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We are just under three weeks away from the 2022 NFL Draft. As things currently stand, the Kansas City Chiefs are tied with the Jacksonville Jaguars for having the most selections (12). Eight of those 12 picks are presently in the first four rounds. Meanwhile, Kansas City still has some obvious holes to fill. There also appears to be a slight change in philosophy, as far as the play styles that the Chiefs may be coveting. Could we see Kansas City get trade happy during the 2022 NFL Draft, as a result?
There are a few different reasons as to why the Chiefs could be wheeling and dealing on draft weekend to close out April. Items like possible depth of a certain position group could be a major factor for why trades could make sense. Or, the heavy amount of trench players expected to go early in round one could force certain opposing team’s hands. The unpredictably and possible chaos that could take place is not something that we have routinely seen in recent NFL drafts. Overall, Kansas City could be best suited to join that mayhem, one way or another.
Today, we will be looking into why a trade up in round one makes sense for Kansas City. How could a trade back out of round one make sense, at the same time? Plus, are the Chiefs set on solely loading up in this singular draft in 2022, or will they continue to look further into the future? Let’s kick it off.
Why A First-Round Trade Up Makes Sense
As most people would realize by now, Chiefs general manager Brett Veach is no stranger to taking large swings of the bat. We have not truly seen that in the draft, however. He has largely found gems in the mid-to-late rounds (i.e. L’Jarius Sneed, Trey Smith). His early round selections have been up and down, in terms of immediate impact. Yet, this is a time where the Chiefs find themselves entering the second wave of Patrick Mahomes‘ career. Going up and getting a top name could allow Kansas City to get another draft steal, but with a much different process.
Top-Heavy Position Groups At Positions Of Need
So why could a first-round trade up make sense in this particular draft? Let’s start with the depth of the 2022 NFL Draft class. At arguably the team’s top two positions of need (wide receiver, defensive end), those position groups appear to be rather top-heavy as draft night gets closer and closer. The top of the 2022 wide receiver group does not matchup with the top 10 value that recent wide receiver groups held in 2021 or 2020. Simply, there are very few true WR1-type of players in this draft class.
At defensive end, the same ideology could be used. You have possibly six to seven defensive ends that could provide meaningful production out of the gate. In the meantime, the Chiefs could be looking to add more speed and athleticism to the pass rush. Kansas City may be looking to double down at the position as well. If so, why not trade up to secure a possible future leader of the pass rush?
NFL History May Repeat Itself
We have become accustomed to the NFL Draft beginning largely in the same fashion throughout most drafts. Recently, teams are more likely to stack up on adding to the trenches or are willing to take a gamble at quarterback. This is perceived to be one of the weaker quarterback classes in quite some time. Nevertheless, the list of teams needing a new option as their passer never runs dry. We have also seen the NFL as a whole be more comfortable with taking on a new project at quarterback, no matter how tedious. Thus, the belief that they are staving off any sort of quarterback purgatory is more desirable than passing on a prime opportunity.
Because of that, we have seen some impactful skill players fall. Specifically at wide receiver, we have seen names like Jerry Jeudy, CeeDee Lamb and Justin Jefferson all drop slightly in recent drafts. They lasted into the midway point or the second half of the first round. Despite what their true value probably was, NFL teams were fine with letting them pass.
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Kansas City could see the same thing happen this year. And whether it is at wide receiver, defensive end or even cornerback, the Chiefs could feel the need to pounce. Getting in front of other contenders in the back half of round one could be beneficial. In addition, the Chiefs may feel the urge to have their pick of the litter, before too many skill players begin to slide.
Why Trading Back Out Of First-Round Makes Sense
The Kansas City Chiefs could still make one first-round selection. However, there is also reason to believe that they could trade out of round one with their other first-round pick. Dropping back into round two, while still having three total top 50 selections, is not that impossible. Kansas City is sitting in a prime position for a team to move into the latter part of round one and grab a quarterback.
Teams Look To Add Quarterback With Fifth-Year Option Available
For instance, the lure of a team trading into the last few spots of round one would allow a possible quarterback-needy team the chance to have that fifth-year option tied to a new passer. Teams like the New York Giants (36th overall), the Seattle Seahawks (40th and 41st overall), the Indianapolis Colts (42nd overall) and the Atlanta Falcons (43rd overall) are just a few that could fit that equation. Some of these teams could be looking to fill other needs earlier in the first round.
The long-term future at the quarterback spot is largely unknown for all of these teams. So if one slips to the end of round one, Kansas City could allow another team to be aggressive. The Chiefs would then have multiple chances to play the value of the board early on day two of the 2022 NFL Draft.
Chiefs Don’t Love Value At End Of First Round
While some teams have no issues with taking a player as a possible “reach”, the Chiefs have usually had no issue in moving back. We just have not seen that happen consistently in the first round. In 2016, Kansas City allowed San Francisco to move into the back of round one, and the Chiefs took Chris Jones early in round two the next night.
In terms of the 2022 NFL Draft, Kansas City may be sitting in the same position as they were then. Most of the value at positions of need may be gone. The Chiefs could then acquire more picks for later points in the draft. Moreover, it would allow them to have more options or routes to work with when selecting throughout day two of the draft, compared to the lesser options at the spot in round one.
Is Kansas City Open To Acquiring More Future Draft Picks?
Most people are likely not wrong when expecting to see Kansas City heavily reload with the 2022 NFL Draft. However, there is always the opportunity that they may take, with adding more picks in future years. Especially in 2023, the depth of the draft class could be much more fruitful than it appears to be in 2022. We also know that there are some veteran names that they could have to move on from next offseason.
Simply put, the Chiefs are also likely to end up making less selections than they currently have in 2022. They likely do not have the capability of taking on 12 rookies and inserting all of them into the lineup. On top of that, Kansas City is in need of adding more depth, rather than simply looking for a possible quick fix at certain positions.
The Chiefs may feel more inclined to wheel and deal throughout all of draft weekend in 2022. In the end, they may be just as likely to set themselves up for a smoother transition in 2023. 2022 may still be a tremendous draft class. Nonetheless, Kansas City is not necessarily in the same Super Bowl or bust window as they enjoyed the last few years. That will still be the expectation. The Chiefs are mainly looking to build their new core for the next stretch, however.
Be on the lookout for more FPC Chiefs articles throughout this week. For more great sports and NFL content, stay tuned to Full Press Coverage.
– Braden Holecek is the Kansas City Chiefs managing editor for Full Press Coverage. He covers the NFL. Like and follow on Follow @ebearcat9//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js Follow @FPC_Chiefs//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js and Facebook.
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