Kansas City Chiefs NFL Draft Picks & Grades 2022: Veach Goes Heavy on Defense
Just 3 months after losing in the AFC Championship Game, the Chiefs did what many would expect and overhauled their defense in the draft. Their secondary, which has been a source of concern for years now, being the primary target.They drafted CB Trent McDuffie and S Bryan Cook in the first two rounds and 3 more defensive backs on day 3 — primarily going after guys with length and speed. By snatching George Karlaftis at the end of the first round, the Chiefs also strengthened their defensive line which has long been a source of concern. All told, this Chiefs team got stronger at their weakest spots and a bit deeper at their strongest spots.
Kansas City Chiefs Draft Picks 2022
Round 1 No. 21 CB Trent McDuffie
Round 1 No. 30 DE George Karlaftis
Round 2 No. 54 WR Skyy Moore
Round 2 No. 62 S Bryan Cook
Round 3 No. 103 LB Leo Chanel
Round 4 No. 135 CB Joshua Williams
Round 5 No. 145 OT Darian Kinnard
Round 7 No. 243 CB Jaylen Watson
Round 7 No. 251 RB Isiah Pacheco
Round 7 No. 259 S Nazeeh Johnson
Overall Draft Grade: A-
Analysis: As great as this Kansas City team has been as of late, their defensive struggles have begun to catch up with them. With Honey Badger now gone, the need to get more playmakers on this side of the ball became even more urgent. Lucky for Chiefs fans, this organization was able to capitalize in the draft by getting two of the top defensive prospects in this year’s class in the latter half of round 1. They were also able to get one of the best linebacker prospects in the third round and got significantly bigger at corner — something they will need in a division with Mike Williams, Courtland Sutton, Davante Adams, and some of the best tight end play in the NFL. They got a steal on OG Darian Kinnard in the 5th round as well, and will be adding Skyy Moore to an already strong WR room. After the Tyreek trade many wondered if this was the end of the Chiefs run. If this draft taught us anything, it’s that this organization is anything but content with where they are right now.
Kansas City Chiefs Draft Grades 2022
Round: 1 Pick: 21 / Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington
Having struggled in the secondary for 2 straight years now, the Chiefs got themselves an explosive stopper in Trent McDuffie. A 3 year starter at Washington, McDuffie comes into the NFL with great speed (4.44 40 time), good awareness, and solid ball skills. What McDuffie really brings to this Kansas City secondary, in addition to playmaking, is a level of versatility this unit currently lacks. He can do everything from blitz off the edge, to stop the run, to tackle in the open field. He’s an aggressive player in both man and zone, and will capitalize on 50/50 balls with interceptions rather than bat downs. Overall, McDuffie is a lockdown corner with great instincts in the open field who packs a punch despite being a bit undersized.
Andy Reid on Trent McDuffie:
"He's smart, smooth, good hips, good hands. I like the part of being smart at that position."
Reid on Darian Kinnard: "Strong. He's put together. He moves well. He picked everything up real easy."
— Nate Taylor (@ByNateTaylor) May 9, 2022
Round: 1 Pick :30 / George Karlaftis, DE, Purdue
Arguably the fourth best edge rusher in a class loaded with edge rushers, Karlaftis may be the steal of the first round. At 6’4” 266 lbs, the Purdue product is a bulldozer off the edge who’s able to stop the run and get to the passer. In addition to his physical traits, Karlaftis brings a wealth of football knowledge to the table. He isn’t overly pursuit conscious and does a good job of taking the most efficient route the quarterback. His combination of speed and strength will allow him to make an impact on the game immediately. As evidenced by their AFC Championship loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, this team desperately needs someone who can get to the quarterback.
That's a scary sight @thegk3 pic.twitter.com/InQb8GYR55
— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) May 8, 2022
Round: 2 Pick: 54 / Skyy Moore, WR, Western Michigan
Skyy Moore should be a solid addition to a receiving core that already contains Juju Smith-Schuster and Mecole Hardman. Though not the most athletic, Moore has fantastic ball skills and a great understanding of how to leverage his body in contested catch situations. His vision and dependability as a pass catcher will make him a great option in must-convert situations. Having lost Tyreek Hill to Miami this offseason, many expected the Chiefs to take a receiver at some point in this draft. I think they made a smart decision by waiting to pull the trigger until later in the second round given that the top 4 receivers were all off the board by the 12th pick. That said, how Moore develops in this offense will largely depend on his ability to establish a rhythm with Mahomes.
Round: 2 Pick: 62 / Bryan Cook, S, Cincinnati
The safety position was one this Chiefs team needed to address heading into the offseason. After Josh Allen and the Bills offense torched this team in the 4th quarter of the divisional round, it was clear a change needed to be made and the Chiefs have done just this by letting go of Daniel Sorenson and going after Cook and McDuffie in the draft. Cook plays a lot like McDuffie in that he is a physical hitter with great ball skills. At 6’1” he brings some size to this defensive backfield as well as an ability to play up against the run. I like this pick because of the physicality Cook brings to this defense, though questions remain about his speed.
Round: 3 Pick: 103 / Leo Chanel, LB, Wisconsin
Chanel’s strong upper body and fierce motor will make him an asset as a pass rusher and run stopper from day 1 in the NFL. Evidenced by his ability to hold up against Iowa’s Tyler Linderbaum, Chanel is difficult to move and will have no problem adjusting to the physicality of the NFL. To go with great size, Chanel also has solid athleticism. Most notably, he can run a 4.53 40 and has over a 40 inch vertical jump. What puts him a notch below guys like Devin Lloyd and Lewis Cine, however, is his versatility in coverage, or lack thereof. His size makes him a bit slower in space and susceptible to manipulation by tight ends and run backs. His instincts in the open field can also be spotty at times, but overall I like him to improve this linebacking core because of what he brings to the line of scrimmage.
Round: 4 Pick: 135 / Joshua Williams, CB, Fayetteville St University
At 6’3”, Williams becomes the second defensive back taken by the Chiefs in this draft with a bit of a size advantage. Coming from Fayetteville State, Williams plays with strong instincts to complement his length. Overall, his film paints a pretty strong picture of a guy who is able to maintain coverage and make tackles in space. How this will carry over to the NFL in the short term remains a question mark as the jump in competition level does warrant concerns. Overall, I like what the Chiefs are doing by going for size in the secondary. Given they have to face Mike Williams, Courtland Sutton, and Davante Adams multiple times a year, they’ll need to be able to win some battles on length alone.
Round: 5 Pick: 145 / Darian Kinnard, OT, Kentucky
After having developed Creed Humphrey into a bona fide star at the center position, the Chiefs are a piece or two on the right side of their O-Line away from being one of the best lines in football. While Kinnard will need some work, particularly with his footwork, he flashes the potential to be the answer for this team on the right side. As a top 100 recruit coming out of high school, he’s got great balance and an incredibly strong frame. He’ll be able to withstand NFL bull-rushes and has the hands and arm length scouts desire. The Chiefs will almost certainly move Kinnard over to guard, where he’ll be able to showcase his skills as a pass protector.
Darian Kinnard is one of those sneaky blockers. They run a T-E stunt. He steps in accounts for the tackle. Gets a good hand to slow him down then uses his right hand and T momentum to toss him to the ground. #JacobsEyeInTheSky #Chiefs pic.twitter.com/HoOfi4Pktm
— Nick Jacobs (@Jacobs71) May 10, 2022
Round: 7 Pick: 243 / Jaylen Watson, CB, Washington State
Another corner selection over 6’2”, Watson brings size and physicality to the Chief’s defensive backfield. As a developmental prospect who will have to improve his footwork off the snap and positioning downfield, Watson’s strength at the catch point and aggressiveness off the line can be utilized in zone packages.
Round: 7 Pick: 251 / Isaiah Pacheco, RB, Rutgers
With 4.37 40 speed and great lateral agility, Isaiah Pacheco is a quick-cutting back who can also offer some utility as a return man on special teams. He’s got a great track record of productivity despite playing behind one of the more pedestrian offensive lines in his conference. He can be a little hurried out of the backfield, however, and isn’t patient by nature. If he doesn’t learn to allow block development, he may have a hard time adjusting in the NFL.
#Chiefs Rookie Minicamp Day 2 … Footage of Justyn Ross, Isiah Pacheco, Darian Kinnard and Matt Nagy. pic.twitter.com/FHjpYO0bd6
— Harold R. Kuntz (@HaroldRKuntz3) May 8, 2022
Round: 7 Pick: 259 / Nazeeh Johnson, S, Marshall
With the selection of Nazeeh Johnson as their final pick in the 2022 draft, the Chiefs ended up going defense with 7 of their 10 picks. Given Johnson’s speed and vision, it is likely he will best be utilized as a special teams player to start. He doesn’t possess the length of Bryan Cook or Joshua Williams, but he is faster than both and has more experience as a wide receiver. At the very least, he’ll add to the level of competition at camp and, for a team that desperately needs improvement in their secondary, this is a good thing. It should be noted that as of today the Chiefs have not signed Johnson.