KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The 2022 NFL Draft has finally arrived and it’s time to for the final guesses at what presents general manager Brett Veach will unwrap for Chiefs fans starting with Thursday’s first round.
Here’s a run down of the options the Chiefs have and our final projection of the players who might be among the newest team members come this weekend.
First Round, No. 29
Our mock draft selections: ED Arnold Ebiketie, ED Jermaine Johnson, Florida State (No. 18); and WR George Pickens, Georgia
Other names to consider: WR Jameson Williams, Alabama, S Dax Hill, Michigan, ED Drake Jackson, USC and ED Boye Mafe, Minnesota
Our final selection: WR George Pickens
The Chiefs have a myriad of options when it comes to their two first-round choices. With 12 overall choices, Veach has the currency to navigate the board and move upward from here. Jumping into the top 12 would likely require No. 30 as well, but moving between No. 17 to No. 24 would cost less and likely yield the player of the team’s choice. Jameson Williams is the only player I would jump into the top 15 to land, and that might not be high enough for the Crimson Tide receiver. Pickens is an ideal fit for the Chiefs if recovering well from his ACL injury.
First Round, No. 30
Our mock draft selections: CB Kaiir Elam, Florida; WR Drake London, Southern California; and ED Josh Paschal, Kentucky
Other names to consider: WR Jahan Datson
Our final selection: ED Arnold Ebiketie
I think there’s a greater likelihood the Chiefs move out of No. 30, and that would be a downward move into the second round. That move would allow them to add draft capital in the middle rounds or upgrade one of their six selections in the first 103 picks. If they stay put, Ebiketie is an ideal selection. His athleticism and quickness is reminiscent of another Chiefs pass rusher, fellow Penn State alum Tamba Hali.
Second Round, No. 50
Our mock draft selections: WR George Pickens, Georgia; CB Tariq Woolen, UTSA; and CB Roger McCreary Auburn
Other names to consider: S Jalen Pitre; Baylor and ED Nick Bonitto
Our final selection: CB Roger McCreary
McCreary isn’t the prototype Chiefs cornerback based on size (5-foot-11, 190 pounds, 70 5/8 inch-wingspan) but his production is second to none. He was a first team All-American in the SEC with 37 passes broken up and six interceptions the last three seasons. He’s an ideal nickel corner with inside/outside flexibility.
Second Round, No. 62
Our mock draft selections: OT Abraham Lucas, Washington State; and DL Logan Hall, Houston (No. 58) and WR John Metchie III, Alabama
Other names to consider: CB Cam Taylor-Britt, Nebraska
Our final selection: DT DeMarvin Leal, Texas A&M
Our final selection: OT Nicholas Petit-Frere
The Chiefs need depth at tackle with the status of Lucas Niang uncertain, Andrew Wylie under contract for just one more season and left tackle Orlando Brown Jr. possibly playing under the franchise tag this season. Petit-Frere could potentially play immediately and has room to grow.
Third Round, No. 94
Our mock draft selections: S Bryan Cook, Cincinnati
Other names to consider: S Nick Cross, Maryland
Our final selection: ED Kingsley Enagbare
Enagbare is raw but athletic fitting the mold of defensive ends with high upside the Chiefs tend to favor.
Third Round, No. 103
Our mock draft selections: ED Dominique Robinson, Miami, (OH), S Bryan Cook, Cincinnati; and TE Jelani Woods, Virginia
Other names to consider:
Our final selection: TE Jelani Woods
The 6-foot-7, 253-pound Woods is a physical beast and a complete opposite of the smaller, faster Noah Gray the Chiefs selected a yer ago. Woods would offer a different flavor of tight end as a backup to Travis Kelce who could develop into a fierce blocker with strong upside as a pass catcher.
Fourth Round, No. 121
Our mock draft selections: DT Matthew Butler, Tennessee and ED Josh Paschal, Kentucky
Other names to consider: LB Troy Anderson, Montana State
Our final selection: WR Erik Ezukanma, Texas Tech
Ezukanma wasn’t available at this spot in a couple of our mock drafts and the Chiefs might need to move up a few spots to land him here. He doesn’t possess elite speed (4.54-second 40-yard dash at his pro day) but everything else in his game is polished. He’s a tough, well-developed route runner who can track the ball down field
Fourth Round, No. 135
Our mock draft selections: WR Tyquan Thornton, Baylor and S J.T. Woods, Baylor
Other names to consider: OT Max Mitchell, Louisianna
Our final selection: S J.T. Woods
The Chiefs are in need of a deep safety and Woods fits the bill (4.36 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine). He could step in immediately as the third safety and could battle with Juan Thornhill for playing time in year one.
Seventh Round, No. 233, No. 243, No. 251 and No. 299
Our mock draft selections: TE Cole Turner, Nevada; CB Josh Jobe, Alabama, OT Ryan Van Demark, Connecticut; CB Kalon Barnes, Baylor; LB D’Marco Jackson, Appalachian State; OT Vederian Lowe, Illinois; LB Baylon Spector, Clemson; RB Shermari Jones, Coastal Carolina; WR Dai’Jean Dixon, Nicholls State; WR Tanner Conner, Idaho State; and RB Trestan Ebner, Baylor
Other names to consider:
Our final selections: OT Ryan Van Demark, LB D’Marco Jackson, RB Sharmari Jones
With four seventh-round selections, almost anything can happen. Veach can package some of these picks together to move back into the sixth round, use them as add-ons to move up a few spots in earlier rounds or even kick them down the road into future drafts. If the Chiefs use these picks, look for them to target potential priority free agents they aren’t sure they can land after the draft or land potential special teams players.