29) Kansas City Chiefs (from SF via MIA): Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas
This isn’t the only receiver the Kansas City Chiefs will select in this draft, but it’s a good one. The beginning of the rebuild of their receiving corps began with the signings of JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling — and it continues in the 2022 NFL Draft. Treylon Burks isn’t a complete receiver, but it doesn’t matter. He wins more often than he doesn’t and presents a challenge at the catch point with his on-field athleticism.
30) Kansas City Chiefs: Kyler Gordon, CB, Washington
If their performance in the playoffs was any indication, the need for a cornerback is a big one for KC. Kyler Gordon can play various coverage positions, notably in the slot, as he presents an upgrade to the coverage unit that allowed Gabriel Davis to go for 4 touchdowns. Gordon comes NFL-ready like his former college teammate McDuffie, as he similarly plays larger than his frame would indicate.
The path that Valdes-Scantling took to get to Kansas City was a long one. He detailed the earliest part of his football journey in a tweet shortly after signing his contract with the team.
Valdes-Scantling was named a three-star recruit out of high school, taking visits with seven teams before settling on NC State. After failing to break through on their roster, Valdes-Scantling transferred back home to the University of South Florida in St. Petersburg. He had to sit out the 2015 college football season due to transfer rules, but he finally broke out with the Bulls in 2016 and 2017.
Then comes the draft, where Valdes-Scantling was selected in the fifth round by the Green Bay Packers in the 2018 NFL draft. He finished seventh in the NFL among rookies in receiving yards that year while playing less than 65% of the offensive snaps in Green Bay. He’s always been a bit underrated and seems that he has a chip on his shoulder because of it.
Pro Football Network’s Aaron Wilson reports the Chiefs are interested in trading for Giants cornerback James Bradberry or signing cornerback Stephon Gilmore.
After trading wide receiver Tyreek Hill to the Dolphins, Kansas City opened up some cap space that they can spend elsewhere. Part of that room went to the Marquez Valdes-Scantling acquisition, but the team still has over $20 million in cap space remaining, per Over The Cap.
The Giants have reportedly been trying to trade Bradberry for the past month in an attempt to clear cap space. New York signed him to a three-year, $45 million deal in 2020, and he is set to make over $13 million with a $21 million cap hit in 2022.
Bradberry had another solid season for the Giants in 2021, playing in all 17 games and totaling 47 tackles, four interceptions and two fumble recoveries.
Gilmore is a free agent after spending last year with the Panthers. He just finished a five-year, $65 million deal he initially signed with the Patriots, but he is still just 31 despite already being in the NFL for 10 years.
When it comes to the Chiefs this offseason, the main headline is the loss of their most prized playmaker. After failing to agree to terms on a new deal with Hill, Kansas City traded him to Miami for five draft picks — including a first-rounder this year. While Hill is a star and the Chiefs are worse off for losing him, it may have been the right decision. Kansas City in turn received plenty of draft capital, freed up cap space and doesn’t have to pay Hill a four-year, $120 million extension that averages $30 million per year, with $72.2 million guaranteed.
The Chiefs signed Smith-Schuster and Valdes-Scantling to replace Hill, which obviously is not enough to make up for what Hill brought to this offense. Still, Smith-Schuster could experience a rebirth in Andy Reid’s offense, and Valdes-Scantling is someone who can take the top off of defenses. Coleman was a strange signing, as he hasn’t played an NFL game in three years.
The only team that seemingly didn’t reap the benefits of the blockbuster trades and signings this offseason in that division is the Chiefs.
Although Kansas City has made the playoffs every year since 2015, even reaching two consecutive Super Bowls in 2020 and 2021, they haven’t picked up any true star free agents this offseason yet. Instead, they traded away their star wide receiver, Tyreek Hill, to the Dolphins earlier in the week. They have picked up receivers JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling in recent days though.
Patrick Mahomes ranked fourth in the NFL in passing yards last season with 4,839. He will still be facing Chargers star Justin Herbert (who ranked second with 5,014 yards) and Raiders QB Derek Carr (fifth with 4,804). Earlier this month, the Broncos picked up quarterback Russell Wilson which will stir up the AFC West quarterback battle even more.
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“I do want to just give you the keys to the kingdom, but I’m not sure from a competitive advantage standpoint that would make much sense,” McDaniel said. “I will say that with players of dynamic skill sets such as Tyreek — which, if there are other players that have his combination of skill, that group is small — there’s no real ceiling on in terms of the ways that you can involve him. And there’s certain things that I know that myself and the coaching staff haven’t even thought of yet, that will come on our plate.”
Hill has proven he can be effective in a variety of ways. He was the best kick returner in the league as a rookie, while also producing as a wide receiver and rusher. His return duties would diminish as he made major strides at receiver, all while he continued taking the occasional handoff in Andy Reid’s offense.
Carolina’s current recipe of recycled quarterbacks isn’t working for sure. Over the past four seasons, seven Panthers quarterbacks have started at least one game. Four have started double-digit games.
Since Newton developed shoulder issues after a 6-2 start in 2018, the Panthers have gone 16-41. Over the past three seasons, Carolina’s 15-34 record is the fifth-worst in the NFL behind the Jacksonville Jaguars (10-39), Detroit Lions (11-36-2), New York Jets (13-36) and New York Giants (14-35).
This is largely due to poor quarterback play.
This doesn’t mean Carolina will use the sixth pick on a quarterback. There is still a need at left tackle, a position that has been in flux since Jordan Gross retired after the 2013 season.
But it does mean quarterback is hugely in play, particularly after Fitterer shored up a lot of other positions in free agency.
“A little scream,” is how coach Nathaniel Hackett described his real-time reaction to the Wilson trade, in an interview with NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero at the Annual League Meeting. “It was one of those somewhat high-pitched, but still wanted to be kind of manly screams. When you get a great player like that, to be able to be around him and get to know him as I have now, it’s exciting.”
Hackett just arrived in Denver himself. But he surely screams for everyone in the organization and the fan base who has endured the club’s carousel of mediocre quarterbacks since Peyton Manning retired following the 2015 season.
“I just didn’t want him to feel like he was on an island,” Tomlin told reporters Sunday from league meetings. “From a coaching fraternity standpoint I owed him that. I was in position to provide that. I think that started our interactions and conversations.”
In quick succession, phone calls of advice morphed into a job offer, and Flores joined Tomlin’s staff Feb. 19 as a senior defensive assistant and linebackers coach.
“Over the course of those discussions, particularly when it became evident he was not going to get a head job, then I think the natural discussion began,” Tomlin said. “It really ran its course rather quickly, to be quite honest with you. Because it doesn’t require a lot of time to come to the realization that you can use a Brian Flores on your staff.”
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
Veach is betting on himself — and his staff. Three of the five picks acquired in the trade for Hill will happen in this year’s NFL Draft. The Chiefs’ league-leading 12 picks include two in the first round, two in the second round, two in the third and two in the fourth. Veach has never been shy about trading up — and should the personnel staff complete its due diligence on other teams’ intentions, this should allow the Chiefs to get their guys for maximum value.
The Chiefs desperately need an impact EDGE player, and the draft is pass-rush rich. They also need a premium wide receiver to go along with JuJu Smith-Schuster, Mecole Hardman and Marquez Valdes-Scantling. Don’t be surprised for trade-ups to get both the EDGE and receiver they covet.
With 12 picks, that’s a legitimate option, while also having a number of choices to address their lesser needs — namely at right tackle and defensive back.
A tweet to make you think
The more people I talk to around the league, the more you get the sense of a philosophical shift for the #Chiefs. They got bigger at WR with JuJu and MVS. "They can morph into something different" said one AFC exec I spoke to. "Mahomes can make it work. That's why he's THE GUY."— Mike Giardi (@MikeGiardi) March 26, 2022