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Chiefs Focus @ChiefsFocus
Keaton Huff @KeatonTheKicker
This weekend has allowed us to reflect upon the draft and how certain players will be able to come in and make an immediate impact. In this article I will talk about how each player looks to make an impact in their first year. Here at Chiefs Focus we know that there is value in each round and any of these picks including some of the undrafted free agents that will be highlighted can make this team and excel.
With the 21st pick the Chiefs selected Trent McDuffie corner out of Washington. McDuffie was regarded as the third best corner out of a very solid group in this year’s draft. Many experts had him mocked to the Vikings at pick 12 only to see him fall right into the Chiefs hands at pick 21. Even the Chiefs were surprised that McDuffie was still on the board that late which prompted them to trade up with the Patriots and snag one of the steals of the draft. McDuffie is projected to be the starting outside corner for your Kansas City Chiefs as long as training camp goes well. Even though he is a bit undersized at 5’11, he had one of the best coverage ratings in college football this year. Along with this he also allowed just over three yards per pass thrown at him which also led college football.
At pick 30 the Chiefs knew they needed an edge rusher to add a piece to a defensive line that saw bottom of the league production this past season. With many thinking they may trade up again to get Jermaine Johnson who was selected by the Jets, the Chiefs did the right thing and stayed put and watched George Karlaftis fall right into their lap at pick 30 without having to give up anything to get him. George projects to be the starting defensive end opposite of Frank Clark this coming season and was regarded as one of the most relentless pass rushers in this draft class. The Chiefs once again got a steal as most mock drafts had him falling no later than pick 16. At 6’4 276 and only 21 years old, George will look to have an immediate impact on the new look Chiefs defense this coming season.
Before the draft took place there were rumors that Western Michigan was highly regarded by many in the Chiefs organization. These rumors ended up being true as the Chiefs selected Skyy Moore with pick 54 in this year’s draft. With some of the best route running and hands in this draft class the Chiefs saw their replacement of Tyreek Hill with this 21 year old. Skyy projects to be a starting slot wide receiver this year but also found success on the outside against taller corners in college as well. Standing at 5’10 with some of the biggest hands in this year’s combine it is not hard to see why the Chiefs fell in love with this pick. On top of all the production they will get from Skyy they also netted a 5th round pick from the Patriots to move back 4 spots in the second round.
Also in the Second round the Chiefs selected Bryan Cook safety out of Cincinnati with pick 62. Bryan had a sneaky good senior year with the Bearcats and was overlooked by many because of the fact he only had one year of production. After watching the film Cook is a human freight train that will be very valuable in the run game. With the departure of Tyrann Mathieu this offseason there was an obvious need at safety for the Chiefs even after the Justin Reid signing. Bryan Cook projects to be the third safety on the depth chart behind Juan Thornhill and Justin Reid who could look to get snaps in three safety sets we saw often from coach spags last year. With Juan Thornhill in his contract year it will be interesting to see if this is the Chiefs long term answer at safety next to Justin Reid who is just 25 years old.
Pick 103 saw the Chiefs select Leo Chenal linebacker out of Wisconsin. Leo projects to be a day one starter at Sam or strong side linebacker, a role we saw Nick Bolton thrive in last year. With Anthony Hitchens departure Leo allows each of our linebackers to play their most natural positions. Nick Bolton will move to middle linebacker and Willie Gay will move to Will or weakside linebacker. This pick easily gives the Chiefs one of the most athletic and youthful linebacking corps in the league. Standing at 6’2 and 260 pounds Leo is one of the best run stuffing linebackers in college football and a developing coverage guy.
At pick 135 in round 4 the Chiefs selected Joshua Williams out of Fayetteville State, an HBCU college. Even though he faced smaller competition, Williams has intangibles that many big school athletes do not have. Williams is 6’3 and has quick feet and great ball tracking as well as being a force in the run game. Williams seems to be the replacement for Charvarious Ward who left in free agency to the 49ers. It has yet to be seen if Williams can carve out a starting corner role, likely he will compete in training camp but at bare minimum he projects to be a rotational corner and special teamer.
The fifth round pick the Chiefs got for moving back four spots in the second turned out to be an All-SEC offensive tackle out of Kentucky named Darian Kinnard. Kinnard can play both guard and tackle and will hope to compete with Lucus Niang for the right tackle job this year. There was a great need for backup Offensive linemen and Veach snags one of the best in Kinnard. At 6’5 Kinnard will look to be a starter in 2022 and if he achieves this will be one of the biggest steals for the Chiefs in this draft in the fifth round.
Jaylen Watson was our first 7th round selection out of Washington State. He is a physical athlete who projects to compete at corner and like many other 7th round picks will have a lot to prove to make the 53 man roster. If he can replace one of the many special teams snaps we lost in free agency he has a good shot to make the team.
Our second 7th round pick was used selecting Rutgers running back Isiah Pacheco. Isiah is an interesting pick that has a good chance to make the 53 man roster. He ran a blistering 4.37 40 and did that while weighing in at 216 pounds. At Rutgers he wasn’t the most productive player only putting up 600 yards rushing but the Chiefs took a flier on a guy who has a big chip on his shoulder. Rutgers also had a sub par line which could see Isiah translate well to the NFL running behind one of the best lines in football. With the need at running back Isiah could look to be the third option behind Clyde and Rojo.
Our last 7th round pick was used on Nazeeh Johnson, a speedster out of Marshall. Running a 4.35 40, Nazeeh will hope to fill out a special teams role with the upside of potentially being a rotational slot corner for the Chiefs. We will see if Nazeeh can make the team but if he does look for him to have a productive special teams year.
One last breakdown will be Justyn Ross out of Clemson who was an undrafted free agent. A guy who was once regarded as a potential first round pick slipped all the way out of the draft after many teams took him off their board due to injury concerns. Ross who just had neck surgery as well as having a stress fracture in his foot has lots of medical red flags but if he’s healthy this might end up being the best player out of the draft for the Chiefs. If you watched Clemson football especially last season during the playoffs Ross put on a show. He has over a hundred and fifty yards against some of the toughest defenses in college football during a two game stretch. Standing at 6’4 205 Chiefs fans should be excited about this pickup.