Chiefs add TCU tackle Lucas Niang with third-round pick in NFL draft

NFL Draft
Picture of Lucas Niang playing for TCU

Lucas Niang (Photo courtesy TCU Athletics Communications)

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Chiefs rounded out the second night of the NFL draft with a boost to their offensive line.

With the 96th pick, the Chiefs selected TCU tackle Lucas Niang in the third round.

At 6-foot-6 and 315 pounds, this mammoth tackle was a second-team All-Big 12 pick in 2018 and started all 13 games for the Horned Frogs that season. But he only started seven games in his senior season after he had to have hip surgery.

Still, Niang is a developmental player that the Chiefs believe could play just about anywhere along the offensive line.

“I just been waiting honestly the last two days for them to call me. I thought that was where I was going to end up,” Niang said. “The anticipation was wild, thinking I was going to end up there and not knowing.”

RELATED: ‘He picked you’: Chiefs asked Patrick Mahomes who we wanted, he said Clyde Edwards-Helaire

The Chiefs used their first-round No. 32 pick to select Louisiana State running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire on Thursday night.

The 5-foot-7 junior ran just 215 times for 1,414 yards and 16 touchdowns while catching an astounding 55 passes for 453 yards and another score for the national champions last season.

RELATED: Chiefs select LSU running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire with 32nd pick in NFL draft

Edwards-Helaire showed up when it mattered most, too, running 16 times for 110 yards in LSU’s victory over Clemson in the title game.

For their second-round pick, the Chiefs took a gamble on a player with off-field issues.

With the 63rd pick, the Chiefs selected Mississippi State linebacker Willie Gay Jr. to plug one of their biggest holes on defense. They have a starting spot available after losing Reggie Ragland to free agency.

Gay is considered one of the best athletes among linebackers in the draft, and his ability to play sideline-to-sideline while also dropping into coverage is perfect for coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s system.

RELATED: Chiefs gamble on Willie Gay Jr., Miss St. linebacker, with 63rd pick in NFL draft

The pick comes with a certain amount of risk, though.

Gay was suspended eight games by the NCAA as part of an academic fraud investigation that swept up 10 players total and led to severe sanctions for the program.

He also was ejected from the Egg Bowl against Ole Miss in 2018 after two he was given two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties, and he was the teammate that allegedly hurt Mississippi State quarterback Garrett Shrader in a practice fight leading up to last season’s Music City Bowl.

“We did our homework on everything,” Reid said. “We felt very comfortable taking him at that spot, and it also helps to have the people in the locker room we have with Tyrann (Mathieu) and Frank (Clark). They’ll take him under their wing. That whole linebacking room is a tight group. They’ll take him in and make sure he’s in the right hands.”

The biggest surprise wasn’t that the Chiefs picked any of those guys but that they didn’t target a cornerback.

The Chiefs came into the draft in the most enviable of positions: They were able to retain most of their own free agents, ensuring 20 of 22 starters from their title team would be back.

But they still have holes in the defensive backfield after losing Kendall Fuller and Morris Claiborne to free agency, and high-end targets such as Louisiana Tech’s Amik Robertson and Virginia’s Bryce Hall were still on the board.

“I think we stick to working on our team and our roster,” Veach said, “and I think having an opportunity to win a Super Bowl, I don’t think we’re competing against any one team. We’re trying to find players that come in and play right away.”

Pending any upcoming trades on Saturday, the Chiefs have two more picks: No. 138 in Round 4, and No. 177 in Round 5.

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