Who are analysts selecting for Chiefs at pick No. 31?
The Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LVII with the help of their 2022 NFL draft class. A whopping nine draft picks played snaps with four of them drawing starts in the big game.
For Kansas City, the draft will become ever more important as they get deeper into Patrick Mahomes’ contract. They must continue to find young talent to contribute early in their careers, to keep their window open in a very competitive AFC conference.
With a big trade between the Carolina Panthers and Chicago Bears shaking up mock drafts, there are only a few that are up-to-date and relevant. We tried to stick with those in our roundup this week. How did the big trade impact Kansas City? It simply means that there will be an even bigger mad dash for the quarterbacks at the top of the draft.
Here’s a look at the latest mock drafts and who analysts have sent to the Chiefs in the first round:
Doug Farrar - Touchdown Wire
AP Photo/David J. Phillip
Chiefs select Texas A&M S Antonio Johnson.
No explainer from Doug on this one, so a little of my own interpretation. The top 3 offensive tackles and top 2 receivers are gone before pick No. 18. Anton Harrison goes to the Bengals at No. 28. Nolan Smith goes to the Eagles at pick No. 30. Darnell Wright and Dawand Jones were available at these picks, but with the opportunity to draft the best true safety in this class, the Chiefs pounce. People might look at it as replacing Juan Thornhill, but it might actually be the team indicating they’ll move on from Justin Reid after 2023.
Charles Goldman - NFL Wire Network
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Chiefs select Oklahoma OT Anton Harrison.
I would be lying if I said I wasn’t biting my nails waiting to see if I could get a left tackle of the future for Kansas City at pick No. 31. I contemplated trading up a few times, but ultimately settled on seeing how things played out. I feel like I lucked into solving the team’s biggest need by doing so. Harrison (6-foot-4, 315 pounds) might not immediately play the left tackle position for the Chiefs, but he’s a player who has the upside to develop into a long-term starter there. He’s just 21 years old and is already a highly-polished pass-blocker, allowing just 4 sacks and 33 pressures in 1,002 pass-blocking snaps over three years at Oklahoma. He still has some developing to do as a run-blocker. He’ll probably not be a guy who creates a lot of movement off the ball, but he has the movement ability and skills to stick a block in space.
Christian D'Andrea - For The Win
AP Photo/Julio Cortez
Chiefs select Maryland OT Jaelyn Duncan.
Duncan has fluctuated on draft boards throughout the offseason, but a strong combine showing is enough to sneak him into the tail end of Day 1 for a Chiefs team that could lose both its starting tackles in free agency. His arm length is a little less than what scouts were hoping for on the edge, but’s a nimble 6-foot-6 pocket protector who mirrors rushers effectively.
The question is whether Kansas City can unlock the meanness that could make him great in the NFL. Duncan is a versatile blocker who makes the right reads, but his athleticism and size doesn’t produce the kind of pancakes you’d expect. That makes him a high potential prize in the pros, but on draft day teams may prefer the more polished finishes of Anton Harrison or the sheer wrecking ball size of Dawand Jones instead.
Luke Easterling - Draft Wire
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Chiefs trade up to select Ohio State WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba (Pick 19).
With the top corners and offensive tackles off the board, the Bucs will be motivated to move down from this pick. With all of the top receivers still available, they find a willing trade partner in the Chiefs, who send their second-rounder to Tampa Bay to leap up the board and land a smooth route-runner who would be a perfect fit in this offense.
Matt Anderson - Vikings Wire
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Chiefs select LSU EDGE B.J. Ojulari.
With the news that the Chiefs are moving on from pass rusher Frank Clark, it makes sense for them to fill the void. Taking Ojulari here will not only give them a dynamic edge rusher for years to come, but they can pair him with last year’s first-round pick, George Karlaftis.
The 33rd Team - Staff
Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
Chiefs select Ohio State WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba.
There are serious questions about the speed of Jaxon Smith-Njigba, but it is difficult to argue with results. The talented receiver posted 95 receptions, 1,606 yards, and nine touchdowns as a true sophomore while sharing the field with first-round picks Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson. This could be a sneaky good pick, and should work well with Patrick Mahomes.
Arif Hasan - Pro Football Network
Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports
Chiefs select Notre Dame EDGE Isaiah Foskey.
The Kansas City Chiefs released Frank Clark and will have Carlos Dunlap hit free agency. Though they have plenty of confidence in George Karlaftis, K.C. will need to have another edge rusher on the roster long-term if they’re going to continue their dynasty.
A great secondary and good linebacker corps should help them maintain their defense, but adding another edge rusher would make the Chiefs more complete. Isaiah Foskey is typically slated to go earlier in the draft, but with Combine risers pushing him out of those higher spots, the Chiefs get the benefit of a productive athlete who nevertheless tested better than most edge defenders do.
Notes on latest mock drafts:
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A lot of the mock drafts for Kansas City seem to be fueled by recent decisions surrounding Orlando Brown Jr. and Frank Clark. Lots of analysts targeted tackles or edge rushers as a result. I think one thing that we know about Brett Veach so far during his tenure as general manager is that he doesn’t like to go into the draft with any glaring needs, so he can address the draft on a best-player-available basis. So, I think that we could see analysts pivot after the team makes some moves to acquire some players in free agency.
All that said, I would be shocked to see the Chiefs trade up for Jaxon Smith-Njigba, but I’d be equally shocked to see him available at pick No. 31.
Arif Hasan’s mock draft had Georgia DL Jalen Carter sliding out of the first round. I’d be shocked if that happened and I’d be more shocked to see Kansas City pass on a player of his talent, no matter the off-field and maturity questions.