Washington CB Trent McDuffie (No. 21 overall)
Purdue Edge George Karlaftis (No. 20 overall)
Analysis: Tyreek Hill is a special talent, but Andy Reid has always been confident in the ability of his organization to make up for the loss of excellent players. Getting a haul of draft picks from the Dolphins in return for Hill gives Reid another chance to prove that belief is correct.
The Chiefs traded up eight spots to select McDuffie. While there was a lot of discussion about whether he had adequate arm length to be an NFL corner, McDuffie’s simply a versatile, tough and intelligent defender outside and inside, filling a big roster need for Kansas City.
Karlaftis reminds me of former Chief Jared Allen, a powerful rusher who uses his hands as well as any edge rusher prospect I’ve seen in recent years. While he’s not an elite bender on the edge, he uses leverage and violent movements to win outside. It’s just a solid pick for the Chiefs, who were in need of a running mate outside for veteran Frank Clark.
TOPEKA, (KSNT)— Kansas lawmakers took final action on a plan to legalize sports betting, after an overnight session, extending into early Friday morning.
The Kansas senate voted to pass Senate Bill 84 with 21 lawmakers voting in favor and 13 against, after the House signed off on the latest changes to the plan. The bill now heads to the governor’s desk.
Supporters of the bill are hoping to bring new opportunities to the state, setting aside money to attract professional sports teams in the state. This comes as there’s been talks of a potential Kansas City Chiefs move.
“If you had a football team in Western Wyandotte county, how many places would have a football team, a world class soccer team, casino, a speedway, and all the shopping amenities, and minor league baseball…in just that geographical area…,” said Sen. Rob Olson, a republican from Olathe, who chairs the Senate Fed and State committee.
WORST DRAFT: 1995
A few candidates here but in 1995 the Chiefs badly misfired on their first-round pick, Michigan offensive lineman Trezelle Jenkins at No. 31, and things didn’t get much better.
Jenkins played in nine games with one career start.
Of the eight players drafted, two had NFL careers of more than 17 games. Wide receiver Tamarack Vanover from Florida State was a solid return specialist with eight kick and punt return touchdowns for the Chiefs. The final draft pick, Tom Barndt from Pittsburgh, switched from defensive to offensive line and played for six seasons. From a production standpoint, that’s about it. Hey, not every draft delivers.
“He’s young, relentless, really dedicated to his craft,” Chiefs general manager Brett Veach said of Karlaftis. “All the people at Purdue said he has his best football in front of him.”
Football came late to Karlaftis. He was born in Athens, Greece, and moved to the United States at age 13. Water polo was his first love in sports, but he picked up football quickly.
“I’ve been playing football only for about six or seven years,” Karlaftis said. “It’s been a crazy ride.”
Now it’s a ride that will continue in Kansas City, where Karlaftis will be given every opportunity to be part of the team’s defensive end rotation.
How he fits: The Chiefs love versatile defensive backs who can be effective in press-man and zone coverage. McDuffie offers plenty of versatility and athleticism to bolster the Chiefs’ secondary, a part of the defense that needed another player after veteran cornerback Charvarius Ward signed a three-year contract with the San Francisco 49ers. As a junior last season, McDuffie recorded 35 tackles, six pass breakups, four tackles for loss and one sack in 11 games, earning first-team All-Pac 12 honors. He missed one game with an ankle injury.
McDuffie didn’t create a takeaway last season, but he is known for having outstanding athleticism, fluid footwork and the intelligence to be a playmaker. He ran the 40-yard dash at the scouting combine in an impressive 4.44 seconds. The Chiefs love to blitz some of their cornerbacks from the perimeter and McDuffie was excellent in those opportunities, as he forced a fumble in a game against Stanford. While he is a reliable tackler, one of the few concerns with McDuffie is that he lacks length and size, which could result in taller receivers outjumping him for the reception.
In a pass-happy league, the Chiefs will always welcome another quality cornerback, especially in an AFC West division that features star receivers such as Davante Adams, Mike Williams, Keenan Allen and Courtland Sutton. McDuffie’s arrival should allow defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo to rotate him and veterans L’Jarius Sneed and Rashad Fenton as the Chiefs’ top-three cornerbacks.
Round 1, Pick 21: Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington
The Chiefs did make a trade up in the first round. But it wasn’t for a wide receiver, as was originally anticipated. Instead, the Chiefs traded up to 21st overall to take Washington cornerback Trent McDuffie.
McDuffie is a surprising pick for the Chiefs, as he doesn’t perfectly fit their length thresholds at the cornerback position. Steve Spagnuolo generally prefers longer cornerbacks, and McDuffie has arms under 30” long. That said, McDuffie has elite short-area athleticism and explosiveness. He’s a very intelligent defender who can play in the boundary or the slot. He can still develop as a playmaker, and Kaiir Elam is higher on my board, but McDuffie is a solid pick.
Round 1, Pick 30: George Karlaftis, EDGE, Purdue
While everyone and their half-sibling had the Chiefs picking a wide receiver in first-round mock drafts, Kansas City came out and used both picks on the defensive side of the ball. They first traded up for the 21st pick, which they used to select McDuffie. And now, after staying put at 30, they select Purdue edge rusher George Karlaftis.
Karlaftis fits the Chiefs’ desired mold at edge rusher. He’s a power rusher, capable of generating immense force at the point of attack. He also has great explosive capacity, with a 38” vertical. That burst doesn’t always show up, but Karlaftis has flashed the necessary athleticism to go along with heavy hands and a hot motor in pursuit. If he can glean more athleticism from his frame, he can be a consistent disruptor for Kansas City.
McDuffie Plays Bigger Than His Size
McDuffie, Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner and Derek Stingley Jr. are generally considered the top three cornerback prospects in the draft. Listed at 5-foot-11, 195 pounds, McDuffie is the smallest of the three, but nobody questions his toughness. In his most recent mock draft, ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. had the Ravens going with McDuffie at No. 14, and listed his tackling ability as one of his strengths. McDuffie had 25 solo tackles last season and 37 solo tackles as a freshman in 2019.
On ”The Lounge” podcast, NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah said McDuffie is likely a safer bet than Stingley, who is immensely talented but hasn’t been as durable. “He’s just a really, really good football player,” Jeremiah said. “He put better tape out there the last two years than Stingley has.”
His Maturity Is Impressive
McDuffie handled himself well during his media session at the NFL Combine, and apparently did the same when he met privately with teams. Albert Breer of Sport Illustrated said teams were impressed with McDuffie maturity and football IQ.
“You hear the way this kid just knocked his meetings out of the park, and I’m not talking about one or two teams,” Breer said via nbcsports.com. “It’s every single team I’ve talked to has said the guy’s Mensa level when it comes to explaining football, explaining what he was doing out there, you see the versatility. Again, didn’t play heavy man for a first-round corner in college, but has experience having played both, so you have that versatility.”
Jeff Brohm is one of those coaches who tells it like it is. So, when the Purdue head coach says one of his former players is a “surefire 10-plus-year all-pro,” it’s time to listen. And that’s the first thing he said when asked about edge rusher George Karlaftis.
“He’s going to be able to help right away,” Brohm told The Athletic. “He’s durable. He plays as hard as anybody I’ve ever coached. He works harder than anybody I’ve ever coached.”
Brohm’s words about Karlaftis are both a prediction and a warning shot to the NFL. In taking the former Purdue star with the No. 30 pick of the 2022 NFL Draft, the Kansas City Chiefs are getting a player who could end up being the best pass rusher in a draft stocked with elite talent at the position. If it’s possible that a first-round pick floated under the radar, Karlaftis did just that.
He tallied 14.5 sacks and 30.5 tackles over the course of a 27-game career at Purdue that spanned the past three seasons. As a junior last year, he had five sacks, 11.5 TFLs and three forced fumbles to go along with a blocked field-goal and a 56-yard fumble return for a touchdown. The Athletic named him a second-team All-American, and the Big Ten named him first-team all-conference.
Legendary chef and author Anthony Bourdain famously wrote the following in his book Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly: “Good food is very often, even most often, simple food.” With all due respect to Bourdain, that is not always true, something that I learned thanks to this video posted in the lead-up to the 2022 NFL Draft featuring Purdue defensive lineman and prospective first-round selection George Karlaftis.
“I get a big bowl, brown rice, I get probably extra or double brown rice,” Karlaftis said when asked about his go-to order at the fast casual restaurant. “I get triple steak, usually, and I get a bunch of cheese on it. That’s it. Really simple.”
Simple. There’s that word, the common link between Bourdain’s thesis and Karlaftis’ order. Rice, lots of it. Steak, more of it. Cheese. It is, objectively, a simple order, but is simple good in this regard? Well, I have nothing else to do this afternoon in the lead-up to the Draft and can build in 30 minutes for a nap while I wait for pepcid to kick in and save my gastrointestinal tract from sheer agony, so why not find out?
Simple, again, one would think, but there is a layer of complexity to this. Because I don’t want anyone making fun of me to my face like a good poster, I attempted to order this meal on my phone through the Chipotle app. The catch: It would not open, for some reason (my hunch is the microphones that are used to track the things I say so my ads on Instagram can be personalized picked up on this and tried to save me from myself). Ok, fine, let’s go through my computer, because God as my witness, I am not looking a human in the eyes as I do this.
Around the NFL
PHILADELPHIA — The Eagles shook up the first round of the NFL draft Thursday with a blockbuster trade, acquiring star receiver A.J. Brown from the Tennessee Titans for the 18th and 101st overall picks.
Brown, who had been seeking a new deal, has agreed to a four-year, $100 million contract with the Eagles that includes $57 million guaranteed, sources told ESPN’s Kimberley Martin.
The 24-year-old Brown was entering the final year of his rookie deal with the Titans and was scheduled to make a base salary of just under $4 million in 2022.
“This wasn’t my fault,” Brown told ESPN’s Turron Davenport. “I wanted to stay, but the deal they offered was a low offer.”
The first night of the 2022 NFL Draft felt like Christmas morning for Eagles center Jason Kelce.
During a live stream with Bleacher Report on Thursday night, Kelce found out that the Titans traded receiver A.J. Brown to Philadelphia — and his celebratory reaction is hilarious.
“Howie Roseman is working that Howie Roseman magic, that’s what’s going on,” an excited Kelce said about the Eagles’ general manager.
“He’s swindling. He’s moving up in the draft to get Jordan Davis and now he’s traded to get an unbelievable receiver. I’m like on Christmas right now.”
Kelce shot out of his seat during the live stream, yelling, “This is big!” to which host Adam Lefkoe said, “Kelce, sit down. We’re looking at your belly button.”
In a draft-night shocker, the Titans traded Brown to the Eagles for the No. 18 pick and a third-round pick. The Pro Bowl wideout joins Philadelphia’s young standout receiver in DeVonta Smith — whom the Eagles selected with the tenth-overall pick in last year’s draft.
“This is instantly an upgrade for the offense,” Kelce said about the acquisition of Brown. “I can’t tell you how much this is going to make us better. Howie, he is a man on a mission. He’s making things happen and I’m a big fan. Here we go baby! Here we go!”
The first round of the 2022 NFL Draft was full of surprises. The Jacksonville Jaguars tabbed Georgia defensive lineman Trevon Walker at No. 1 overall after a phenomenal combine performance. Cornerbacks went No. 3 and No. 4 overall when the Texans took Derek Stingley Jr. and New York Jets took Sauce Gardner, respectively. There were also multiple trades, including the Philadelphia Eagles swooping in to grab superstar wide receiver A.J. Brown from the Titans, and the Arizona Cardinals acquiring Hollywood Brown from the Ravens.
There were several early winners from round one. The Giants got a pass rusher with sky-high upside in Kayvon Thibodeaux and then added arguably the draft’s top offensive tackle in Evan Neal. The Eagles traded up two spots to get a monster defensive tackle in Georgia’s Jordan Davis. There was also a major run on wide receivers, with six WRs going in the first round. Five players from Georgia’s national championship defense were also picked in the first round.
Then there was the Pittsburgh Steelers grabbing the first quarterback at No. 20 overall when they selected Pitt’s Kenny Pickett. Liberty QB Malik Willis did not get selected in round one.
Our James Dator graded every first round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. Find the full first round results here, and bet on the rest of the draft at DraftKings Sportsbook.
These are the best players still on the board for day two, which begins on Friday in Las Vegas at 7 p.m. ET. The rankings are pulled from the mock draft database.
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
When you’re the keeper of 12 picks in the NFL Draft (like the Kansas City Chiefs were as the first round opened on Thursday night), it is nearly impossible to imagine and play out every angle. Led by general manager Brett Veach, the Chiefs tried to do just that.
As it turned out, they failed. And that was a very good thing.
“With our first pick, it’s funny because, every year, we go through what we think [is] every scenario possible, and we didn’t go over McDuffie’s scenario,” laughed Veach during his post-Round 1 press conference.
The “McDuffie scenario,” as the general manager described, was Washington cornerback Trent McDuffie falling to the 20s — and to be exact, to pick No. 21. Before the draft began, Veach had revealed that Kansas City’s personnel department had identified 18 true first-round players. McDuffie was one of them.
Believing that a player of his caliber wouldn’t be available at pick 29, Veach called the New England Patriots, who were willing to swap 21 for 29, one of the Chiefs’ two third-rounders and one of their fourth-rounders. Veach drafted his guy.
“When you make a move, you’re going to do that for a guy that you have in that [first-round] range, so we were able to do that,” said Veach. “I think the fact that we were aggressive to some degree shows [and] kind of tipped your hand on what you thought of McDuffie. We certainly thought he was one of those players, and that’s why we made that move.”
Veach called the 21-year-old to inform him of the good news. It was more than just the player waiting to hear it.
“My family’s huge,” said McDuffie, speaking to the local Kansas City via Zoom media after Round 1. “I feel like we’re the closest family ever, so during the draft, I wanted to make sure my aunts, my uncles, my grandparents — just everybody was there, everybody who supported me growing up throughout my football career was able to come enjoy this moment with me. When I got the call, I saw Kansas City Chiefs, and I was like, ‘Hold on. Let me step out.’ Talking to coach Reid, talking to Spagnuolo, talking to the Hunt family, and all of a sudden my family starts screaming. And I’m like, ‘Hold on. What am I missing here? What’s going on?’ I run inside and of course, my name popped up on the screen, and everybody started screaming.”
A tweet to make you think
Round 1, pick 30: meet Purdue EDGE George Karlaftis pic.twitter.com/piqymXZLdg— Arrowhead Pride (@ArrowheadPride) April 29, 2022