2022 NFL Draft projections/needs: Kansas City Chiefs

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OK, let’s begin with the predicament. We’ve reached the onset of offseason exercises, and the Chiefs nonetheless have fairly a number of holes on their roster, whereas their competitors has solely grown harder. The NFL is turning into more and more unbalanced, with its weight closely tilted towards the AFC.

The excellent news? The Chiefs have some ammunition. They’ve 12 alternatives within the NFL Draft this week, which commences with the primary spherical Thursday and concludes with the ultimate 4 Saturday.

The Chiefs have lengthy most popular the best-player-available mannequin within the draft, however they don’t have that luxurious this yr, or at the very least not fully. There are too many wants and too few alternatives after the three-day draft to significantly handle all of them.

They do nonetheless have a little bit of wiggle room, although. Of their 12 alternatives, there are two within the first spherical (Nos. 29 and 30), two within the second, two within the third and two within the fourth. There shall be time to seek out affect gamers at positions of necessity.

So whereas they will need to have an edge rusher, their abundance of picks means they don’t essentially must draft an edge rusher first. There shall be choices on when and subsequently choices on who.

That’s all of the backdrop for this week. As they navigate the draft, right here’s what they need to prioritize (so as):

1. Edge rusher

For the entire speak of an unfathomable offensive collapse within the second half of the AFC Championship Recreation towards the Bengals, the cross rush escaped the criticism it deserved. The Bengals have been weak up entrance, and the Chiefs did so little to benefit from it, sacking Joe Burrow solely as soon as.

Inserting edge rusher atop the draft record, nonetheless, isn’t reacting to only one recreation. The Chiefs have been twenty ninth within the NFL with 31 sacks final yr.

A number of weeks into the offseason, they acknowledged a need to revamp the line of defense — that’s the place they like to construct their protection, in any case. However they’ve not but added a single participant on the sting. As of now, Frank Clark and Mike Danna occupy the highest of the depth chart at defensive finish.

Their division counterparts can all cite the place group as a power. Not in Kansas City. The Chiefs not solely want one affect edge rusher from this draft class — they most likely might use two. Heck, I wouldn’t be towards them utilizing No. 29 and No. 30 on gamers who can stress the quarterback, as long as that’s who’s subsequent on their board. You’ll discover a use for each.

2. Cornerback

It’s one other spot wherein the Chiefs have but to have interaction this offseason. They misplaced beginning quarterback Charvarius Ward to the 49ers in free company. Ward was an under-appreciated participant in his time in Kansas City. That leaves L’Jarius Sneed, Rashad Fenton and, effectively, whom precisely in a nickel protection? DeAndre Baker?

There’s some cause for optimism right here. The Chiefs have achieved exceedingly effectively at figuring out cornerback expertise within the draft, grabbing Sneed within the fourth spherical in 2020 and Fenton within the sixth in 2019.

That’s not essentially the design this time. They’d be superb utilizing higher draft capital to land a cornerback — however, like edge rusher, the cream of the crop tends to be passed by the primary half of the primary spherical. And the Chiefs have too many must sacrifice a load of picks to maneuver up and pluck one.

I simply don’t assume they will wait till Spherical 4 to seek out one this weekend.

3. Vast receiver

Properly, in contrast to the primary two on this record, there’s been rather a lot of motion within the broad receiver room already this offseason. The Chiefs traded Tyreek Hill to Miami; they let Byron Pringle (Bears) and Demarcus Robinson (Raiders) stroll; they signed JuJu Smith-Schuster to a one-year contract; they usually signed Marquez Valdes-Scantling to a three-year deal.

However they might nonetheless use one other weapon.

Not simply this yr.


Smith-Schuster’s contract is only for 2022, and Mecole Hardman will develop into an unrestricted free agent after the season. Which leaves Valdes-Scantling as the one receiver locked up for 2023

So, yeah, they want one other man right here. And, no, it doesn’t must be a like-for-like alternative for Hill.

4. Security

The Chiefs handed out their largest assured contract of the offseason to a security, after they signed Justin Reid from Houston.

So why is that this place on the record?

The Chiefs use three-safety units incessantly, they usually misplaced two of the three — Tyrann Mathieu (although he’s nonetheless unsigned) and Dan Sorensen (Saints). No matter your ideas on Sorensen, he was on the sphere for 62% of the snaps final season and 88% the yr earlier than. Somebody has to take these snaps.

Another reason to place this on the record: Juan Thornhill is getting into the ultimate yr of his rookie contract.

Ideally, the Chiefs might discover a participant able to taking part in each cornerback and security, which might permit them to toggle their units. Daxton Hill from Michigan matches the invoice, however he may cost a type of two first-rounders.

5. Sort out

It doesn’t must be within the first spherical, and even the second, however in some unspecified time in the future over a dozen alternatives, the Chiefs must take a proper deal with. Lucas Niang’s damage leaves reliable questions on his future effectiveness, even when they anticipate him again to apply towards the top of coaching camp, and Andrew Wylie re-signed on only a one-year deal.

In a super world, the Chiefs would discover a beginning proper deal with within the draft and permit Wylie to be a swing lineman who can fill in at three, perhaps 4 spots in case it’s mandatory. That could be a bit optimistic, contemplating the top-three wants on this record require extra urgency.

Twelve picks, although.

An opportunity to handle all of them, and handle them early.

Sam McDowell is a sports activities columnist for The Star. He has beforehand coated the Chiefs, Royals, Sporting Kansas City and sports activities enterprise.

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