Round 1 – Trent McDuffie, cornerback
Round 4 – Joshua Williams, cornerback
Round 7 – Jaylen Watson, cornerback
In this year’s draft class, the Chiefs emphasized the cornerback position more than anyone could have expected. It was a major need coming into the draft, but as Veach explained in a post-draft presser, he also went with defensive backs in the later rounds because he was concerned they might not be able to convince undrafted options to sign with the team knowing they already had young corners competing.
Think of the overall savings here at the position for the Chiefs versus what other teams are paying. The Chiefs allowed Charvarius Ward to walk in free agency and he signed a three-year, $40 million deal with the San Francisco 49ers. Meanwhile, they landed McDuffie in the first round—the most talented corner in K.C. since Marcus Peters—who comes with a price tag of only $14 million over the next four full seasons.
If either Williams or Watson can pay off as a developmental investment for the Chiefs, the finances look much better. The Chiefs are already earning disproportional production from current safeties L’Jarius Sneed and Rashad Fenton compared to the small contracts they’ve earned as former fourth and sixth-round picks, respectively. Williams and Watson are further attempts by the Chiefs to maintain those sorts of cheap contributors to keep the secondary deep and talented without taking up precious cap space.
Just for some perspective, Williams will average $1.1M over the next four years while Watson will average just over $900K in the same span of time.