With their division rivals making a lot more noise than the Chiefs did in free agency, the pressure was turned up on Kansas City to make good use of the rich collection of draft capital it possessed this year after parting with Tyreek Hill. General manager Brett Veach and head coach Andy Reid did not disappoint. I identified receiver, edge rusher and cornerback as their three biggest needs entering the draft, and they addressed those positions with their top three selections, finding solid value with each pick. There was some handwringing when McDuffie’s arm measured shorter than 30 inches at the NFL Scouting Combine, but a couple NFL.com draft experts didn’t sour on him: Daniel Jeremiah called him one of the safest players in the draft and Lance Zierlein likened him to Packers Pro Bowl CB Jaire Alexander. Sign me up for that. Jeremiah’s comp for Karlaftis is Ryan Kerrigan, another former Boilermaker and a guy who consistently produced double-digit sacks in his prime years. Karlaftis is not considered the biggest playmaker versus the run, but there’s no doubt about his motor and he’s here to get after passers anyway. On Day 2, finding Moore waiting for them at No. 54 was a bit of a surprise and a major boon for Kansas City. NFL Network analytics expert Cynthia Frelund locked in Moore as the best value pick of Rounds 2-3. The Chiefs added three more potential future starters on defense before the fourth round was over, nabbing a couple hard-hitting enforcer types in Cook and Chenal and a long corner with good instincts in Williams. Don’t sleep on the Chiefs’ seventh-round RB, either. Pacheco is an all-gas, no-brakes runner. Overall, it was an excellent draft weekend for a team looking to fend off some very hungry challengers to the AFC West throne.
New Orleans native signs with the Saints on 504 Day ⚜️ pic.twitter.com/wBlHmV1xiX— New Orleans Saints (@Saints) May 4, 2022
That all earned him another chance to prove himself, this time with a team that’s made four straight appearances in the AFC Championship game.
“I am so excited coming into a franchise like this,” Chenal said via the team’s YouTube page. “The culture is amazing. They want to win, want to win and run it back. I am excited to learn everything I can about the city, the organization, the history, the culture. I am definitely new and so eager to learn. I’m so excited.”
There were 11 inside linebackers taken before Chenal went off the board at pick No. 103, the third to last in the third round. ESPN NFL Draft analyst Mel Kiper said, “He’s a thumper, he’s a throwback, a 1985-style middle linebacker who would’ve probably been a first-round pick if it were the 80s. This kid really gets after you.”
A ton of different rookies, drafted and undrafted will be in attendance, including a family member of a current player on the team. As first reported by Draft HBCU’s Maliik Obee, the Chiefs have invited Alabama State DT Christian Clark to rookie minicamp. Clark is the younger brother of Chiefs DE Frank Clark.
Listed at 6-1 and 322 pounds, Christian is a run-stopping defensive tackle who was tough for SWAC offensive linemen to move. He was also tough for them to block in the passing game. In 2021 at ASU, the younger Clark played both spring and fall football. He earned First-Team All-SWAC honors for the second time during the spring, after recording 15 total tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, a forced fumble and a pass batted in five games played.
During the fall, he recorded 40 total tackles, seven tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, two blocked kicks and one pass batted in 11 games played.
6. Melvin Ingram
The three-time Pro Bowler helped solidify the Chiefs’ defense last season after being traded from Pittsburgh. Though he is no longer a headliner, Ingram is still a very capable pass rusher who is also stout against the run. He would be an ideal fit on a team that could use some depth at pass rusher. Ingram, as he showed in Kansas City, is also still capable of being an every-down player if called upon to do so.
4. Kansas City Chiefs
2021 season: 12-5, lost in AFC Championship
Colin’s thoughts: ”I love that they added JuJu Smith-Schuster, drafted Skyy Moore, and Ronald Jones at running back. I do think this has a chance to be one of the better defenses they’ve had, but listen: They’re in a tough division. I don’t think that hurts them, but it’s the reality of where they’re at. I think Kansas City is really good, but I don’t think they’re as good as the team right above them.”
Tier 1: Bona Fide Franchise QBs
2021: Patrick Mahomes, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Lamar Jackson, Josh Allen, Russell Wilson, Justin Herbert, Deshaun Watson
2022: Mahomes, Brady, Rodgers, Jackson, Allen, Wilson, Herbert, Joe Burrow, Matt Stafford
So Brady was nearly out of this tier … but then he ended his ever-so-brief retirement. At some point he and Rodgers will hit a wall and fall apart I suppose, but who knows when that’s coming. Both were MVP candidates, again. Allen is coming off a masterful season, Mahomes is Mahomes and Wilson got the change of scenery he was seeking and will transform the Broncos into contenders. Herbert has all the tools to win big and will start stringing more Ws together this season.
The only reason Burrow was not on this list this time a year ago was because he was rehabbing from major knee surgery. It was fair to wonder when he would be fully back and when he would overcome the mental and physical aspect of the process, to say nothing of him having to play behind a shoddy offensive line. Well, we all know how that went. Amazing. And for years people would look at this column and rip me for having Stafford too high in their estimation. People thought I’d over-valued him. Ask Sean McVay about that.
As for Deshaun Watson’s slip out of this tier, I have some thoughts. More on that here.
So I was the feature guy and then they brought in Priest (Holmes),” Richardson began. “And all of a sudden, I actually went to Coach (Dick) Vermeil. So, I went to Coach Vermeil, and I said, ‘You know what, we got to get Priest Holmes on the field. I want to go back to fullback. They just paid me like a tailback and I was like the feature running back. But I saw in Priest who came from Baltimore and was like lighting it up. . . I told Priest, ‘Hey, man, let’s talk to Coach Vermeil.’ He’s like, ‘What’s going on?’ So I take them upstairs and say, ‘Hey, Coach, Priest needs to be the feature back,’ and Coach Vermeil was looking at me like, ‘What are you talking about?’ I said, ‘Listen, Priest needs to be the feature back. I’ll go back to fullback. And Coach Vermeil was looking like, ‘I’ve never had a player ever who was that unselfish? Who would do the best thing for the team?’ So for me, it was like, me, I’m getting 20 carries a game, you know, have my biggest game against the Broncos 120 yards.”
Around the NFL
Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones was involved in a minor car accident Wednesday night in Dallas and taken to a local hospital for precautionary measures, a source confirmed to ESPN.
Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said in a text message to ESPN that his father was back home and “all good.”
WFAA, citing multiple Dallas police sources, reported that Jones was in an accident just before 8:10 p.m. CT near Wolf and Harry Hines Boulevard. Emergency crews were called to the scene and Jones reportedly sustained minor injuries.
As the Bengals started voluntary offseason workouts on Monday, cornerback Mike Hilton said the team is looking to prove to skeptics that the defending AFC champions are legitimate contenders. Hilton says he has a hunch why people believe the Bengals are a one-hit wonder.
“Because it’s the Bengals — point-blank, period,” Hilton said. “When you think of the Bengals, you’re like, ‘Oh, the Bengals,’ you know? But now, with this group of guys that we have and the coaches that we have, we’re really turning this organization around. And we’re just trying to get the respect we deserve.”
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
Of course, pre-draft evaluations of prospects are entirely in the eye of the beholder; draft grades vary widely from source to source. That’s why just prior to the draft, we published a consensus ranking of the top players available that averages five major prospect rankings. That gives us a reasonably good idea about how the draft might fall.
Then we can estimate the quality of each pick by simply subtracting the overall selection number from the player’s pre-draft ranking. If the result is a positive number, it’s a reach. If it’s a negative number, it’s a bargain. Then we can create an average for each team, suggesting how well they found perceived value in the draft.
But because the number of both reaches and bargains substantially increases after the third round — a natural consequence of teams having more information about draft prospects than outside analysts do — we’ll consider only the first three rounds. And since it wouldn’t be fair to judge a team that found bargains with just one or two picks in those rounds to another team that had five selections, we’ll also limit our calculations to teams that had a minimum of three choices in Rounds 1-3.