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Early impressions on 3 NFL Draft prospects

On Monday’s AP Draft Room, we highlighted three prospects that could be available at the end of the first round.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 04 Big Ten Championship Game - Michigan v Iowa Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

On the latest episode of Arrowhead Pride’s “Draft Room” podcast, we introduced listeners to the 2022 NFL Draft season. We talked through what positions to prioritize this offseason for the Kansas City Chiefs, the best ways to attack those positions and also looked into the draft from a general perspective.

(Listen to the podcast above or by clicking here. It is also available on Spotify.)

Each of us picked one player to highlight from our initial look at the draft class. Currently, each player could be available for the Chiefs at the end of the first round — but some of their stocks are already rising:

Talon: Safety Daxton Hill, Michigan

NCAA Football: Michigan at Maryland Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Michigan Wolverines put together one of their most memorable seasons of all time in 2021, matching the 1905 and 1997 squads respectively for most wins in a single season, with 12. The defense was the fuel to their season — and safety Daxton Hill deserves credit for playing a major role in its success.

The Chiefs are thin at defensive back due to several contracts expiring at the end of this league year, and — depending on how free agency is handled — could end up being priority one come draft day. Hill checks a lot of boxes for Steve Spagnuolo in what he expects out of his safeties.

Hill has the speed and athletic prowess to warrant a first-round selection and plays with desirable instincts when in zone coverage but must play more consistently while in man coverage to elevate his play as a professional. Hill was tasked with covering the slot receiver quite a bit in Ann Arbor with positive results, but the hip fluidity he possesses allows him to play a centerfield type of role on the back end of a defense as well. He closes on plays in the blink of an eye and plays with a controlled physicality in the run game. Hill is rarely out of position and seemed to orchestrate the Wolverine defense from wherever he was on the field.

He would be a nice piece to the Chiefs defense, which is in need of playmakers in the secondary.

Bryan: Edge rusher Jermaine Johnson II, Florida State

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 05 Notre Dame at Florida State Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The 6-foot-5, 260-pound Florida State University transfer shows the burst, ankle flexibility and raw power on tape of a player who could potentially develop into an elite-level defensive end.

After dominating offensive tackles during last week’s Senior Bowl practices, Johnson’s representatives didn’t allow him to play in the actual game Saturday afternoon. This was a sure sign that there was nothing more for him to prove; he is well on his way to becoming a first-round draft choice.

He’s an immensely explosive athlete that will do quite well at the NFL Combine, perhaps too good to remain in Kansas City’s draft range come April. Johnson plays with his hair on fire, and his best football remains ahead of him.

As a future three-down defensive end, Johnson is a potential long-term solution the Chiefs could elect to pair with some veterans in the defensive line room (perhaps Melvin Ingram).

Ron: Wide receiver Treylon Burks, Arkansas

Missouri v Arkansas Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

There might not have been a wide receiver that was asked to do more than the 6-foot-3, 230-pound Burks in the toughest conference in America.

Burks fits the physical profile of an “X” wide receiver, but he was used as a do-it-all playmaker in 2021 — whether that meant deep patterns, quick routes, bubble screen or jet sweeps. He played nearly 70% of his snaps in the slot last season, and he had a lower-average depth of target compared to the rest of the first-round group.

That doesn’t mean he can’t make a contested catch downfield with that frame or a tough catch in traffic over the middle, but he wasn’t asked to be that traditional receiver as much as other players were. It could potentially lead to him falling in the first, but his NFL Combine results may also turn him into a top-10 pick.

Burks is the versatile type of receiver that could play any position in head coach Andy Reid’s scheme.

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