With the NFL Combine done and the prospects analyzed, here are what I predict the Chiefs will do.
Round 1 Pick 30: Daxton Hill – DB – Michigan
Daxton Hill didn’t lose his spot at the top of my list of prospects who fit with the Chiefs. It seems more and more likely that Tyrann Mathieu might be leaving Kansas City for a bigger contract. Hill would be a Mathieu replacement or a player who can play next to him, Hill can line up in the slot and playback in coverage.
Hill should be at the top of most people’s lists as the best player in the draft for the Chiefs, he brings versatility on defense the Chiefs haven’t had since Eric Berry. Daxton Hill also has been able to show his ball skills by forcing five turnovers on one of the best defenses in all of college football.
Round 2 Pick 62: Nik Bonitto – EDGE – Oklahoma
Bonitto is one of the players I haven’t covered too much, but he is one of the few edge prospects I could see the Chiefs picking him up in the second round because he has the potential to be the quick-twitch athlete they’ve needed at the edge for a while now. Bonitto has a lot of great tools to use as an edge player, he has great instincts on reading his block to get to a ball carrier, and a lot of pass rush moves to get around slower pass blockers to get to the QB.
Bonitto is not the flashiest name at the edge but he is crazy athletic on the outside. He ran a 4.54 40 yard dash with a 35.5 inch vertical and 120-inch broad jump. He is a very athletic edge rusher and could even cover in the flat with how good he is at breaking down and tackling in the open field. Bonitto isn’t going to be the Day 1 starter but could find himself in third-down rush situations a lot his rookie year which is what the Chiefs need. Bonitto probably would need a year to get acclimated to the speed of the NFL game but I expect him to contribute a lot in his rookie year, and hopefully, it’s in Kansas City.
Round 3 Pick 94: Coby Bryant – CB – Cincinnati
Coby Bryant and Sauce Gardner were two of the best corners in college football in 2021, they were electric corners who were staples of a top-tier defense. Sauce Gardner was the premier talent at his position and will more than likely be the first cornerback off the boards in the 2022 draft, but Coby Bryant was also a stud at his position.
Bryant was the opposite of the All-American so he got a lot of balls thrown his way in 2021 and he was a shutdown player. Bryant has great ball skills and he uses 6-foot-1 190 pound frame to get into the receiver on pass breakups. Bryant isn’t going to be seen as a top tier talent like Gardner but he has shown that he has all of the skills to make it in this league He’d fit in well in Kansas City as the Chiefs love having taller corners who are physical at the point of attack like L’Jarius Sneed. It would be fascinating to see if the Chiefs are rebuilding the secondary who would fit, but my money would be on Coby Bryant.
Round 3 Pick 103 (Compensatory): Justyn Ross – WR – Clemson
Justyn Ross is one of the few players that I’ve kept as one of the best prospects for the Chiefs due to his skill set alone, he is one of the best pass-catchers in this draft. Ross was able to showcase his talents at Clemson while playing with Trevor Lawrence at quarterback and had a great career. But his last season with Clemson showcased how good his hands were because his quarterback was not a very accurate one at Clemson.
Ross routinely had to catch balls behind, low, and almost off the dirt with DJ Uiagalelei taking the mantle from Trevor Lawrence, and it’s not to say that DJ isn’t a talented QB, it’s more that he was new. Ross was making catch after catch from his young quarterback and made tough catches look easy. Ross would be a great fit in Kansas City because of his skillset and the sure hands he brings with him, as the Chiefs had a lot of issues with dropped or tipped catches going for turnovers in 2021. Ross is also a bigger receiver at 6-foot-4, 205 pounds, and he is coming off of a major foot injury, so he’ll fall in the draft which is perfect for the Chiefs. I think Ross can become a big rotational player in his first year in Kansas City but could easily become one of the steals of the draft.
Round 4 Pick 108 (Projected Trade with Washington) – Kingsley Enagbare – EDGE – South Carolina
Kingsley “JJ” Engabare is a perfect fit with the Spags system of edge rushers, he is a stout edge rusher who can hold onto blockers and create pressure with a bull rush. He should remind people of a young Jason Pierre-Paul with how physical he can be when he punches a tackle in the chest.
The main reason I put Engabare here is that I think he is the guy the Chiefs would want to play at edge and a guy who would be put in the rotation immediately. Enagabare is not a guy who I watched a lot of films of until I was hearing a lot about his comps to former Spagnuolo defensive ends and it makes a lot of sense. He’s not a guy who has a lot of speed off of the edge but brings a lot of pressure. He has some moves in his pass rush but would rather bull-rush back to the ball carrier and put him on the ground. It’s what Spags has done in all of his stops as a defensive coordinator, build a team that can blitz, but relies on the front four to create pressure. Engabare is the perfect guy who fits this system and I bet the Chiefs will try to get as many picks in the top 150 as they can so I expect them to trade up to get an edge rusher.
Round 4 Pick 134: Kyron Johnson – EDGE – Kansas
Kyron Johnson is one of the players who will shoot up draft boards in 2022 due to what he pulled off at his Pro Day at Kansas. He ran a 4.36 40 yard dash as an edge rusher, which has a lot of front offices looking into him. Johnson has been a sleeper prospect because he came from the worst team in his conference and he didn’t have a lot of production while at Kansas. But he had an exceptional showcase at the Senior Bowl in Birmingham and impressed a lot of the teams in this draft.
Johnson is a long and athletic edge rusher with a lot of intangibles that should make teams turn their heads. He is a freak of an athlete for his size, he’s 6-foot-1, 235 pounds but he was able to set the edge on the run game while dealing with mountainous offensive tackles in the Big XII. Johnson has great footwork and reminds me of Hasson Reddick with how fast he is in his pass rush, but he’s physical enough to dip and rip through strong arms to get to the QB. If anything this is based on where he might shoot up and he would be worth the risk in taking him here.
For the 7th round guys, I’m just going to put a sentence or two because these guys might not make the roster.
Round 7 Pick 241: Tyler Goodson – RB – Iowa
Tyler Goodson would be a fun guy to pick up late because he is such a big back that excelled in the Hawkeyes backfield, he is a downhill guy who would be good to have on-the-run heavy sets for the Chiefs might run in 2022.
Round 7 Pick 260: Grant Calcaterra – TE – SMU
Calcaterra is an old-school tight end where he’s not a big-play type of tight end, but he’s a guy who was reliable on intermediate routes and can break tackles to get a much-needed first down. I think with the Chiefs going to a more short passing game system, Calcaterra would fit in well as a possible rotational TE2.
The draft is deep in tackles. The Chiefs should grab one in the 2nd or 3rd round. This will complete the Oline rebuild.