The more things change, the more they stay the same. The Bills were ready to win a Super Bowl last season, but the Coin Flip Gods and an uncharacteristically toothless defense didn’t cooperate in Kansas City. Still, this is one of football’s best-run organizations with depth and answers in nearly every position group. I would love their offseason even if they didn’t add Von Miller. (Oh, they did.) They have a huge margin for error and one of the most ridiculous quarterback talents in a league overstuffed with them. Speaking of which ...
The Chiefs have won the AFC West six straight times for a reason. They still have Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid. The offensive line they fixed a year ago should only get better. Losing Tyreek Hill isn’t a good thing, yet I suspect Reid will show up this season with new tricks up his sleeve. If the Chiefs can nearly win the Super Bowl in a season where that many things went wrong offensively, they are a safe pick to be playing home games in January again.
So how much net talent have the Chiefs really lost here? Based on Football Outsiders numbers, the answer is “an awful lot.” According to our DYAR metric, the 2022 Chiefs suffer from a bigger net loss of offensive weapons than any other team in the last 20 years.
By offensive weapons here, I’m including wide receivers, tight ends and running backs. Obviously, the Chiefs are stable at the most important position with quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Mahomes’ skills (and Andy Reid’s scheme) play strongly into why the Chiefs have lost so much net DYAR. Byron Pringle would probably not look as valuable with some other quarterback throwing to him. Nonetheless, it’s a fact that offenses that have lost a similar amount of DYAR in years past have almost all declined in the following season.
This is related to one of the variables we use in our team offense projections, which measures the net DYAR coming in and out of a roster in a given offseason. This is similar to a variable we’ve discussed in the past that changes our defensive projections based on net AV over replacement change on the roster. Only DYAR numbers above zero count for this variable. The Chiefs, as of now, will have the strongest net DYAR loss variable for any team since 2001.
Round 1 - Pick 29
Boye Mafe DL
Mafe to Kansas City is another fit I really like. He always seems to be available at this stage of the first round, and it is a natural progression from Melvin Ingram to the Minnesota pass rusher. Mafe is a bendy player who has cloud coverage and is better in run defense than he is credited.
Round 1 - Pick 30
Christian Watson WR
Kansas City missed out on the top wide receiver prospects by staying put, so it gambles on Watson, who was arguably the biggest winner of the NFL combine. He tested off the charts and offers the upside of a prospect coming out of a run-heavy offense. It could pay off down the road.
ROUND 1 (30TH): DL DAVID OJABO, MICHIGAN
If not for a ruptured Achilles suffered during Michigan’s Pro Day workout in mid-March, Ojabo would be long gone off the board at No. 30.
The injury might scare off some teams, causing this talented pass rusher to slide. And that would be to the Chiefs’ benefit. The 6-foot-5, 250-pound Ojabo made the most of his first full season as an NFL starter in 2021, totaling a dominant 11 sacks and five forced fumbles with 35 tackles.
It’s a small sample size, but he showed he can be a wrecking ball in the pass rush. Any team selecting Ojabo must understand that he might not be ready to go by the start of the regular season because of his recovery process.
His upside alone, however, will command a long look. There’s no doubt this selection is a bit of a gamble, sort of like chasing a gut-shot straight-flush draw to the river against a made hand. But like any true high-risk/high-reward scenario, the prize is worthwhile if the one-outer hits.
The question here is whether Chiefs general manager Brett Veach wants to gamble on Ojabo in Round 1.
Round 6, Pick 201: South Carolina CB Rashad Fenton
Fenton is a player who far exceeded his draft slot in the NFL. He appeared in 12 games as a rookie, making a key interception in the team’s win in Mexico City over the Los Angeles Chargers. In his sophomore season in 2020, the Chiefs relied on Fenton off the bench. He appeared in all 16 regular-season games, notching three starts in place of Charvarius Ward. He also played in the conference championship game against Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills in 2020, recording a pick-six during the game.
While he dealt with injury and COVID-19 in 2021, when Fenton was on the field, he was a standout. He managed eight starts with 49 total tackles, seven passes defended, one forced fumble and he didn’t allow a touchdown in over 400 coverage snaps. He was the Chiefs’ best cornerback in 2021 by a new metric developed to more accurately depict cornerback play.
In total, Fenton has appeared in 50 games for the Chiefs with 11 career starts. He’s even in line for a starting role in 2022. It’s hard to do much better than that as a sixth-round pick.
Around the NFL
Police want to speak with Dallas Cowboys cornerback Kelvin Joseph in connection with a shooting death last month in the Lower Greenville section of Dallas, sources said Thursday.
Cameron Ray, who was 20, was fatally shot after a March 18 altercation with a group of individuals that appeared to include Joseph, a second-round pick of the Cowboys last year. In video footage obtained by KDFW-TV in Dallas, one of those involved in the altercation was wearing a YKDV necklace. Joseph goes by the rap name “YKDV Bossman Fat.”
More footage goes on to show shots coming from an SUV as Ray and his friends walked to their vehicle after the altercation.
The Cowboys did not have a comment. However, sources said the team has talked with Joseph and is encouraging him to speak with police to discuss what he knows about the situation.
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
How many picks will the Chiefs actually use?
Later this month, the Chiefs will enter the NFL Draft with a league-leading 12 picks. They have two first-rounders, two second-rounders, two third-rounders, two fourth-rounders and four seventh-rounders. As the opening night of the draft nears, the Chiefs still have several needs to fill — namely at EDGE, wide receiver and defensive back.
General manager Brett Veach has shown a willingness to trade up to go get the player of his choosing in previous drafts — and now, he has more pick ammunition than ever. So how many of the 12 picks will the Chiefs make?
A third of the Chiefs’ fan base believes they will make eight selections (34%).