Wednesday, August 17, 2022
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Chiefs address defensive needs and nail the draft

Wow. I was so wrong about my mock draft, but in all the right ways. 

The 2022 NFL Draft ended this past Saturday with the Kansas City Chiefs changing the lives of ten college athletes. After looking over the numerous selections, here are my quick thoughts on who the Chiefs picked. 

Round 1, No. 21 (trade with the Patriots) – Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington

The Kansas City Chiefs traded the 29th, 94th and the 121st overall picks to the New England Patriots to move up eight spots and select Washington Huskies cornerback Trent McDuffie. 

To me, McDuffie’s fall past the 20th pick was fascinating. Many draft gurus believed that he would go to the top-15. While his arm length is not ideal, his physicality and football IQ makes him an excellent selection. He also can contribute as a run defender. 

As a sophomore, he had 49 total tackles with 4.5 tackles for a loss. His performance has people comparing him to Green Bay Packers star corner Jaire Alexander. If McDuffie blossoms into that kind of player, the Chiefs will have a shutdown secondary for many years. 

Grade: A-

Round 2, No. 30 – George Karlaftis, EDGE, Purdue

It’s been a while, but the Chiefs found a solid edge rusher near the end of the first round. 

I am incredibly happy that teams overlooked Karlaftis. He is a bull-rushing defensive end who is relentless and can bully tackles who are at an NFL level. As a junior at Purdue, he notched 4.5 sacks and 10 tackles for a loss. This is while the man was double-teamed, even tripled teamed. 

In the NFL, teams will focus their attention on star defensive tackle Chris Jones, allowing for Karlaftis to produce at a higher level. Of course, the only concern here would be his ability to bend on the outside. But if Kansas City brings in a guy like Melvin Ingram, the Greek Freak can grow into one of the best defensive ends for Kansas City in years.

Grade: A

Round 2, No. 54 (trade down with the Patriots) – Skyy Moore, WR, Western Michigan

General manager Brett Veach traded down for the first time, sending the 50th pick to the Patriots in exchange for the 54th and 158th pick. Even though George Pickens was there for the taking, Veach waited and found an underrated pass catcher in Skyy Moore. 

During his time with the Broncos, Moore caught 171 passes for 2,482 yards and averaged 14.5 yards per catch. If he were just a bit taller (measured around 5’9” and 5’10”), Moore would be one of the best receivers in this draft class. However, his mammoth-sized hands and the quick release will make him a reliable target for Patrick Mahomes on short and medium routes. His short-burst speed and ball tracking will also allow for some elite plays down the field. 

Depending on how the Chiefs feel about receiver Mecole Hardman and Juju Smith-Schuster, Moore could play either on the outside or play the slot. Either way, the Chiefs constructed one of the deepest receiver rooms in recent memory by selecting the Western Michigan wideout. 

Grade: A

Round 2, No. 62 – Bryan Cook, S, Cincinnati

The Chiefs continue to bulk up the secondary by selecting safety Bryan Cook. Talk about a thumper.

Cook adds a physical and violent play to his game that Kansas City desperately needed last season. He played near the line-of-scrimmage while also lining up as a corner with the Bearcats. During his senior year, Cook deflected nine passes, caught two interceptions, and had 96 tackles (four tackles for a loss). He can sniff out screen passes, act as a brick wall against the run, and decently cover wide receivers and tight ends. 

To me, he can easily play the role Daniel Sorenson once played but a million times better. I preferred Travis Jones or Nik Bonitto at this spot, though. They both would be better depth pieces for the defensive line. Either way, Cook should be a nice starter for Kansas City. 

Grade: B+

Round 3, No. 103 – Leo Chenal, LB, Wisconsin

The Chiefs made one of the best selections of the night in linebacker Leo Chanel. 

Chanel is the best blitzing linebacker in this NFL draft, proven by his eight sacks in 2021. He is a force coming down the middle, with his pure speed and strength dominating guards and centers. Statistically, the former Badger was a steel curtain, with 18.5 tackles for a loss his junior year. On top of that, Chenal is one of the most athletic linebackers since 1987

While his coverage abilities are not spectacular, Kansas City can place him in the SAM position. He can thrive with Nick Bolton and Willie Gay while learning how to cover guys at an NFL level. 

I freakin’ love this pick. I cannot wait to see Mr. Death Row destroy running backs in the red and gold. 

Grade: A+

Round 4, No. 135 Joshua Williams, CB, Fayetteville State

I like that Kansas City double-dipped in the cornerback position, especially by taking the first HBCU player since 2020 in cornerback Joshua Williams.

While McDuffie has shorter arms, Williams provides some ultimate length that former corner Chavarious Ward provided for the team. He will have to adjust to the NFL level, which should not be an issue. 

I had this kid going in the bottom of the third round. Veach made a high-value selection that addresses one of the thinnest positions within the organization. I love this pick.

Grade: A+

Round 5, No. 145 – Darian Kinnard, OT/G, Kentucky

Brett Veach continued the hits with a potential starter in offensive tackle Darian Kinnard. 

Imagine if Trey Smith played offensive tackle. That is the perfect way to describe Kinnard. He is a solid run blocker who must work on his pass protection if he wants to start with the Chiefs. Should he develop quickly before the start of the season, Kinnard is another steal for Veach and Co. 

Grade: A+

Round 7, No. 243 – Jaylen Watson, CB, Washington State

Kansas City jumped into the cornerback pool and grabbed a corner I was high on in Jaylen Watson. What a pick. 

He will probably not start for a couple of years, and he is the biggest project selection the Chiefs made in this draft. However, his long arms and nimble feet are too good to pass on. If he can learn from his peers, he should be a contributor to this now-deep Chiefs’ defense.

Grade: A

Round 7, No. 251 – Isaih Pacecho, RB, Rutgers

Isaih Pacheco will not beat out Ronald Jones or Clyde Edwards-Helaire for a starting job but should be a speedy depth piece. He can also return punts and kicks for Dave Toub.

Grade: C+

Round 7, No. 259 – Nazeeh Johnson, S, Marshall

Nazeeh Johnson is a special teams player at best. He will not start for the Chiefs for many year but beefing up the secondary is not something I am against. 

Grade: C

Overall Thoughts

This is the draft Veach needed. He found a tremendous number of athletes who can start for the Chiefs starting week one. I love that this draft focused on defense and adding physical guys. The team needs those kinds of players to compete for a Super Bowl.

It will be a while until we figure out where these guys will play, but boy I am psyched for this upcoming season.

Final Grade: A

camtkb@umsystem.edu

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