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NFL Draft Results: Chiefs select Washington State cornerback Jaylen Watson at No. 243

Kansas City makes a seventh-round pick selecting another cornerback they had in for a pre-draft visit.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: FEB 02 Reese’s Senior Bowl Practice Photo by Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Kansas City Chiefs have selected Washington State Cornerback Jaylen Watson with the 243rd pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.

6 feet 2 | 197 pounds | Washington State

Augusta, Georgia

Background: Watson has an interesting story. After playing wide receiver and cornerback in high school, he was a no-star recruit. He went to Ventura Community College in California, where he played cornerback and turned himself into a three-star junior-college recruit. After signing with USC, he was ruled academically ineligible. He had to move back home, working at a Wendy’s with his mom while improving his grades.

Fortunately, Washington State was still willing to bring him onto the team — and he went on to play 15 games over two seasons, totaling 44 tackles, two tackles for loss, one forced fumble, seven passes defended and two interceptions. He was named an honorable mention All-Pac 12 player in both 2020 and 2021.

He played 89% of his snaps at outside cornerback in 2021, rarely playing in the slot.

Strengths: Watson has good height and length, using it well as a press cornerback with good strength. He is good at disrupting routes at the start — and with his 4.51-second 40-yard dash speed, he also can keep up. He seems to be a willing run defender.

Weaknesses: With his playing style, he is likely to be an outside cornerback. His height can sometimes be a disadvantage; he’s not as quick-footed when sticking to a route. He has long speed, but not necessarily impressive change-of-direction skills.

How he fits with the Chiefs: Watson will compete for a roster spot as an outside cornerback, competing with the fringes of the roster — but he may be more than that. Rashad Fenton was drafted in the sixth round a few years ago and has developed well. Watson has the potential to have a similar ceiling. For now — with NFL size — he’s a good value pick in the seventh round.

Chiefs Draft Picks (10)

  • First round (21st): Washington cornerback Trent McDuffie
  • First round (30th): Purdue defensive end George Karlaftis
  • Second round (54th — from Patriots): Western Michigan wide receiver Skyy Moore
  • Second round (62nd): Cincinnati safety Bryan Cook
  • Third round (103rd — special comp pick): Wisconsin linebacker Leo Chenal
  • Fourth round (135th): Fayetteville State cornerback Joshua Williams
  • Fifth round (145th): Kentucky tackle Darian Kinnard
  • Seventh round (243rd): Washington State cornerback Jaylen Watson
  • Seventh round (251st): Rutgers running back Isaih Pacheco
  • Seventh round (259th): Marshall safety Nazeeh Johnson

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