
About Kuechly, McShay writes, “With Poe off the board, Kuechly addresses another big hole on defense and would team with Derrick Johnson to give the Chiefs range and playmaking ability inside. Kuechly has elite instincts and intelligence, and he proved at the combine that he is more athletic than many thought.”
Kuechly would be a great pick for the Chiefs since they made a nice splash at outside linebacker in the third round last year with Justin Houston. He took a bit of time to adjust to the pro level from Georgia, but Houston ended up with 5.5 sacks in the team’s last five games. Paired along with Houston and Pro Bowlers Derrick Johnson and Tamba Hali, Kuechly could do some great things.
As for Zeitler, he would likely come to training camp as the primary back-up on the depth charter for now like Rodney Hudson did last season until he’s ready for the starting nod. But Wisconsin linemen are well-coached and Zeitler could supplant Ryan Lilja early if he impresses.
In total, the Chiefs offensive line was a weakness last season and the additions of free agent Eric Winston and Zeitler along the front would definitely add some much needed depth and talent. At linebacker, the Chiefs would have one of the best starting units in the NFL.