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Chiefs’ 2022 NFL Draft Grades: Day One

The Chiefs made two selections in the first round of this year’s NFL Draft. After entering the night with the 29th and 30th selections in the draft, the Chiefs made a trade with the New England Patriots. The trade saw the Patriots send pick 21 to Kansas City in exchange for the Chiefs’ 2022 first, third, and fourth-round picks. With their two first-round selections, the Chiefs selected cornerback Trent McDuffie from Washington and defensive end George Karlaftis.

The draft selections give the Chiefs two strong prospects that should immediately supplement the team’s roster in the 2022 season.

Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington

Trent McDuffie was the third-best cornerback in the draft. By trading up for McDuffie, the Chiefs snagged their replacement for Charvarius Ward in a player that could be much, much better. Not only was McDuffie the number three corner in the draft, but the drop-off from three to four was substantial. Trent McDuffie is a Week One starter in the NFL. He brings true shut-down corner potential to a Chiefs’ secondary that has been good at times but struggled with consistency and coverage over the top.

The moment Trent McDuffie got drafted by the Chiefs was incredible 🔥 @trent_mcduffie | @UW_Football | @Chiefs 📺: 2022 #NFLDraft on NFLN/ESPN/ABC. — NFL (@NFL) April 29, 2022

The major concerns with McDuffie lie in his level of opponent last season in the Pac-12. Outside of Drake London out of USC (a team that Washington didn’t play in 2020 or 2021), the Pac-12 lacked an elite, NFL-level wide receiver last season. At Washington, the Huskies utilized McDuffie all over the field in run coverage, blitzes, and on the outside as both a man and zone-cover cornerback. With the ability to play at all three levels of the defense and move to both sides of the field, McDuffie may soon find himself atop the Chiefs cornerback depth chart that already features standouts L’Jarius Sneed and Rashad Fenton. Bleacher Report compared McDuffie to Saints corner PJ Williams.

The pick itself is outstanding. The Chiefs filled a need with a high-ceiling player. The draft compensation was somewhat steep but overall worth it enough to acquire a top-three player at a position of need. The Chiefs traded picks 29, 94, and 121 to acquire pick 21 and select Trent McDuffie.

Chiefs’ Pick Grade: B+

George Karlaftis, DE, Purdue

According to CBS, George Karlaftis ranked as the fourth-best edge rusher in this draft class. As a developmental pass rusher, Karlaftis profiles as a potential plus edge rusher but unpolished into the NFL. As a junior at Purdue, Karlaftis had 39 tackles, ten tackles for loss, and 4.5 sacks. His 17 tackles for loss in 2019 ranked third in the Big Ten.

Another defensive pick for the Chiefs, as George Karlaftis is headed to Kansas City. @TheGK3#NFLDraft — NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) April 29, 2022

In Karlaftis, the Chiefs draft a high-floor prospect who should be productive at the next level. It’s hard to see Karlaftis failing entirely in the NFL. However, his ability against the run is very suspect. He will also require refinement in his pass rush abilities to allow him to use better technique against bigger and stronger NFL Tackles. Karlaftis ranked second, behind Aiden Hutchinson in pass rush win rate last season. The talent is clear, and he could become a plus player with the right refinement and coaching at the next level.

The pick looks even better if the Chiefs bring additional edge support and refine Karlaftis’s technique. Much like the McDuffie pick, the Chiefs select a top talent at a position of need.

Pick Grade: B-

The 2022 NFL Draft continues Friday, April 29. Following their trade with the Patriots, the Chiefs own three picks in the draft’s second and third rounds. Top prospects to watch for Kansas City as we enter Day Two include:

  1. LB Nakobe Dean ( No 17)

  2. DE Boye Mafe ( No 31)

  3. DE Arnold Ebiketie ( No 34)

  4. DT Travis Jones ( No 37)

  5. S Jalen Pitre ( No 41)

  6. WR Skyy Moore ( No 45)

  7. WR Christian Watson ( No 46)

  8. DT Logan Hall ( No 50)

  9. WR George Pickens ( No 61)

  10. T Abraham Lucas ( No 64)

How would you grade how the Chiefs’ picked on Day One? Leave a comment down below to join the discussion.

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