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2012 NFL Mock Draft: Chiefs Avoid High-Risk Prospects Like Ryan Tannehill, Dontari Poe For Luke Kuechly

The Kansas City Chiefs will have a major decision to make in the 2012 NFL Draft. Should they take a high-risk, high-reward selection that could put the franchise over the top or continue the long, steady ascent they’ve been focused on since the beginning of Scott Pioli’s tenure? The latest mock from Sports Illustrated’s Don Banks says the Chiefs will continue what they started with their first selection in the draft.

Banks has the Chiefs selecting Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly, the leading tackler in college football last season. It’s a pick that instantly makes the Chiefs linebacking corps one of the best in the NFL, and gives the Chiefs one of the safest, well-rounded picks in the draft.

Banks writes, “If the Chiefs aren’t upwardly mobile in pursuit of quarterback Ryan Tannehill (see No. 7 Jacksonville), upgrading at inside linebacker with Kuechly would be a well-received pick. Again, I’m dropping boom-bust DT prospect Dontari Poe past a team that was thought be interested in him at one point this scouting season. Stanford guard David DeCastro is another sound option.”

Tannehill would be the most interesting one way or the other, for certain, but the price to move up for a quarterback that could not work out is likely too high for a team with obvious upgrades to make. Meanwhile, Poe is simply a hot Combine name that’s falling at the wrong time. It’s unknown if the Chiefs were ever that high on him.

Instead, Kuechly becomes the pick to work with Tamba Hali, Derrick Johnson and Justin Houston. With the return of Eric Berry from injury and other developments and upgrades, this becomes an elite-level defense in a hurry under Romeo Crennel in 2012.

For more on the Kansas City Chiefs, be sure to check out Arrowhead Pride.