Kansas City Chiefs 2022 Draft
The Kansas City Chiefs had a third consecutive trip to the Super Bowl in their sights. Then everything went haywire in the second half of the AFC title game. Kansas City opened up a 24-3 lead and led by 14 at halftime. The Chiefs then collapsed in the second half and lost to the up-and-coming Cincinnati Bengals in overtime.
That loss came on the heels of an improbable comeback victory in the AFC Divisional Round. The two week stretch in the playoffs was representative of Kansas City’s season. The Chiefs, who finished 12-5 and won the AFC West, struggled during parts of the season and appeared to be a potential dynasty running out of steam. Kansas City needed to rally at the end of the season to win its division.
Rebuilding for the Chiefs will require Kansas City to be smart maneuvering with $14.5 million in cap space. Kansas City is also working on several restructurings and other options to try and provide superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes with the foundation to pursue another championship. While the Bills and Bengals may be on the Chiefs’ heels, Kansas City isn’t ready to give up its perch atop the AFC just yet.
Players Leaving the Kansas City Chiefs
Wide receiver Byron Pringle is leaving Kansas City to head to the Chicago Bears in free agency. Pringle emerged last season, hauling in 42 catches for 568 yards and five touchdowns. Pringle had only made 13 catches for 160 yards the year before.
Center Austin Blythe didn’t make much of an impact during his one year in Kansas City. Originally brought in to compete for the starting center spot, Blythe only made four appearances backing up rookie Creed Humphrey. Blythe missed most of the season due to injury.
Cornerback Charvarius Ward agreed to a $42 million, three-year contract with the San Francisco 49ers. Ward appeared in 13 games last season for Kansas City and intercepted two passes. He equaled a career high by knocking down 10 passes.
Anthony Hitchens was released by the Chiefs in February to clear $8.4 million in cap space. Hitchens had come to Kansas City in 2018 from Dallas. Hitchens best season in Kansas City was his first one, where he made 135 tackles, including 81 solo stops. Last season, Hitchens made 80 sacks, including 41 solo tackles and intercepted a pass.
Positions needed by the Kansas City Chiefs
Kansas City filled one of its needs in free agency by finding a possession wide receiver. Juju Smith-Schuster agreed to a one-year, $10.75 million deal in free agency. Smith-Schuster is capable of big seasons, as he demonstrated in his second year in Pittsburgh when he cough 111 passes for 1,426 yards and seven touchdowns. However, last season Smith-Schuster was limited to five games where he only caught 28 passes for 129 yards.
The Chiefs’ pass rush was subpar to say the least last season. Kansas City only recorded 31 sacks. Chris Jones led the team with 9.0 sacks, with Frank Clark coming in second place with 4.5 sacks. The Chiefs will need to add a few pass rushers to help make left uncomfortable for opposing quarterbacks.
Tyrann Mathieu looks like he is likely to leave in free agency, so the Chiefs will need to find another option for a player to patrol the backend of their defense. Mathieu was still a productive, Pro Bowl player last season, leading Kansas City with three interceptions and returning one of those for a touchdown.
Kansas City Chiefs Mock draft
The Chiefs will have nine selections to use in the 2022 NFL draft. Kansas City will likely use their first-round selection on a pass rusher coming off the edge. In a draft full of pass rushers, few were more productive in college than 6-foot-5, 270 pound Cameron Thomas out of San Diego State. Thomas tied for eighth nationally with 11.5 sacks.
Thomas, who finished his collegiate career with 20 quarterback takedowns, also recorded 71 tackles, 30 of which were solo. Thomas forced one forced fumble last season. In the second round, Kansas City could continue rebuilding its defensive line by selecting Oklahoma defensive end Nick Bonitto.
Bonitto, a 6-3, 240 pound junior, was among Oklahoma’s more productive defenders last season. Bonitto forced a fumble, recovered three others, and recorded seven sacks. Bonitto also made 39 tackles, 23 of which were solo stops. Bonitto is coming into the season following two strong seasons with the Sooners, as he also recorded 8.5 sacks in 2020.
Cincinnati safety Bryan Cook could be a solid third-round option for the Chiefs. Cook had a strong senior season, grabbing two interceptions and recording a sack. Taking an extra year to play due to COVID-19 providing an extra year of eligibility helped his draft stock. Before last season, Cook hadn’t intercepted a pass in college since 2018.
Cook’s best season, judging by playmaking ability, was his freshman year in 2017 when he intercepted four passes. As a senior, Cook also defended a career-high nine passes. Check Chiefs’ NFL Draft odds and NFL Odds.
2022 NFL Draft Event Information
- Date: Thursday, Apr. 28th (Round 1) | Friday, Apr. 29th (Rounds 2-3) | Saturday, Apr. 30th (Rounds 4-7)
- Time: 8 p.m. ET (Thursday) | 7 p.m. ET (Friday) | Noon ET (Saturday)
- Location: Allegiant Stadium, Paradise, NV
- TV Channel: ABC | ESPN | NFL Network
- NFL Draft Live Streaming: NFL Game Pass
2022 NFL First-Round Draft Order (with 2021 records)
- Jacksonville Jaguars
- Detroit Lions
- Houston Texans
- New York Jets
- New York Giants
- Carolina Panthers
- New York Giants (via Bears)
- Atlanta Falcons
- Seattle Seahawks (via Broncos)
- New York Jets (via Seahawks)
- Washington Commanders
- Minnesota Vikings
- Houston Texans (via Browns)
- Baltimore Ravens
- Philadelphia Eagles (via Dolphins)
- Philadelphia Eagles (via Colts)
- Los Angeles Chargers
- New Orleans Saints
- Philadelphia Eagles
- Pittsburgh Steelers
- New England Patriots
- Green Bay Packers (via Raiders)
- Arizona Cardinals
- Dallas Cowboys
- Buffalo Bills
- Tennessee Titans
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Green Bay Packers
- Kansas City Chiefs (via Miami from 49ers)
- Kansas City Chiefs
- Cincinnati Bengals
- Detroit Lions (via Rams)
Teams with no First Round Pick
- San Francisco 49ers
- Chicago Bears
- Denver Broncos
- Cleveland Browns
- Indianapolis Colts
- Las Vegas Raiders
- Los Angeles Rams
- Miami Dolphins