On Tuesday, ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr. published his third mock draft of the season. With both the NFL Combine and the first week of free agency in the rear-view mirror, Kiper sends Pitt quarterback Kenny Stills to the New Orleans Saints with the 18th pick and Liberty signal-caller Malk Willis to the Pittsburgh Steelers with the 20th. Apparently unaware of the rules about first-round running backs, Kiper has the Tampa Bay Buccaneers take Iowa State running back Breece Hall with the 27th selection. When the Kansas City Chiefs go on the clock with the 30th pick, Kiper has them take an edge rusher.
30. Kansas City Chiefs: DE George Karlaftis, Purdue
If the Chiefs want to keep Chris Jones at defensive tackle where he can wreck game plans from the interior, they have to add capable edge rushers. They ranked 29th in total sacks (31) last season and also 31st in rushing yards allowed per carry (4.8), even though they improved down the stretch. Karlaftis is an all-around defensive end who has some pass-rushing traits and can anchor down in the run game. He had only 4.5 sacks last season, but the tools are there.
You might have noticed that I haven’t projected David Ojabo, who tore his Achilles at the Michigan pro day last week, in Round 1. I love him as a prospect, but I think he’s more likely to go in the second round now. That’s a tough injury, and he might have to miss the entire 2022 season. The Chiefs need help right away.
Right from the beginning, Kiper has thought Kansas City will pick an edge rusher in the first round. Back in January, he had them taking San Diego State’s Cameron Thomas. On March 8, Kiper had Kansas City select Minnesota’s Boye Mafe. But in this mock, neither of those players are taken in the first round. In fact, after three edge rushers are taken in the first seven picks of this mock, just two more come off the board by the end of the first round. (In comparison, eight edge rushers were selected in the first round of Kiper’s last mock). The idea that more of these players could be available when the Chiefs pick is an appealing one; as Kiper notes, any EDGE the Chiefs take will need to be someone who can contribute right away.
National Mock Draft Picks
|WR||Jahan Dotson||Penn State||5%|
|DE||Cameron Thomas||San Diego State||3%|
|EDGE||Jermaine Johnson II||Florida State||3%|
|DE||DeMarvin Leal||Texas A&M||3%|
|WR||Chris Olave||Ohio State||3%|
|OL||Bernhard Raimann||Central Michigan||3%|
National Mock Draft Positions
Which of these players would you like to see the Chiefs take at 30?
This poll is closed
EDGE George Karlaftis
EDGE Boye Mafe
EDGE Cameron Thomas
A different EDGE
A different position