clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

AP Draft Room: Evaluating recent high-profile mock draft picks for the Chiefs

On the first episode of AP Draft Room, we analyzed the prospects being tied to the Chiefs in industry mock drafts.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Georgia v Vanderbilt Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

It is officially NFL Draft season — and we’re ready to analyze every aspect of the process over the next two months.

Each Friday, the “AP Draft Room” podcast will drop a new episode that addresses prospects, team needs and other storylines. I’m the emcee of the show, which will rotate guests and co-hosts to bring some different perspectives.

On the first show, film analyst Caleb James joined me to get a big-picture view of the Kansas City Chiefs’ offseason and the draft class.

He and Nate Christensen also joined me on this week’s “AP Film Room” show on YouTube, where we took our weekly look at prospect film. This week, we examined a group of offensive tackles.

But on the first “AP Draft Room” podcast, Caleb and I went through some recent high-profile mock drafts.

Here are three that we discussed.’s Daniel Jeremiah: Georgia edge rusher Nolan Smith

One of the most trustworthy voices during the NFL Draft process had the Chiefs addressing their need for a speedy edge rusher by selecting Smith.

He was a big part of Georgia’s national championship team in 2021, electing to return in 2022 as a true senior. On the edge, he plays from a stand-up alignment so he can drop into coverage when needed. That athleticism translates to his pass rushing, where he explodes up the arc and uses that speed as a foundation for the rest of his rushing plan.

Smith tore his pectoral muscle late in the season, prematurely ending a campaign where he was pressuring the quarterback on 18.3% of his pass rush opportunities, per PFF.

ESPN’s Todd McShay: Maryland offensive tackle Jaelyn Duncan

McShay projected the Chiefs would address the pass protection for quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Duncan has been Maryland’s starting left tackle for four seasons.

First impressions told me that he would be more of a project than an immediate solution in either tackle position. Duncan has rare foot movement, allowing him to get on blocks quickly and take away defenders’ angles. However, that needs to be paired with more power — both in his legs and in his hands.

Duncan may be more of a project — but he is one who does have a high, intriguing ceiling.

The Athletic’s Dane Brugler: Ohio State wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba

Although his mock draft was written before the Senior Bowl, Brugler is a voice to to which we should listen during this cycle. He projected one of college football’s most prolific wide receivers to Kansas City.

Smith-Njigba broke out as a true sophomore in 2021, setting school records for receptions and receiving yards being in a receiving corps with two first-round picks from last year’s draft: the New York Jets’ Garrett Wilson and the New Orleans Saints’ Chris Olave. Even before he was eligible, he combined good size, length with elusiveness with short-area burst to be an intriguing draft prospect.

In 2022, Smith-Njigba had to deal with a hamstring injury that limited him to three games. His sophomore year has shown that he could be the primary target in a high-powered passing game.

How to listen to Arrowhead Pride podcasts

Arrowhead Pride podcasts are available on Amazon Alexa, Apple, Google, Spotify, and Stitcher. Please rate and review, as this helps us grow AP Radio to reach more Chiefs fans all over the world!

Make sure you subscribe, so you don’t miss an episode.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Arrowhead Pride Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your Kansas City Chiefs news from Arrowhead Pride