Rumors have been floating recently about the Chiefs making a move up the draft board for Thursday’s first round. But who or what could they be chasing?Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
Charles Robinson @CRob5769
Lead Writer – Chiefs Focus @ChiefsFocus
This was as predictable as me confidently walking up to a roulette wheel and almost immediately losing every penny I laid down.
When the Chiefs, over the course of several months, accumulated 12 draft picks for the 2022 NFL Draft, you knew at some point they would be linked to either moving up in the draft or acquiring a veteran in exchange for some of said draft capital.
Monday, a mere 3 days before the Draft, the first whispers started to hit the twittersphere. For those who weren’t discussing Elon Musk’s successful bid to purchase the platform amid a campaign to free free speech or clowning on Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets for getting swept in the first round of the NBA playoffs (RIP super teams), you may have seen rumors that the Chiefs were in serious discussions with the Minnesota Vikings to move up into the number 12 overall slot in Thursday’s draft. This comes after more subtle whispers that the team had engaged the Washington Commanders (still weird to say, I was just getting used to WFT) in discussions for the 11th overall pick, and that “more teams” were looking to move down in the draft than were looking to move up, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
One would have to assume that teams vying for the services of some of the quarterback prospects in this year’s draft (ie Washington, Carolina, and presumably Houston) would be willing to take a look at potential deals that Brett Veach and the Kansas City Chiefs might throw their way. After all, Veach and the Chiefs hold not only two first round picks this year (number 29 and 30), but also hold two second round picks (number 50 and 62) and two third round picks (number 94 and 103). Plenty of draft capital to make something make sense. Not to mention, the ability for the Chiefs to hang on to one of their firsts (likely number 30) or both of their seconds if they elect to move up.
So, who could the Chiefs be eyeing if they are in fact on the prowl to get into the top ~15 or so picks of Thursday’s first round? Well, to start, let’s take a look at where these trade candidates are currently slated to draft :
Pick 3. Houston Texans
Pick 6. Carolina Panthers
Pick 11. Washington Commanders
Pick 12. Minnesota Vikings
Pick 13. Houston Texans
Houston holds two picks in the top 13, but there is no indication that the Chiefs would get aggressive enough, or have a player they deem valuable enough, to trade up to the number 3 overall slot.
Obviously things can change at the drop of a hat for the players projected to go in this range. Just ask Laremy Tunsil, who in 2016 was touted as highly as number 1 overall coming out of Ole Miss, but tumbled to the 13th overall pick after photos emerged 10 minutes before the draft kicked off of him smoking weed from a gas mask. Not a huge deal in 2022, and we can ultimately laugh at this now with Tunsil’s career earnings inching closer and closer to $100 million overall, but this type of occurrence could take away not only the dream of being drafted, but a dream lifestyle for some of these players. All of this to say that there’s no guarantees these will be the players there if the Chiefs trade up, but signs are pointing towards this being the grouping of players the Chiefs could potentially be coveting with a trade up into the top 15 of the Draft.
Drake London (WR, USC)
Garrett Wilson (WR, Ohio State)
Jameson Williams (WR, Alabama)
Chris Olave (WR, Ohio State)
Derek Stingley, Jr. (CB, LSU)
Kayvon Thibodeaux (Edge, Oregon)
Jordan Davis (DT, Georgia)
Treylon Burks (WR, Arkansas)
Jermaine Johnson II (Edge, Florida State)
To me, this could spell two things, but I’m leaning towards the first. The Chiefs are attempting to move up to fill the hole left by Tyreek Hill in the wide receiver corps. Or, the Chiefs want to bolster their defensive front, and feel that two of the edge rushers in the second tier available (Travon Walker and Aiden Hutchinson appear destined to be the first two players off the board on Thursday) are worth the move. Jordan Davis and Derek Stingley, Jr would be outliers in this scenario, as Veach hasn’t displayed a propensity to place a lot of assets into those positions outside of Chris Jones at defensive tackle, but both would provide immediate boosts to units that need it on the defensive side of the ball.
Still yet, I would expect those two positions (IDL and CB) to be addressed later in the draft. On the edge, which is the more likely focal point for the Chiefs on the defensive side of the ball in a trade up scenario, Kayvon Thibodeux is likely a reach this far down the board, as many mocks have him going in the top 5-6, but either he or Jermaine Johnson would be day 1 starters opposite Frank Clark on the edge of the Chiefs defensive front.
The receivers are the ticket here, in my opinion. Any of these players would be great additions, with Treylon Burks and Drake London brining big bodied, outside threats to a Chiefs offense that has lacked that in the Patrick Mahomes Era. The Chiefs, however, have a type. They have been rumored to have draft crushes on both Garrett Wilson and Jameson Williams. The downside on Williams is he just tore his ACL in the CFP National Championship game on January 10, but appears to be recovering nicely based on videos we’ve seen on his social media.
Wilson is a speedster and along with Ohio State teammate Chris Olave could provide an immediate, dynamic presencee and an eventual “WR1” feel to the Chiefs offense. Young wideouts have at times had issues learning Andy Reid’s complex playbook, but with the volume of weapons that the Chiefs offense would tout with the addition of any of these players, it would be hard for prognosticators to hang on to the notion that the Chiefs offense in 2022 is a downgraded version of what we’ve grown accustomed to.
If the Chiefs chose to stay put at 29 and 30, too many teams with needs stand in between them and the players they likely have graded out with first round value. The Eagles, Saints, and Packers all need help at wide receiver. The Buccaneers, Cardinals, Chargers and Vikings need help along the defensive front. Even if the Chiefs were looking to add to their secondary by moving up, they would have the Patriots, Bills, Eagles (again), and Commanders in line ahead of them for any of the help they potentially covet at CB.
In his pre-Draft press conference on Friday, Veach alluded to the fact that the Chiefs had 16 to 18 names on their draft board with first round grades. The likelihood of any of those 16 to 18 players falling to them with their current first round placements of 29 and 30 is probably slim. If they move up into the top 15? You’re going from betting a number on the roulette wheel to betting red or black – increasing your odds drastically. This may not be something that happens before coverage kicks off on Thursday evening, but seems like it’s an inevitability at some point before the Chiefs are currently slated to pick.