In Monday’s “Football Morning in America” column for NBC Sports, well-respected (and plugged-in) NFL commentator Peter King weighed in on the first round of Thursday’s NFL Draft. King said he “expects a surprise” from the Jacksonville Jaguars with the first overall pick — but for the Kansas City Chiefs, he stayed in the safe pundit territory, projecting a wide receiver and safety coming to Kansas City from the 29th and 30th selections.
29. Kansas City Chiefs: WR Christian Watson, North Dakota State
I am going to have Kansas City keep both picks here, 29 and 30, because I don’t have a great idea of what to do with them … unless GM Brett Veach gets very bold and uses both and maybe something more to move up in range to get one of the best receivers in the draft. Kansas City lost Tyreek Hill and replaced him with lesser free agents; Green Bay lost Davante Adams and replaced him with no one except Sammy Watkins. Both teams are likely to try to make a score in the draft at receiver.
If the Chiefs don’t put a ransom together to move up to the eight-to-12 area of the first round, I think the 6-4 and blossoming Watson is a strong play here. He runs sub-4.4, he’s played in significant bad weather, and he averaged a huge 20.4 yards per catch against lesser competition. He could be the kind of receiver Andy Reid lets learn and play a small role this year, while getting him ready for 2023. The reward could be good.
30. Kansas City Chiefs: S Lewis Cine, Georgia
One of the great stories in this draft, and one of the players scouts like the most. Cine (pronounced “Seen”) was born in Haiti to a 16-year-old mom; it’s why he wore “16” at Georgia. His early life was split between Haiti and Florida, and he moved to Massachusetts to be with his dad for a few years, then finished high school in Dallas. That’s where he was tutored by Deion Sanders as a player and became a big-time recruit. At 6-2 ¼ and 200 pounds, he runs a 4.37 40-yard dash and hits like a strong safety. “What a lot of us like about him is he’s a natural leader, and he played his best in the biggest games,” said one GM. That includes being the defensive MVP in the national championship game against Alabama. Kansas City would be a good spot for him, and he could make a 2022 impact.
In King’s mock, Oregon EDGE Kayvon Thibodeaux lasts all the way until the 13th pick, where he is selected by the Seattle Seahawks after the Houston Texans swap first-round picks with them to grab Ohio State wide receiver Garrett Wilson. In my mind, that’s just the kind of situation that Kansas City general manager Brett Veach would find very difficult to resist: one of the draft’s top three edge rushers falling into the teens. That might be a bigger trade than he wants to make — but Thibodeaux falling that far could push him into action.
And if Veach manages to avoid his itchy trigger finger then, imagine how he’ll feel when pick 23 arrives and Florida State EDGE Jermaine Johnson II is still on the board? King has the Arizona Cardinals select Johnson there — but if that’s the way it plays out, I would expect they will have heard from Veach long before they send that card to the front desk.
By the 29th pick, Purdue’s George Karlaftis and Minnesota’s Boye Mafe are still on the board — and yet, King goes with Watson and Cine. To be sure, both are very good players at positions where the Chiefs could use some help. But I just have trouble believing that the man who said defensive line would be the team’s priority — and is coming into Thursday night with a dozen draft picks burning a hole in his pocket — wouldn’t jump at those earlier opportunities.
National Mock Draft Picks
|WR||Jahan Dotson||Penn State||9%|
|WR||Christian Watson||N. Dakota State||6%|
|CB||Andrew Booth Jr.||Clemson||3%|
|EDGE||Arnold Ebiketie||Penn State||3%|
|WR||Chris Olave||Ohio State||3%|
|WR||Skyy Moore||W. Michigan||2%|
|WR||Garrett Wilson||Ohio State||1%|
|DE||DeMarvin Leal||Texas A&M||1%|
|DE||Cameron Thomas||San Diego State||1%|
|EDGE||Jermaine Johnson II||Florida State||1%|
|OL||Bernhard Raimann||Central Michigan||1%|
|T||Kenyon Green||Texas A&M||1%|
|G||Zion Johnson||Boston College||1%|
National Mock Draft Positions
Which of these moves would you have made?
This poll is closed
Trade up to get Thibodeaux
Trade up to get Johnson
Take an EDGE with 29 or 30
None of the above