As the Draft and UDFA signings wrap up, we look back at what the Chiefs have on paper, and look forward to what it means for the 2022 season.
Charles Robinson @CRob5769
Lead Writer – @ChiefsFocus
Before the draft began, I had talked myself into the fact that there would inevitably be picks throughout the process of the 2022 NFL Draft that I didn’t love. Not that that matters, but I was mentally prepping myself for the “what the hell are we doing?” feeling. After all, Brett Veach let the whole Kingdom down during free agency, right? He traded away Tyreek Hill for what many thought wasn’t enough. We passed on Stephon Gilmore, didn’t pull the trigger on a trade for James Bradberry, let Tyrann Mathieu walk. How were the Chiefs going to be as good in 2022 as they have been from 2018 through 2021?
That feeling never came.
I don’t think Brett Veach pays much attention, if any, to social media – but the draft that he put up would indicate that he had a message to send to everyone. We’re going to reload, we’re going to rebuild the defense, and we’re not going anywhere. What began as 12 picks ended up as 10, with 7 of those being spent on a defense that needed an overhaul (and got it) and 3 on an offense at positions of need with 2 of the 3 players taken expected to make immediate impacts on that side of the ball.
Going into the Draft, Veach was open with the fact that KC had placed first round grades on 16-18 players that were available in this year’s class. They go two of those players – Washington’s Trent McDuffie and Purdue’s George Karlaftis – with the 21st and 30th picks overall. In the second round, Veach got the receiver he wanted (Western Michigan’s Skyy Moore at pick 54) by trading back and acquiring another pick in the later rounds. Later on in the second round Veach took next generation safety Bryan Cook from Cincinnati with the 62nd overall pick, and wrapped up day 2 by bringing in Death Row boss Leo Chenal from Wisconsin at pick 103.
Day 3 was mostly about depth, but the Chiefs still managed to grab what could be a starter (an impact starter, nonetheless) in the 5th round. After selecting who many considered the best defender at the Division II level in Fayetteville State’s Joshua Williams in the fourth round, Veach took Kentucky All-American right tackle Darian Kinnard with the 145th overall selection in round five. Kinnard appears to be a no-brainer plug and play guy on the Chiefs offensive line for 2022 – an offensive line that had one question mark at right tackle. That void appears to be filled, and KC did not have to overpay for a veteran player. The team has options in this spot – play Kinnard at right, or if his athleticism is a question mark at the next level, slide him in at left guard and kick Joe Thuney out to right tackle and maximize his contract value while having a stalwart offensive lineman at a key position.
The seventh round saw Veach go for depth – Washington State corner Jaylen Watson (243 overall) will provide competition in the cornerbacks room and likely contribute on special teams. Rutgers running back Isiah Pacheco (pick 251) brings explosion to the Chiefs backfield and will compete for one of the 4 likely roster spots that KC will designate for the position heading into 2022. Marshall safety Nazeeh Johnson (pick 259) looks to fill a similar role to Watson and contribute on special teams while providing defensive depth for Steve Spagnuolo’s suddenly young, hungry defensive unit.
Kansas City Chiefs 2022 NFL Draft Picks:
Round 1: No. 21 (from NE) – Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington
Round 1: No. 30 – George Karlaftis, DE, Purdue
Round 2: No. 54 (from NE) – Skyy Moore, WR, Western Michigan
Round 2: No. 62 – Bryan Cook, S, Cincinnati
Round 3: No. 103 – Leo Chenal, LB, Wisconsin
Round 4: No. 135 – Joshua Williams, CB, Fayetteville State
Round 5: No. 145 (from SEA via DET via DEN) – Darian Kinnard, OT, Kentucky
Round 7: No. 243 (from LV via NE) – Jaylen Watson, CB, Washington State
Round 7: No. 251 – Isaih Pachecho, RB, Rutgers
Round 7: No. 259 – Nazeeh Johnson, S, Marshall
All in all the Chiefs were able to draft projected defensive starters (McDuffie, Karlaftis, Chenal, and potentially Cook and Williams), fill a slot in the receiver room with another speedy, physical player with Moore, and add a starting offensive lineman in Kinnard. Veach walked away with 5 All-Americans in this draft class – Karlaftis, McDuffie, Chenal, Kinnard, and Williams, who was an All American at the Division II level.
The fun didn’t end in round seven, though. The funny part about the draft is it’s not actually over when the ESPN and NFL Network cameras shut off. I have a close friend who is a scout in the league, and the Wednesday before the draft I got a snapchat video of their scouting team. Holed up in a single office, their entire scouting department (minus the GM and executives, who were in the draft “war room” finalizing their board) were contacting players who they had pegged as undrafted free agents.
The process of reaching out to these guys, fringe players who may not be taken in the 262 picks in the NFL Draft, but many who will undoubtedly have productive professional careers, starts long before you start seeing their names scroll across your screen on your phone, laptop, or TV. “What’s the closest airport to you?” I heard one scout ask a prospect on the other end of the phone. Arranging the logistics behind getting these undrafted prospects to your team facility in advance can be the difference between a team getting one of their coveted “diamonds in the rough” or missing out on a chance to sculpt another rags to riches NFL story.
The Chiefs are bringing in some very intriguing prospects as UDFA’s an camp invites :
Justyn Ross – WR – Clemson
Jack Cochrane – LB – South Dakota State
Tayon Fleet-Davis – RB – Maryland
Mike Rose – LB – Iowa State
Dustin Crum – QB – Kent State
Gene Pryor – OL – Hawai’i
Jerrion Ealy – RB – Ole Miss
Rookie Mini-Camp Invites :
Joe Wallace – DT – Sam Houston State
Kendrick Price – WR – Northwestern State
Devin Carrington – RB – Harvard
To sum up the last 5 days, Brett Veach has achieved the Draft Triple Crown.
- Fill Roster Needs
- Take Best Available Players
- Infuse The Roster with Youth and Energy
To those who thought the Chiefs were on the ropes coming into the draft, think again. Kansas City didn’t subscribe to the panic buying frenzy in free agency. Brett Veach and the Chiefs reloaded the best roster in the AFC (and likely the NFL) and is coming back for the Lamar Hunt and Lombardi trophies with a vengeance.