Chiefs Draft Grades
With Patrick Mahomes at the helm, the Chiefs project as one of the NFL’s premier teams for years to come. However, the departure of Tyreek Hill this offseason marked the first of a number of difficult decisions facing Kansas City as veterans grow older and younger contributors near their second contract. With the additional picks acquired from the Hill deal, the 2022 draft became even more important. Were the Chiefs able to fill positions of need and retool their roster? Or will they regret letting key contributors go? Without further ado, let’s dive in to Kansas City’s 2022 Draft Grade.
21st Overall Selection (RD1-21) Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington
Many fans felt the Chiefs needed to select a wide receiver with one of their two first round picks. However, without a clear replacement for a player of Hill’s caliber on the board, it made sense for the Chiefs to attack their defensive needs. After trading up with the New England Patriots, Kansas City made their first selection of the event, drafting Washington defensive back Trent McDuffie.
McDuffie is a physical, well-rounded corner with the tools to excel in either man or zone coverage. Though he lacks the size of a prototypical shutdown corner, he more than makes up for it with elite athleticism, impressive football IQ, and consistent footwork. He will be able to contribute immediately for Kansas City’s defense, forming an impressive young tandem with L’Jarius Sneed.
30th Overall Selection (RD1-30) George Karlaftis, EDGE, Purdue
With their second first round selection, the Chiefs again chose to forgo their need at wide receiver and draft another impact defender. George Karlaftis was one of the most productive edge rushers in the Big Ten this past season, leading many to believe he would be selected earlier in the first round. After falling to the tail end of Day 1, Karlaftis provides immense value for a Chiefs’ team in need of additional pressure on the edge. He already plays with the technique and demeanor necessary to contribute immediately and should provide the Chiefs with a key foundational piece at one of the sport’s most important positions.
54th Overall Selection (RD2-22) Skyy Moore, WR, Western Michigan
After finding two immediate contributors on Day 1, the Chiefs continued their trend of impact selections on Friday. With the 54th overall pick, the Chiefs finally addressed their need at wide reciever, selecting wide receiver Skyy Moore. Moore was a productive receiver in all three seasons at Western Michigan, routinely showcasing the technique and footwork necessary to thrive in the slot at the NFL level. Though he isn’t an incredible athlete or an elite separator, he offers a high-floor with the ability to immediately contribute and provide Patrick Mahomes with an exciting weapon on the interior. Similar to Karlaftis, he fell further than most pundits had projected and therefore provided even more value at this spot.
62nd Overall Selection (RD2-30) Bryan Cook, S, Cincinnati
Shoring up their defensive backfield seemed to be a significant priority for Kansas City’s decision makers. After their selection of Trent McDuffie, the Chiefs turned their attention to the safety. Bryan Cook is a versatile player who shows the physicality and toughness to succeed in an “enforcer” role. He is a willing defender in run support, who also holds the experience and awareness to contribute in coverage. Though there are questions surrounding his overall quickness and long speed, he is a solid tackler who can contribute immediately towards the line of scrimmage. I like his overall fit in Kansas City, but believe they may have taken him slightly early.
103rd Overall Selection (RD3-39) Leo Chenal, LB, Wisconsin
Leo Chenal was one of my favorite linebackers in this year’s class. Chenal is strong at the point of attack and will provide value in run support as an inside linebacker at the next level. He has prototypical size and uses his physicality well to cause disruption in the interior. At the next level he will likely serve as a situational contributor, as he learns to develop better recognition and awareness for the position. Concerns in coverage may limit his long-term potential, but as a late-third round pick I believe he provides incredible value for a team with a clear hole on the interior. Personally, I consider this one of the steals of the draft.
135th Overall Selection (RD4-30) Joshua Williams, CB, Fayetteville State
Kansas City continued to address the backend of their defense with their first selection on Day 3. Joshua Williams was one of my favorite small-school products in this year’s class. He has incredible size and athleticism for the cornerback position, standing at 6’3” and 195 pounds. He uses his short area quickness and overall athleticism to routinely make plays at the catch point and displays adequate instincts and tackling for the position. At his size, he can suffer occasionally from a lack of flexibility and balance. But, if he can adjust to a much higher level of competition and continue to improve his technique, Williams could quickly became a valuable piece for Kansas City’s defense.
145th Overall Selection (RD5-2) Darian Kinnard, OL, Kentucky
Protecting Patrick Mahomes will continue to be a priority for Kansas City as long as he is playing. The selection of Darian Kinnard at 145th overall will accomplish just that. Despite playing right tackle for much of his collegiate career, Kinnard projects as a guard at the next level. His impressive frame combined with an aggressive, physical demeanor allows him to overpower defenders. His ability to anchor with balance allows him to withstand pass rushers and plug holes on the interior. Ultimately, Kinnard was considered by many to be a top 100 prospect. Finding someone with his versatility and size, despite concerns surrounding his footwork and hand usage, at this point in the draft can be considered nothing less than a steal.
243rd Overall Selection (RD7-22), Jaylen Watson, CB, Washington State
Similar to their earlier Day 3 selection of Williams, Watson’s stature is his most appealing trait as an NFL prospect. However, he lacks the instincts and athleticism that will allow Williams to contribute immediately at the next level. There are some things to like though. He plays with good physicality at the line of scrimmage and has steadily improved with increased playing time. As a former FCS transfer, he also displayed the determination necessary to fight for a spot in Kansas City whether it be on special teams or the practice squad.
251st Overall Selection (RD7-30) Isaih Pacheco, RB, Rutgers
Although running back likely wasn’t a pressing need for Kansas City entering the 2022 draft, I believe seventh round selection Isaih Pacheco could prove them with valuable depth moving forward. His motor and production immediately stand out on film. He displays good athleticism out of the backfield with the quickness and toughness to secure extra yardage. Currently, he lacks the patience and precision to truly contribute in a significant role, but with refinement as a blocker and receiver he could serve as an intriguing depth option for the Chiefs offense.
259th Overall Selection (RD7-38) Nazeeh Johnson, S, Marshall
With their third seventh round pick, and final selection overall, the Kansas City Chiefs selected Nazeeh Johnson. At Marshall, Johnson regularly displayed explosiveness on the backend. He is a quick, athletic safety with the ability to read and react to the point of attack. On the other hand, he lacks the refined technique, positioning, and footwork desired in an NFL safety. As one of five selections in the defensive backfield, he may struggle to find a home in Kansas City. Nevertheless, his enticing traits will provide him every opportunity to earn a spot.
Chiefs Draft Grade Overall: A+
Overall, the Chiefs put together one of my favorite classes from the 2022 NFL Draft. McDuffie and Karlaftis provide two immediate impact players for a Kansas City defense in desperate need of playmakers. Similarly, selections such as Chenal and Kinnard offer immense value for their selections, and could prove to be two of the biggest sleepers in this year’s class. Although, the loss of Tyreek Hill will continue to sting. The selections of Moore and Pacheco will add to a stable of weapons that still rivals those of other contenders. In sum, Kansas City knocked this draft out of the park. Expect them to be right back in the mix for the AFC’s top seed this year and beyond.
Chiefs Draft Grade Analyst- Ryan Kalukin.