How did the rookies on the Kansas City Chiefs play in the 30-27 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers?
The Kansas City Chiefs have now won four consecutive games thanks to their Week 11 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers. Which rookies saw playing time against Tennessee and how did those players perform?
The Chiefs selected ten players in this 2022 NFL Draft, with nine of them making the final roster after training camp, and eight have seen playing time on offense or defense so far this season. Despite making the final roster, Darian Kinnard has only dressed for one game this season, in which he only saw six snaps on special teams, and Nazeeh Johnson is on the practice squad but has dressed in several games this season, playing only special teams snaps.
Here are the snap counts for every rookie in Week 11:
- Trent McDuffie, CB: 65 total snaps (62 defensive snaps and 3 special teams)
- Joshua Williams, CB: 57 total snaps (43 defensive and 14 special teams)
- Bryan Cook, S: 55 total snaps (37 defensive and 18 special teams)
- George Karlaftis, EDGE: 42 total snaps (36 defensive and 6 special teams)
- Isiah Pacheco, RB: 32 total snaps (26 offensive and 6 special teams)
- Leo Chenal, LB: 30 total snaps (13 defensive and 17 special teams)
- Skyy Moore, WR: 29 total snaps (27 offensive and 2 special teams)
- Jaylen Watson, CB: 21 defensive snaps (14 defensive and 7 special teams)
Jaylen Watson, Cornerback (Round 7, Pick 243)
It seems that Jaylen Watson has officially been passed by Joshua Williams on the cornerback depth chart. On Sunday night, Watson only played 14 of the 65 snaps on defense, including 11 in coverage. In those 11 snaps, he was targeted three times and allowed 3 catches, 34 yards, and a 113.9 passer rating.
Jaylen Watson did not get a lot of opportunities in this game, which makes sense since he is further down on the chart than he was a month ago. Ever since Week 3 against Indianapolis, he has struggled mightily, especially in man coverage. In man coverage alone, he’s allowed 9 receptions on 11 targets for 111 yards, 2 touchdowns, and a 148.3 passer rating.
A regression to the mean should have been expected as a seventh-round rookie playing elite man coverage was never going to last forever. He was always meant to be a rotational/depth player in 2022, so Chiefs fans should still be thrilled with the dividends that Watson has paid so far this year, especially in Week 2 against the Chargers, in addition to the potential he has in the future.
Skyy Moore, Wide Receiver (Round 2, Pick 54)
Finally, after ten long weeks, rookie wide receiver Skyy Moore broke out and had a solid game. He was targeted six times and racked up five catches for 63 yards, including multiple key third-down catches. Patrick Mahomes had a 110.4 passer rating when targeting Moore. Mahomes also went to him on two 3rd-and-7s in the first quarter, converting both, as well as another 3rd-and-7 late in the third quarter, which led to a Travis Kelce touchdown. Perhaps his most important catch of the night was a 3rd-and-4 conversion on the game-winning touchdown drive with a minute left in the game. He recorded 4 catches on 4 targets for 54 yards when he faced man coverage on Sunday.
Many fans in Chiefs Kingdom were hard on Skyy Moore before Week 11 since he only recorded 7 receptions for 106 over the first nine games of the year but sometimes receivers need time to adjust to the NFL. He was a late second-round pick from a MAC university and not contending for Offensive Rookie of the Year is not the end of the world for Moore. If Sunday night was any indication, Skyy Moore could be an x-factor for the Chiefs’ offense when the playoffs come around.