1 - Buffalo Bills
We should take a moment to thank the scheduling gods for delivering a rematch of the best game of the 2021 season, and perhaps ever. Add in the fact an overtime coin toss between these two teams influenced the league to change its postseason overtime rules and you have a matchup rich in storylines. Allen and Mahomes are the new faces of the NFL and both teams enter 2022 with visions of kissing the Lombardi Trophy in February. Only one can get there, though, and they might have to go through the other to do so. This regular-season meeting could tell us a whole lot about how the postseason could shake — and we can guarantee a primetime setting and the football world turning its collective attention to Arrowhead Stadium for this one.
Kansas City Chiefs: Cornerback
The Chiefs landed on every list of draft winners over the weekend after making 10 picks in total. They added to their secondary by using a first-round pick on Trent McDuffie, an undersized but talented corner from Washington. But you need three good corners to survive against the NFL’s best offenses, and even if the rookie contributes right away, Kansas City has only two. (Plus, because of size concerns, McDuffie might be better suited for the slot, leaving a hole on the outside.)
Lonnie Johnson Jr., a 2019 second-round pick whom Kansas City traded for this week, could help fill the void. But Johnson wasn’t very good in Houston, and his college tape was underwhelming, so there’s little hope for a turnaround. And the team’s top corner, L’Jarius Sneed, is solid but not a true no. 1. It’s usually hard to find one of those guys this late into the offseason, but some bad cap management in New York could make one available at a reduced price.
Solution: Trade for James Bradberry
The Giants are in the red cap-wise and still need to sign their draft picks. Trading Bradberry could save New York just over $12 million—and if the Chiefs don’t want to give up a Day 3 pick to get him, they could just wait for the Giants to release Bradberry, which will probably happen if they can’t find a trade partner. Bradberry would slot in as Kansas City’s top corner and give defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo someone he can trust to hold up in man coverage against more physical receivers. That was an issue last season, and the 5-foot-11,194-pound McDuffie likely won’t solve it.
While the two Scarlet Knights didn’t get an opportunity to play together in New Brunswick, Burton is quite familiar with the Chiefs’ new running back.
“I am familiar with him,” Burton told Chiefs Wire in an exclusive interview. “I missed playing with him at Rutgers, but the years that I’ve gone back for a spring game or spring practices in my offseason, I have been able to meet with him, talk with him, watch him practice. I talked to the coaches who were there about him and things like that. I definitely know him and I’m very familiar with him.”
When the Chiefs draft a player, they typically have a cut-up or highlights of that player that are made available for the rest of the team. In the case of Pacheco, Burton already knew exactly the type of player and person that the team was getting when they turned in their draft card.
“He is a physical, hard-nosed runner, who also has great speed,” Burton said of Pacheco. “When you watch his tape, he’s running away from guys. From a physical standpoint, he has the tools, and I noticed that probably two years ago when I was at a Rutgers practice.”
TEAMS PROJECTED TO RECEIVE 2 PICKS
Kansas City Chiefs
Projected compensatory picks: One in Round 3; one in Round 7.
Key free-agent additions: Justin Reid, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, JuJu Smith-Schuster.
Comp-pick analysis: The Chiefs lost four qualifying free agents but signed three. The contract cross-outs left Reed as a departure who will bring a seventh-rounder. Kansas City will also land its second third-round pick for the Chicago Bears hiring Ryan Poles as GM.
30. Kansas City Chiefs
Nolan Smith, OLB, Georgia
The 6-foot-3, 235-pound defender’s sack production isn’t overwhelming (3.5 in 2021 and 8.5 over three seasons), but he forced three fumbles last year and has a lot of upside. I’m excited to see what he can do in 2022 with much of the Georgia defense heading to the NFL. Smith could help the Chiefs keep the AFC West’s talented quarterbacks in check.
Kansas City Chiefs: Bryan Cook, S
Round 2, No. 62 overall | College: Cincinnati
It is difficult to be critical of Kansas City’s draft when it had some of my favorites selections in George Karlaftis, Skyy Moore and Darian Kinnard. General manager Brett Veach did well to supplement the defensive side of the ball with five of the team’s first six selections, but Cook did not carry that level of value to me.
Around the NFL
The (Hollywood) Hills may have eyes — or at least they did on Thursday.
Free-agent linebacker Kyle Van Noy tweeted a trio of wide-eyed emojis in the morning, and Chargers defensive tackle Sebastian Joseph-Day followed Van Noy with his own set of intrigued eyeballs (before he eventually deleted the tweet). The reason became evident soon thereafter: Van Noy was meeting with the Chargers, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported. And a few hours later the team made it official by announcing that Van Noy was signing with Los Angeles.
Van Noy began his career in Detroit before the Lions traded him to New England in 2016, where he became an important part of a Patriots defense that reached the Super Bowl in 2016, 2017 and 2018, winning two of the three. Van Noy parlayed that success into a four-year, $51 million deal with the Miami Dolphins in 2020, but lasted just one season in South Florida before being released and returning to the Patriots.
“We’re always competing,” Carroll said, giving one of his stock responses to such questions. “I’m not saying anything you didn’t think I was going to say, but fortunately that’s always been the way we’ve operated, and it fits again. So we’re looking. I don’t see us making a trade for anybody at all. I don’t see that happening. But we’re certainly going to continue to be open to chances to help our club, and meanwhile we’re just going to be battling and competing our tails off. There’s always possibilities, so we keep open to that.”
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
Nothing in Pacheco’s life has come easily. When he was a junior in high school, his older brother Tavaris was stabbed to death. A year later, his sister Celeste — a single mother of three — was murdered in her home by the father of one of her children.
Pacheco leaned into football as an outlet to get him through the dark hours,
“I just go home, do a couple push-ups to relieve a little of the anger,” Pacheco said. “When I get on the (football) field, I’m just a whole different person. I want to be here for my players, I’m a leader, I want to make things happen.”
It was his late brother Tavaris who got Pacheco into playing football.
“He encouraged me to play football as a kid and he never got the opportunity to see me play here. Having an opportunity to play ball, it helps me a lot not worrying about the tragedies that happened. It makes me want to go harder.’’
“I play football for them,’’ he said. “My family had a lot of ups and downs. When my brother first passed and then my sister passed a year later, it really hurt my mom deep inside. I’m the youngest one out of all my brothers and sisters and I kind of bring that smile to my mom’s face when I’m out here on this field just grinding away, taking care of my school work and showing what I have to do to get to that next level.”
A tweet to make you think
For a record fifth time and second year in a row @TomBrady holds the Top 50 followed by @PatrickMahomes + @JoshAllenQB.— NFLPA (@NFLPA) May 5, 2022
Find out who made the full list here: https://t.co/6pMUcINvZE. pic.twitter.com/c21AV6z5No