The biggest mistake the KC Chiefs could make in the 2022 NFL Draft

Mar 1, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Kansas City Chiefs general manager Brett Veach talks to the media during the 2022 NFL Combine. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 1, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Kansas City Chiefs general manager Brett Veach talks to the media during the 2022 NFL Combine. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports /

Coming into the offseason, the 2022 NFL Draft was just going to be another yearly draft for the Kansas City Chiefs. That’s not to say it wasn’t important—quite the contrary given the need for considerable investment at key positions—but rather it felt like it was going to be another vital component of the offseason whole.

Funny, how a single trade can change all of that.

When the Chiefs traded Tyreek Hill to the Miami Dolphins earlier this spring, the offseason storyline turned upside-down for K.C. Suddenly the narrative went from surrounding the dominant core for another run to establishing the base of a brand new core with which to surround Patrick Mahomes.

This spring, the Chiefs have 12 total picks stretched across 12 rounds, including two in each of the draft’s first four rounds. That’s rare for a dominant contender to boast such an abundance of future riches, but the Chiefs take things even farther next season with 10 picks to their name already in 2023 due to losing Ryan Poles to the Chicago Bears and further picks from the Dolphins.

If that sounds unfair, it might be on the surface, but those who’ve been following the Chiefs closely know that there are a lot of foundations in the cracks of this contender. Mahomes holds a lot of things together, but superstar players earning top-of-the-market wages have kept this team from developing much depth at key positions. It’s the reason why low-ceiling performers like Dan Sorensen and Ben Niemann earned so much playing time on last year’s frustrating defense.

Here, then, lies the single biggest mistake the Chiefs could make given their present position and recent transaction history: to trade those assets for older veterans.

Explaining the mistake

This might sound silly to even float as a possibility given that the Chiefs traded perhaps the most dangerous weapon in the game for five draft picks in recent weeks. Why would a team trade such a valuable veteran for picks only to flip those same picks for another weapon? Imagine playing a game in which you make a move to pick up a handful of cards only to then decide you’d like to discard them. It’s a bit of a head-scratcher.

However, given Brett Veach’s aggressive history as a general manager, it’s understandable if some Chiefs fans are a bit worried about how this draft might play out. Veach has only made a single first-round selection in nearly five years on the job because he’s not afraid to trade away draft selections for proven veterans. It almost feels odd that Veach now has two first-round picks to make when the Chiefs have so often sat out the first night of the draft entirely.

The need for balance

It’s important to note here that Veach shouldn’t feel handcuffed to make each pick. His instincts have turned the Chiefs into an annual Super Bowl contender, so there’s nothing wrong with following his gut.

The Chiefs are still very much in win-now mode. Let’s not forget it took a complete offensive meltdown while up by several scores over the Cincinnati Bengals to cough away a third consecutive Super Bowl appearance. That means if the right deal reveals itself and it involves a solid veteran pickup, Veach should absolutely feel free to make that trade.

In addition, the Chiefs are going to be too talented to allow 12 draftees to even make the regular-season roster in the first place. Remember last spring when wide receiver Cornell Powell landed on the team’s practice squad despite a major need at wide receiver. Even with 12 picks, the Chiefs don’t need 12 players. What they need is a solid young core formed by packaging some of those picks at the right draft slot to honor their draft board.

The Chiefs shouldn’t be afraid to make a move for a James Bradberry from the New York Giants or a Tyler Lockett from the Seattle Seahawks if the money and compensation involved make sense for the greater goal: a long-term reorientation of this team’s core around Patrick Mahomes. But everything needs to line up with that. Forgetting that foundational pivot would be the biggest mistake the Chiefs could make in this year’s draft.

Next. Eight players worth trading up for in the draft. dark