With Bowl Season upon us, it’s a good time to look at potential draft prospects in the 2022 NFL Draft.
The Kansas City Chiefs were off this week, giving us the perfect time to look ahead at the upcoming 2022 NFL Draft.
When looking at my criteria for identifying prospects I looked at scheme fit, physical traits, effort, and playmaking ability. The Chiefs have some positions of need, and I was able to identify three positions, with two players each that I think have a chance to be drafted by the Chiefs.
The thing that stands out in the film of both Ojabo and Sanders is their explosive burst off the snap of the ball, and their ability to bend the arc or set up power moves off of their initial speed rush. They both have the prototypical height and weight for what Steve Spagnuolo looks for in defensive ends and being highly athletic players increase their versatility when rushing the passer.
Ojabo is the more developed player and has more of an arsenal with pass rush moves, seen with his spin and arm over, and rip moves seen above. His motor is always running and he has a solid well thought out pass rush plan each game to attack the weakness of his opponent. In the run game he takes on double teams well, but can get caught out of position and doesn’t always play gap sound.
Sanders can fly off the football, but for having a slight build he can catch players off guard with how much power he has coiled up. His speed to power gets the tackles off-balance, and he hits perfect triple extension when engaging. In the run game, he is a backside demon, beating down and reaching blocks to blow up zone reads and RPO’s. He plays gap sound football, but his frame could limit him to a pass-rushing role in the NFL against pro-level tackles.
Currently, safety is one of the deepest positions on the Chiefs roster, but after this season there will remain some serious questions. It can be assumed that Daniel Sorensen and Armani Watts will both be gone, considering one’s poor play on the field and that the other does not play. Tyrann Mathieu’s contract will have expired and as of right now it is unclear whether he will be back, or even willing to sign an extension to return to KC. That leaves Juan Thornhill as the only safety left, but also makes the safety position a top target for the team moving forward.
The thing that stood out to me on film about both Hill and Catalon is their versatility as players. Both line up all over the field in a swiss army knife-type role for their teams.
Catalon is young, only a sophomore this season, but his draft stock could be impacted due to a season-ending shoulder injury he suffered in early November. While his game does have a ton of room for improving his ability as a playmaker is seen. He isn’t afraid to run downhill and fill a gap, and he has the speed to stick with RB’s in coverage. He would fit well into the KC D for the role that we have seen Sorensen fill as the third safety or the box safety while providing an improvement in pass coverage.
Hill can line up deep, in the slot, at LB, or as a walk up to the line of scrimmage, and he excels in all the spots. A sure tackler, with some good closing speed he does a good job tracking the ball and contesting as many catches as he can. His hips are very fluid, and his ability to shift speeds depending on where a play is headed makes offenses have to account for him on every play.
I don’t necessarily agree with the Chiefs drafting a wide receiver, but it is hard to deny that outside of Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce the team has been lackluster at getting open. The team needs a consistent third option to catch passes from Patrick Mahomes, and I think both Bell and Burks fit the bill for what the Chiefs are looking for.
Chiefs fans have longed for a big-bodied traditional WR type to play the traditional wide-out role, and Burks fits the profile. A big man with strong hands and spurts of explosive plays will make him an intriguing prospect, but he can be the intermediate option at WR that Chiefs fans have been longing for. His large frame will make him a mismatch nightmare for defenses, especially if he were lined up beside Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. He could be a jump ball or contested pass threat for the Chiefs based on his catch radius. He had over 1,000 receiving yards headed into Bowl season, he should be a special player at the next level.
David Bell catches everything thrown in his direction and that is exactly what the Chiefs need. Only a modest athlete, Bell has refined route-running skills, and like 7/11 is always open. Bell has had excellent production during his career at Purdue, racking up yards after the catch, but it has been his knack for the big play late in the game is that has put his name on the radar. Every team needs a guy that will always be relied upon late in the game to make a big play and so far Bell has shown he can be that guy for an NFL team.