The 2022 NFL draft is upon us. I’m going to give a quick profile of some local prospects that have a shot to get drafted. I’m focusing on prospects from KU, K-State, and Missouri as these are the schools that most of Chiefs Kingdom is a fan of for college sports. I’ll even give a likelihood of the Chiefs drafting the prospect.
The highest-rated prospect from local schools is Tyler Badie. Badie is a 5′ 7″ 199 pound running back who played at Missouri and is originally from New Orleans, an area that has produced multiple NFL players. Badie is a speed back with great pass-catching ability. He rarely fumbled in college, only fumbling twice in 513 carries. However, he is undersized which causes him to struggle in short-yardage situations. The consensus appears to give him a 3rd or 4th grade. It is unlikely that the Chiefs will draft him as they already have a pretty crowded running back room, especially with the Chiefs signing Ronald Jones.
Akayleb Evans is a 6′ 2″ 198-pound cornerback who played at Missouri after transferring there from Tulsa. Davis is best suited for cover 2, cover 3, and quarters defensive schemes. He is a solid press coverage cornerback as well. He has enough speed to be able to cover downfield throws, which with the way the deep ball is evolving in the NFL is a great skill for a cornerback to have. He does, however, have an issue with staying healthy having missed 14 games in college due to injuries. He also has some issues with man coverage. Evans has a 3rd or 4th round grade. There is a decent chance the Chiefs draft him. Cornerback depth is a definite need. The Chiefs have 4 selections in the 3rd and 4th rounds, so there are plenty of chances to draft the McKinney, Texas native.
Skylar Thompson is the latest Kansas State quarterback prospect. The 6′ 2″ 220 pound Independence, Missouri native is an athletic quarterback. He can make throws on the move and has a decent arm. He also doesn’t take unnecessary chances. These descriptions may sound familiar to Chiefs fans. Sounds kind of like Alex Smith doesn’t it? Thompson has had issues staying healthy the last two seasons. He missed 7 of K-State’s 10 games in 2020 and he missed 3 of their games in 2021. His age is a bit of concern because he will be 25 years old by week 1. He has a habit of not exploring all of his passing options when he reaches the red zone. His anticipation for what his receivers will do can be improved as well. Thompson has a 7th round to undrafted free agent grade. It seems pretty unlikely the Chiefs will draft him, but if he goes undrafted it is possible he comes in as an undrafted free agent. The Chiefs have 3 quarterbacks right now and they do usually bring at least 4 into training camp.
Kyron Johnson did not receive a combine invite and was considered a snub. The 6′ 1″ 235 edge rusher had a solid senior year at Kansas. Johnson has great pursuit of ball carriers. He also doesn’t allow tight ends to block him easily. He has good hand usage as well. While he wasn’t at the combine he did have a solid pro day running a 4.41-second 40-yard dash, which is extremely fast for an edge rusher. He is better suited for a 4-3 defensive scheme as an outside linebacker. He does tend to allow cutbacks from running backs. When he played inside linebacker in 2019 he struggled to diagnose plays quickly. He’s also unlikely to fit in a 3-4 defensive scheme due to size. Johnson has a 7th round to undrafted free agent grade. The Chiefs have a solid chance of drafting him. He would be a solid special teams player for a year or two and could eventually work himself into the rotation. I feel, that if he joins the Chiefs, it will most likely be as an undrafted free agent or they draft him with their last 7th round selection, the 259th overall selection.
While I did say I will only focus on KU, K-State, and Missouri prospects, I decided to throw in an extra one. Breece Hall of Iowa State is a native of my hometown, Wichita, Kansas. Hall was arguably the best running back in the Big 12 the last two seasons, and that’s saying a lot because the Big 12 is known for producing good running backs. He’s got solid size too at 6′ 1″ and 220 pounds. With that size, he ran a 4.39 40-yard dash at the combine, 6th among all running backs and tied for 13th among all offensive players. He is likely to be a starter early in his career, potentially even as a rookie depending on where he goes. He is a big-play running back having scored 5 75+ yard touchdowns at Iowa State. He is also a very patient running back and can absorb contact. He has a habit of losing balance when he performs a juke move. He also had a heavy workload in college, which after several years of a heavy workload, that can lead to injuries down the road. He has a 2nd/3rd round grade. The Chiefs are unlikely to draft him as they are pretty well set at running back.
If the Chiefs want to local in this year’s draft, they have several solid options. However, only two of the prospects I have mentioned are actually from what we call “Chiefs Kingdom”, Breece Hall and Skylar Thompson. Even if the Chiefs don’t get any of these players, they all will find their way to an NFL roster in the draft or as an undrafted free agent.