KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Chiefs selected Ole Miss defensive end Breeland Speaks after trading up to the 46th pick Friday night, ending their long wait to improve their defense in the second round of the NFL draft.
The Chiefs traded up once again for the 75th pick and selected Florida State’s defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi.
With the 100th pick in the third round NFL Draft, the Chiefs selected linebacker Dorian O’Daniel from Clemson.
The Chiefs did not have a first-round pick after trading it away last season to select quarterback Patrick Mahomes II. So that meant new general manager Brett Veach had to watch everybody else, including their AFC West rivals, fill their holes before the Chiefs could do the same.
The Chiefs struggled to pressure the quarterback and stop the run last year, ranking toward the bottom of the league in both categories. Speaks played across the defensive line at Ole Miss, and that versatility should come in handy as the Chiefs try to solve both of those issues.
Kansas City traded the 54th and 78th picks to the Cincinnati Bengals to move up eight spots and grab the second-team All-SEC defensive lineman. The Chiefs also got the 100th overall pick in the deal.
In the trade for Nnadi, the Chiefs got the 75th pick from Baltimore, and the Ravens got the 86th and 122nd picks in exchange.
Speaks started twice at defensive tackle as a freshman, then became a regular for the Rebels as a sophomore. He appeared in all 12 games last season, starting at defensive tackle and finishing the season at defensive end, and piled up 67 tackles and seven sacks.
The Chiefs signed Xavier Williams in free agency to address the hole in their defensive line, but they were hoping to add additional depth — and ideally somebody who could help pressure the quarterback — alongside standout Chris Jones and veterans Allen Bailey, Jarvis Jenkins and Rakeem Nunez-Roches.
They ultimately decided that Speaks was a more useful choice than cornerback, their other glaring need, especially after Iowa’s Josh Jackson went one pick earlier to the Green Bay Packers.