The NFL Draft is officially in the books, and the Chiefs had one of the most successful drafts in the entire league. KC had huge needs at defensive end, cornerback and safety, and they got it. The drafting of Trent McDuffie brought in an immediate starter at cornerback. Drafting George Karlaftis also brings in an immediate starter at defensive end.
Overall, this was one of the most successful drafts KC has had in a long time. They have depth on defense and gained starters on defense in the process. Veach and company have set this team up for more success. These rookies are bound to challenge for starting time, but which defensive positions will that happen? Let’s check it out.
Cornerback: Trent McDuffie, Washington
The Chiefs needed a new starting cornerback after losing Charvarious Ward to free agency. When KC traded three draft picks to the Patriots to move up, that was them showing they’re getting that guy. Trent McDuffie will become a household name for KC. I did not expect the cornerback position to be where we see the most impactful player, but boy, am I wrong.
McDuffie will start immediately, and while that might not count as “challenging a position,” McDuffie’s impact overall will count. Clearly, he is worth playing time and three draft picks, and he will show that on the field. He is a three-level cornerback, and that hybrid type skillset will take him far. I see McDuffie on top of this depth chart for years to come if he pans out how the Chiefs are hoping.
Defensive End: George Karlaftis, Purdue
While it is expected that Karlaftis will start quite a bit, I think he will become an important piece for the defensive line. Chris Jones will lead overall, but Karlaftis won’t be far behind him. The Chiefs struggled against the run and winning pass rushes overall. Karlaftis will need to immediately impact those areas, and I think he will.
Getting Karlaftis in the same room as Chris Jones and Frank Clark will help him immensely. The amount of experience between Jones and Clark will benefit Karlaftis in adjusting to the NFL. He needs to get stronger against bigger NFL o-lineman, but I see no issue in that happening. Karlaftis’ ceiling is too high for him to not have an impact stat-wise and depth chart-wise. I see no problem with him becoming an impactful starter and quickly moving up that depth chart.
Safety: Bryan Cook, Cincinnati
Coincidence, the other defensive position being challenged is one that had a huge draft need? While KC went and added Justin Reid and Deon Bush in free agency, they needed more. Using one of their second-round picks on Cook was that exact move. Cook will start immediately over Deon Bush because of his hybrid ability to play in the middle of the field and also be able to cover receivers in the slot.
Having someone like Cook who defends the run well, can cover the slot, and has excellent open-field tackling abilities is perfect for the Chiefs’ defense. KC needed that hybrid in the middle of the field, and Cook will fill that role. Deon Bush will compete for that starting spot, but I think Cook will beat him for that depth chart spot. With Juan Thornhill entering free agency after 2022, Cook will make his case to fill the Chiefs’ starting strong safety position. Cook is going to become another household name in KC.
Which jobs do you think the new Chiefs’ defensive rookies will take over? Leave a comment down below to join the discussion.
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