One of the lesser-known draft picks for the Kansas City Chiefs last year was Nazeeh Johnson, who happened to be the final selection of their class. As the 259th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft from Marshall, he was actually the fifth defensive back chosen by the team during that weekend.
Unfortunately, Johnson was waived after training camp but later earned a promotion to the active roster in late September.
Despite being a safety, Nazeeh Johnson did not take a single snap on defense throughout the regular season or playoffs last year, despite dressing for 14 games.
Will Nazeeh Johnson be a key piece for the Kansas City Chiefs special teams unit this season?
In the NFL, it's a remarkable achievement for a late seventh-round pick to see relevant playing time in any capacity. Most seventh-round picks do not pan out, so having a key special teams contributor like Nazeeh Johnson is a significant win for the team.
With only 53 roster spots available, not every player will have ample playing time on offense or defense. Many players will primarily or exclusively play on special teams, and that's perfectly acceptable because special teams play a crucial role in the game. The Chiefs know this well, as they arguably lost their Week 3 game last year against the Colts due to special teams mistakes.
While Nazeeh Johnson may not develop into a regular part of the Chiefs' defense, that's perfectly fine. He has the potential to become a valuable asset for Dave Toub's special teams unit for years to come, which is remarkable value for the 259th overall pick in the draft. Although his career had a relatively slow start, with him not dressing for Weeks 1 through 3 last year, he performed much better as the season progressed. In my opinion, Johnson was the Chiefs' best special teams player, excluding kickers and punters, during the final eight games of the season. He was also one of the top performers in the entire NFL during that period in that capacity.
When fans reflect on the impressive 2022 draft class of the Kansas City Chiefs, they will remember names like Trent McDuffie and Isiah Pacheco, but it's essential not to overlook Nazeeh Johnson. He is poised to become one of the premier special teams players for Kansas City in the coming years, while also being recognized as one of the NFL's standout special teams aces. Although he may not see much action on offense or defense, he will undoubtedly yield significant benefits for a team that is poised to compete for Super Bowls in the long run.