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NFL Draft 2012: Chiefs In Prime Position For Trade Back If Ryan Tannehill Falls

The Kansas City Chiefs could themselves be interested if Ryan Tannehill falls to them at No. 11. Widely considered the third best quarterback in the draft, several teams have checked in on the Texas A&M signal caller at some point or another, including the Chiefs. But the Chiefs could also reap the rewards of Tannehill’s presence at that spot by trading back, according to Peter King. That’s the move that Scott Pioli would likely make instead.

The Chiefs personally worked out Tannehill and he also reportedly visited Kansas City. There’s been some work done there, in other words, to know the prospect well enough to take him or leave him. The signs out of KC point to nothing in particular, as always, so it’s hard to tell what they’ll do. But NFL Draft analysts believe KC will leave him alone, and could trade the pick away for a team that does like Tannehill enough to move up.

The No. 11 position is perfect for trading up since it would not cost as much as a top spot like No. 3 with the Minnesota Vikings or No. 7 with the Jacksonville Jaguars to leap potential landing spots for Tannehill like the Cleveland Browns or Miami Dolphins. It’s that last spot that could prohibit the Chiefs from getting the chance to work with Tannehill one way or another.

Peter King reported on the weekend rumor that Dolphins owner Stephen Ross is pushing his front office to take the quarterback. He writes:

Sunday night, respected Dolphins beat writer Armando Salguero reported the Ross item is not true and said a highly placed club source told him, animatedly, that Ross hasn’t told anyone who to draft. And this morning, I got a call from someone saying Florio was right on; Ross wants the quarterback. So what will happen here? I don’t know. But I do think it’s less of a lock Tannehill goes no lower than eight than it was a couple of weeks ago. If Miami passes on him at eight, I expect him to go either to a trade-up team with Kansas City at 11 or to Seattle at 12.

The Chiefs would certainly try to use that leverage in the same way they did last year when the Browns wanted to trade up to No. 21, the Chiefs original draft position in the 2011 NFL Draft, to secure nose tackle Phil Taylor. The Chiefs got the No. 27 choice in the draft while also gaining an early third round choice. In the end, they took Justin Houston and Jon Baldwin in exchange for Phil Taylor essentially.

To do so in this draft would also be helpful because the Chiefs could use an impact rusher, linebacker, guard, safety or even quarterback prospect. If they moved back a bit more, Brandon Weeden could be a first round target to secure a quarterback or Mark Barron would also be interesting. David DeCastro could fall a bit more, as could Luke Kuechly. With so many interesting options in play, picking up an extra pick or two would make for the best value overall.

Then again, if the Chiefs are enamored with Tannehill and not telling anyone, they could surprise and just walk away with the player they want the most. Given last year’s feeding frenzy in the first round with the Jags trade up to get Blaine Gabbert, the Vikings reach for Christian Ponder, and the Titans pick of Jake Locker, it’s hard to imagine Tannehill slipping that far. But NFL Draft history shows us that it’s possible he drops farther than anyone imagines. That’s the beauty of the drama that the NFL Draft holds.