The 2022 NFL Draft has officially kicked off, and the Kansas City Chiefs have made their first selection. As the seven rounds progress and the team makes all of their picks, we will provide a live draft grade and analysis for each of the Chiefs’ selections. How do these new prospects fit with the roster, what kind of impact will they have on the team, and what do the team’s needs look like now that the draft is complete?
Make sure to continue to check back as the 2022 NFL Draft continues for live Kansas City Chiefs draft grades and analysis.
Kansas City Chiefs grades for 2022 NFL Draft
What are the Chiefs’ grades for their selections in the 2022 NFL Draft as they look to address their main needs this offseason?
Round 1, Pick 21: Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington
The Chiefs did make a trade up in the first round. But it wasn’t for a wide receiver, as was originally anticipated. Instead, the Chiefs traded up to 21st overall to take Washington cornerback Trent McDuffie.
McDuffie is a surprising pick for the Chiefs, as he doesn’t perfectly fit their length thresholds at the cornerback position. Steve Spagnuolo generally prefers longer cornerbacks, and McDuffie has arms under 30” long. That said, McDuffie has elite short-area athleticism and explosiveness. He’s a very intelligent defender who can play in the boundary or the slot. He can still develop as a playmaker, and Kaiir Elam is higher on my board, but McDuffie is a solid pick.
Round 1, Pick 30: George Karlaftis, EDGE, Purdue
While everyone and their half-sibling had the Chiefs picking a wide receiver in first-round mock drafts, Kansas City came out and used both picks on the defensive side of the ball. They first traded up for the 21st pick, which they used to select McDuffie. And now, after staying put at 30, they select Purdue edge rusher George Karlaftis.
Karlaftis fits the Chiefs’ desired mold at edge rusher. He’s a power rusher, capable of generating immense force at the point of attack. He also has great explosive capacity, with a 38” vertical. That burst doesn’t always show up, but Karlaftis has flashed the necessary athleticism to go along with heavy hands and a hot motor in pursuit. If he can glean more athleticism from his frame, he can be a consistent disruptor for Kansas City.
Round 2, Pick 54: Skyy Moore, WR, Western Michigan
After addressing the defense with their two first-round selections, the Chiefs turned to the offensive side of the ball in Round 2 after taking a slight move down. With the 54th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, the Chiefs have selected Western Michigan WR Skyy Moore.
The Chiefs signed a couple of larger receivers in free agency, among them JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling. Those signings left the need for a quicker, faster receiver to move between them. Moore can be exactly that player. He’s an absolutely violent route runner with a ruthless release game. He’s explosive enough to separate with ease in the short range, and he has an alpha mentality when the ball comes his way. A great value made even greater by a trade back.
Round 2, Pick 62: Bryan Cook, S, Cincinnati
The Cincinnati Bearcats’ defense was one of the more talented units in college football this past season. They now have two defenders going off the board in the first two rounds. Safety Bryan Cook is the next one up, heading to the Kansas City Chiefs at the 62nd overall pick.
This feels a little rich for Cook, who doesn’t quite have the athletic upside of other safeties on the board. He does have great instincts and physicality in the box, which goes along with a strong frame. Cook profiles as a box safety who can also shade out to the slot. In the immediate timeline, he may be more of a third safety with Juan Thornhill and Justin Reid taking reps. But with Thornhill projected to be a free agent in 2023, Reid and Cook could be the duo going forward. Cook doesn’t have the versatility to be that rangy free safety. Nonetheless, in the box, he brings a lot of appeal, even if he’s a reach here.
Round 3, Pick 103: Leo Chenal, LB, Wisconsin
With the 103rd pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, the Kansas City Chiefs selected Wisconsin linebacker Leo Chenal.
Chenal is an exciting pick for the Chiefs. He’s not an overwhelming three-down threat – he lacks great lateral agility in coverage. On the first two downs, Chenal is a menace. With his explosiveness, physicality, and instincts in congestion, he can be a force against the run. He complements Willie Gay and Nick Bolton extremely well.
Round 4, Pick 135: Joshua Williams, CB, Fayetteville State
The Chiefs aren’t being shy about improving the secondary this offseason. They signed safety Justin Reid in free agency, then drafted Trent McDuffie and Bryan Cook in the first two rounds. Even after all that, they’re not done yet. In Round 4, at 135th overall, they’re taking Fayetteville State defensive back Joshua Williams.
Williams is a more natural fit as a long, physical boundary CB for the Chiefs. He’s 6’3” with near-33” arms, and he also has great short-range explosiveness and recovery speed. For his experience level, Williams actually has some technical refinement, as well as willing physicality with his jams. He’s a Steve Spagnuolo cornerback through and through.
Round 5, Pick 145: Darian Kinnard, OT, Kentucky
With the 145th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, the Chiefs chose to address the right tackle spot, adding Kentucky offensive tackle Darian Kinnard. Kinnard is an intriguing addition for the Chiefs, who need more talent in the mix on the right side. Lucas Niang hasn’t been able to stay healthy, and there isn’t much outside of him.
Kinnard’s fit in wide-zone concepts is questionable, but he was a multi-year starter at right tackle for Kentucky. Over that span, he used his power, play strength, and tenacity to make an impact. This far into the draft, he’s worth the swing.
Round 7, Pick 243: Jaylen Watson, CB, Washington State
There’s so little to lose in the seventh round. Why not add more depth and upside at the cornerback position? That’s the Chiefs’ philosophy here. Jaylen Watson is a great value pick and a great fit in Steve Spagnuolo’s scheme. The CB room is more crowded now than when the NFL Draft began, but Watson has the tools to potentially be a contributor. He doesn’t have elite short-area athleticism, yet he’s long, strong, and physical.
Round 7, Pick 251: Isaih Pacheco, RB, Rutgers
This is an excellent move for the Chiefs, taking a flier on Rutgers RB Isaih Pacheco. The 5’10”, 216-pound runner has great explosiveness and speed in open space, and he’s also fairly quick and sudden with his cuts. That athleticism, for his size, is impressive, and he’s also flashed the ability to catch out of the backfield. Pacheco likely starts as a rotational back, but if there’s any team that can maximize his skill set, it’s the Chiefs.
Round 7, Pick 259: Nazeeh Johnson, S, Marshall
It’s Round 7. You know the drill. We’re banking on traits. Nazeeh Johnson has them. The Marshall safety is only 5’10”, 199 pounds, but he tested out of this world at his pro day. He ran a 4.38 and also put up a 42” vertical, a 10’ 9” broad jump, and a 6.97 three-cone. He had 7 interceptions and 19 pass deflections over his time with the Thundering Herd. On top of his playmaking ability, he’s also willing to come downhill and lay big hits.
What were the Chiefs’ biggest needs entering the draft?
- CB, EDGE, WR, DT, TE
It has not been the smoothest offseason for the Chiefs. The departures of Charvarius Ward and Melvin Ingram have created needs at both cornerback and pass rush. They could do with adding multiple options at both positions ahead of 2022. There is also the potential to add more depth around Chris Jones at defensive tackle.
On offense, it is all about pass catchers. The departure of Tyreek Hill has left Kansas City short at the wide receiver position. A leading combination of Mecole Hardman and Marquez Valdes-Scantling is far from ideal. Meanwhile, the tight end position looks somewhat slim behind Travis Kelce.
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