The Kansas City Chiefs, understandably, emphasized correcting their defensive deficiencies in the first round of the 2022 NFL draft. It started with trading up for Washington cornerback Trent McDuffie to restock a thin secondary, then with the 30th-overall pick the Chiefs took Purdue edge rusher George Karlaftis in an attempt to bolster a nearly non-existent pass rush.
With those two major needs addressed, Kansas City can look ahead to the second and third rounds of the draft on Day 2, where it should be able to find a few more starting-caliber contributors, or at least rotational pieces.
Biggest remaining needs
Entering this year’s draft, there were three obvious needs that the Chiefs had to address: edge rusher, cornerback and wide receiver. Regardless of how you order them, those were the glaring holes in the roster coming into this weekend.
Now, with two of them filled, the Chiefs can turn their attention to filling the other, satisfying secondary needs and adding depth to the roster.
Their options aren’t quite as robust now as they were before Thursday, because in order to move up for McDuffie they had to ship out one of their two third-round picks. Still, three of the next 73 picks is plenty of capital with which to find a contributing wide receiver, not to mention a safety or more help along either side of the trenches along the line of scrimmage.
Wide receiver is the biggest need left, though, which is a lucky break in a draft cycle that features a particularly deep class of pass catchers.
Best options available
None of the elite prospects from this year’s wide receiver class are still around, but there are still plenty of options for whatever specific boxes the Chiefs want to check with their next offensive weapon.
Should general manager Brett Veach and company want to take a player with a bigger body, the best options remaining are Georgia’s George Pickens and North Dakota State’s Christian Watson.
Pickens was considered by many to be worthy of a first-round pick (especially if your social media timeline includes fans of receiver-needy teams), but recently some off-field concerns popped up regarding the national champion, as seen in a piece by The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman. If any franchise is equipped to handle players with those kinds of issues, though, it’s the Chiefs.
Watson posted mind-blowing athletic testing scores and impressive stats for the Bison this year, such as 1,142 yards from scrimmage and eight total touchdowns. He’s a plus athlete with a massive frame at 6-foot-4, 208 pounds, but drops also plagued him at NDSU. There’s no doubt he’d fit the Chiefs’ recent trend of speedy, built receivers, though.
When it comes to smaller receivers, be on the lookout for Western Michigan’s Skyy Moore. A two-time first-team All-MAC honoree, Moore’s athletic testing was solid, but his 4.41 speed is his most enticing trait. He has strong hands and is a great separator, and would provide the Chiefs a changeup to the bigger-bodied guys on the roster like Marquez Valdes-Scantling and JuJu Smith-Schuster.
Outside of wide receiver, there are a handful of other intriguing prospects on both sides of the ball. On the defensive line, interior players like Houston’s Logan Hall or UConn’s Travis Jones would provide inside pass-rushing support, while safeties like Penn State’s Jaquan Brisker and Baylor’s Jalen Pitre would help solidify a rebuilt position group.
Don’t forget about the option of double dipping, either. You can’t ever have enough pass rushers, even if it’s a player taking a “medical redshirt” like Michigan’s David Ojabo, and more players who can cover can’t hurt, either, such as Auburn’s Roger McCreary.
Offensively, along the line there are a few interesting depth options. Depending on how the Chiefs view the futures of Orlando Brown and Lucas Niang, players like Central Michigan’s Bernhard Raimann or Zach Tom could provide future and/or developmental options.
Mock draft options
With these needs in mind, let’s take a look at how Day 2 could shake out for the Chiefs, using two different mock draft simulators along the way.
Our first Day 2 mock draft comes from the Pro Football Network simulator, and this one would be a home run for the Chiefs. They’re able to snag Pickens, and with that kind of talent at this stage of the draft you’ll look past some red flags. Then you get Pitre and his versatile style of play at strong safety, plus Kentucky’s Darian Kinnard can be either a swing tackle or third guard.
The best part of this second Day 2 mock draft is the No. 50 overall pick, USC’s Drake Jackson. That’s the aforementioned double dip, but it would be a major win for the Chiefs to grab another starting-caliber edge rusher with a top-50 pick. Kansas City has no depth at all on the edge now or in the future, so stockpiling makes sense. South Alabama’s Jalen Tolbert has shown the ability to consistently separate underneath, while the Chiefs also grab some offensive line depth with Arizona State’s Kellen Diesch.
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