Are the Chiefs going to trade up or are they going to stay put with all of their selections in the 2022 NFL Draft?
It’s no secret that the Chiefs are in dire need of cheap talent after departing with many of their key players this offseason due to cap restrictions. Ward, Mathieu, Okafor, and Hill all departed for greener pastures while Veach and the rest of KC’s front office scrambled to pick up the pieces. So far, only 3 significant moves have been made: the Justin Reid signing, Frank Clark’s restructuring, and the addition of Marques Valdez-Scantling. There are major roles in this roster that need to be filled before the start of the season and what better way to fill in the gaps than to invest in a loaded 2022 draft class? The big question is, what is the best draft strategy for acquiring long-term talent?
Why trade up?
Theoretically, the higher up in the draft you go the better the players that will be available. This year, in particular, there is a clear drop-off from the top tier of talent at the positions the Chiefs will be looking to draft (DE, WR, CB). Trading up in the 1st round (especially into the early teens) would provide the Chiefs with the opportunity to choose between some of the best interior/edge rushers we’ve seen in the past few draft classes. A lack of offseason moves along the defensive line means that grabbing an impact player will be essential to the overall success of this football team. Guys like Devonte Wyatt, Travon Walker, David Ojabo, and Cameron Thomas should be available halfway through the 1st round and WILL make their impact on NFL teams this season. The Chiefs desperately need to be one of those teams.
The Chiefs also have plenty of draft capital. 12 picks, including 6 (essentially) in the top 100, is more than enough draft capital to put a package together and move up into the early 1st, or 2nd round. While 12 selections might be great “in theory”, having that many starter level players added to the roster means there will be a lot of inexperienced players on the field at once. Selecting 6-8 extremely talented players minimizes the risks associated with having multiple rookies on the field at one time. In short, trading up essentially raises the ceiling of the team, while reducing the likelihood of multiple mistakes being made by young players with good intentions.
Why Remain Conservative?
As my grandfather always said, “even the best sharpshooter doesn’t take a rifle to hunt ducks”. To those who are un-incited to the trails and tribulations of hunting waterfowl, I’ll spare you the details, but it essentially means account for error. Do not go in cocky, trying to make it harder on yourself just because “you think” you’re gonna be right. To translate this into football talk, use all your picks and you’ll probably hit on a few of them. If you trade up to take a guy and he doesn’t pan out, that’s all on you. Missing on a player you gave up multiple 1sts or 2nds for is what gets GMs fired. In essence, unless you are the most unlucky GM in the league, at least 4 of your 12 selections will be consistent contributors for you in the future.
Brett Veach has also made the most of his late-round selections. Trey Smith, L’Jarius Sneed, Rashad Fenton, and Mike Danna are all proof positive that late-round selections can be major contributors to a championship team. If the NFL draft is as big of a crapshoot as it seems, then why not throw as many darts at the board as you can? Sending multiple picks to an opposing team to grab “your guy” could mean missing out on multiple players that could have become superstars. Plus, it gives other teams multiple opportunities to grab impact players late into the draft.
What Should the Chiefs Do?
IF we make it to the 2022 NFL Draft with all of our picks (and Veach hasn’t traded them all away by then) I think the Chiefs’ draft strategy should be simple: TRUST YOUR EVALUATIONS. If Veach sees a guy starting to fall that shouldn’t, pull the trigger and trade up. The Chiefs have too much draft capital to stand pat and watch the best players being drafted in front of them, only to reach on a guy because “we have to draft a DE/WR in the 1st round”. The flexibility the Chiefs have in this draft means they don’t have to be conservative and take the best player available. With that being said, if Veach puts together a package including 4 of the Chiefs’ top 6 selections, he better be going after a top 5 talent in this draft. Receiving anything other than a top 5 pick would be a questionable decision, to say the least. Multiple selections in the top 100 mean multiple opportunities to find quality talent at positions of need. Put simply, anything less than 3 selections in the top 100 should be considered questionable and anything more than 8 selections total means either the draft went perfect, or not enough effort was made to make premium sections at positions of need. No matter what happens I’m sure Veach will do something that makes us all shake our heads on draft night, then weep with joy halfway through the season after we find out he made the perfect move. IN VEACH WE TRUST 2022