In the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft, general manager Brett Veach and the Kansas City Chiefs were able to fill some holes on the roster by drafting cornerback Trent McDuffie with pick 21 after a slight trade up and edge rusher George Karlaftis with pick 30.
With picks 50, 62 and 103 remaining on Day 2 of the draft, let’s look at some of the players who the Chiefs might want to explore:
How the board looks
The Chiefs' next selection is 18 picks away — at pick 50. If the Chiefs stay put at 50, they will need to see some runs of other positions
The best-case scenario for the Chiefs is that the run on quarterbacks finally gets underway at the top of the second round. Quarterbacks Malik Willis, Desmond Ridder and Matt Corral remain on the board. After selecting their corner and edge, that next tier of players can go as well. Those players would include cornerbacks Andrew Booth Jr., Kyler Gordon and Roger McCreary and EDGE prospects Arnold Ebiketie, Logan Hall and Boye Mafe. If those nine players are all realistically go, we are halfway to the Chiefs’ selection.
Other players that have fallen that the Chiefs need to be selected before 50 are linebacker Nakobe Dean, running backs Breece Hall and Kenneth Walker III, and offensive lineman Cam Jurgens.
After filling holes at corner and edge rusher, the Chiefs will probably look for value at the receiver position.
Browsing the remaining receivers, there is still great value here. Georgia’s George Pickens, Western Michigan’s Skyy Moore and North Dakota State’s Christian Watson remain on the board and have all had first-round buzz leading into the draft. Each player is slightly different, but any would be a welcomed addition to the receiver room. If a run starts here, be on the lookout for a small trade-up to 40 through 45.
Other receivers I like after 50 are South Alabama’s Jalen Tolbert and Alabama’s John Metchie III.
If the Chiefs don’t go receiver with their next selection, they may have a few intriguing options. The Chiefs could have the opportunity to select another EDGE such as Michigan’s David Ojabo, USC Drake Jackson or Kentucky’s Josh Paschal. Doubling up with more athletes at the pass-rush position with a perceived higher upside could be a move worth considering.
After McDuffie, the Chiefs could still add to the secondary as well. Baylor’s Jalen Pitre is a perfect fit in defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s scheme.
Home run swing
I think that the Chiefs will select a receiver with their next pick and that it will be George Pickens. They’ve done their research on him and were able to bring him in to get to know him better. Pickens is a prototype “X” receiver that has the elite ball-tracking ability and elite short-area quickness. The thing that stood out to me watching him was how he planted his feet before catching the ball to set up defenders for missed tackles. There is already a ton of nuance to his game and the growth potential to a true No. 1 receiver.
Veach noted in his Thursday night presser that both their selections were only 21 years old and had a lot of projection left in them. Pickens turned 21 this past March. The runner-up selection would be Skyy Moore.
Don’t be shocked
After spending some capital in the trade for McDuffie, don’t be shocked if the Chiefs trade down from pick 62. If the Chiefs could get starters at their three pressing needs in the top 50, Veach may elect to move down from 62 and recoup a fourth or fifth-round pick for his troubles. This would give them more flexibility throughout the draft as they monitor players falling and value being available for depth.
Another thing to watch for is how the Chiefs view the offensive tackles. The Chiefs brought back Andrew Wylie and gave an update on Lucas Niang’s availability after his injury, but they may not be done addressing the position. If they move early on a tackle, that should raise the flags on how they feel about Niang moving forward. Tackles in this range would be Washington State’s Abraham Lucas and Louisiana's Max Mitchell.
In the 60-to-80 range, I really like safety Nick Cross, linebacker Troy Andersen and tight end Jelani Woods.
The bottom line
After anticipating a major trade-up, Veach did a great job of balancing the board, letting it fall to him and moving up to get his guy. But after landing starters in the first round, the Chiefs need to continue to find depth to fill out the roster with rotational pieces in critical spots.
The board is sitting pretty nice for the Chiefs right now going into the second and third rounds, and they still have the ammunition to move around to find the right pockets.
It’s going to be another exciting night.