Chiefs’ Mock Draft 1.0: Time To Set The Edge

February 6, 2022

It is now a week since the Chiefs’ disappointing loss in the AFC Championship Game, the perfect time for our first 2022 mock draft! As the Bengals and Rams are gearing up for the Super Bowl, Red Kingdom is gearing up for the offseason. Free Agency looms, and we’re already looking at who may not return to the Chiefs in 2022. The coaching carousel is already in full swing as Mike Kafka leaves Kansas City to become the Offensive Coordinator for the New York Giants. Eric Bienemy is set to interview the New Orleans Saints on Sunday for their head coach vacancy.

One thing for certain is there will be a change in store for Kansas City this offseason, much more than we saw last season. Kansas City’s former DL Coach, Brendan Daly, is moving on as linebackers coach. The Chiefs hired Joe Cullen, former Jacksonville Defensive Coordinator, to be their new defensive line coach.

The Chiefs will likely have $30+ million in cap space to work with this free agency period and are currently on pace to have nine total picks in the upcoming NFL Draft. They already have eight and should earn another third-round compensatory pick after Ryan Poles were hired as the new General Manager of the Chicago Bears. Those picks will help shape the next era of Kansas City football. Here is our mock draft 1.0:

First Round : Jermaine Johnson II, Edge, Florida State

The 2022 draft class is one of the deepest Edge classes we’ve seen in some time. This bodes well for the Chiefs, who have made the Defensive Line their top priority this offseason. The Chiefs won’t have a chance to draft Aiden Hutchinson or Kayvon Thibodeaux; both should be drafted in the top ten. Jermaine Johnson is just as exciting.

Johnson began his college career at Independence Community College in Kansas. He tallied eight sacks and three forced fumbles before transferring to Georgia in his first season there. In Georgia’s 2019 and 2020 seasons, Jermaine tallied 36 total tackles and six sacks over two seasons.

Following his senior year at Georgia, Johnson entered the transfer portal to play out his final season of NCAA eligibility. His decision to transfer to Florida State would prove to be a great one. He tallied 70 tackles, 17.5 for a loss, and 11.5 sacks in 2021 for FSU. His sack total was good for seventh in the NCAA and first in the ACC. Johnson won the 2021 ACC Defensive Player of the Year award.

Jermaine Johnson boasts elite speed at the edge position; he ran a 4.50 40-yard dash in high school and will likely match that at the NFL Combine. His strength on the pass rush combined with his elite speed could make him an elite pass rusher at the NFL level. Not only does Johnson boast ten+ sack potential in the NFL, but he’s also incredible in the run game. If the Chiefs can land Johnson at Pick 30, they’ll have their Edge rusher of the future to replace Frank Clark.

Second Round : Leo Chenal, LB, Wisconsin

The Chiefs have drafted a linebacker in the first two rounds each of the last two drafts. I don’t expect 2022 to be different. Leo Chenal boasts exceptional tools and figures to be an elite pursuit linebacker at the next level. Chenal played all three seasons at Wisconsin before declaring for the NFL Draft following his Junior year in 2021. 2021 saw Chenal finish third in the Big Ten in tackles and first in tackles for loss. His eight sacks ranked fifth in the Big Ten.

Sports Illustrated, discussing Chenal, stated, “if he refines his game in coverage, his size and speed, combined with his instincts against the run, make him a promising prospect.” Remind anyone of Nick Bolton?

Leo Chenal runs downhill with abandon and might be the best run-stopping linebacker in the entire draft class. Not only is Chenal excellent against the run, but he also excels in the pass rush. If the Chiefs ultimately make the change to a 3-4 as rumored, the trio of Chenal, Bolton, and Gay will be among the best young linebacker corps in the entire league.

Third Round : Romeo Doubs, WR, Nevada

Since 2010, the Chiefs have drafted four wide receivers within the first three rounds: Mecole Hardman, Chris Conley, Jonathan Baldwin, and Dexter McCluster. Romeo Doubs (Dubs) would become the fifth and best of that group. Doubs played all four seasons in college, playing for Nevada in the Mountain West Conference. Doubs posted at least 1000 receiving yards and nine touchdowns in his junior and senior seasons. He also doubles as an exceptional returner.

The Chiefs tried to find another version of Tyreek Hill when they drafted Mecole Hardman in 2019. That isn’t the case with Doubs. At 6’2″ 200 pounds, he isn’t the biggest-bodied wide receiver in the draft. Running a 4.52 40-yard dash doesn’t make him the fastest wide receiver in the draft either. Romeo is such an outstanding prospect because of his sharp route running, elite vertical skills, and overall balance in his game. Doubs can get up, fight for the ball, and make plays with his strength. He can also run past his man and burn the coverage consistently.

I don’t like to play the “comp game” in NFL draft prospects because no two players are the same, especially not with Hall of Famers. With that being said, I can see Doubs as a very similar wide receiver talent as Antonio Brown. If the Chiefs can draft Doubs in the third round, it may be the best pick in the entire draft.

Fourth Round, Dameon Pierce, HB, Florida

I can already hear the fans. “We don’t need to draft another running back.” The truth is, drafting a mid-round running back is the cheapest path to impactful running back production in the NFL. Darrell Williams and Jerick McKinnon are both free agents. Clyde Edwards-Helaire may have carved out a role as the change-of-pace back but doesn’t seem to be a true three-down back. Enter Dameon Pierce.

Pierce boasts a rare combination of power and receiving prowess. Pierce averaged 5.5 yards per rush in four seasons at Florida and 9.4 yards per reception. His senior year saw him become the goal-line back for the Gators, where he tallied 16 total touchdowns. Pierce excels in pass protection, plays smashmouth football at the position, and runs crisp routes out of the backfield. This skill set makes him an excellent replacement for Darrell Williams and a perfect fit for the Kansas City offense.

Perhaps the biggest question mark on Pierce will be his ability to handle a full NFL workload. He never tallied more than 110 rushing attempts in any NCAA season. Pierce split time with Emory Jones and Malik Davis in Florida and would do the same in Kansas City. Drafting a running back is fine, just not in the first round.

Sixth Round : C.J Wright, Defensive Tackle, Georgia Southern

Jarran Reed is a free agent, and the Chiefs will need to start looking towards the future at the interior defensive line. If Chris Jones isn’t a cap casualty (via trade) this offseason, he may be one in 2023. Wright isn’t Chris Jones. However, he is a 290-pound playmaker. In 2021, Wright tallied 36 tackles, 8 for a loss, and five sacks.

Seventh Round : Leon O’Neal Jr., Safety, Texas A&M

Leon O’Neal Jr. declared for the NFL draft after starting at safety for three years at Texas A&M. The Chiefs’ best player on defense, Tyrann Mathieu, is currently a free agent and a huge question mark entering next season. I hope the Chiefs can bring him back and, if they can’t, a 7th-round safety isn’t going to replace the future Hall of Famer. The thought with O’Neal is more so a replacement for Daniel Sorensen. The Chiefs cannot continue to put Sorensen on the field, and he shouldn’t return as a Chief. O’Neal plays well at all levels of the defense but struggles in the open field. He could develop into a solid special team safety and depth piece with a strong upside.

Seventh Round : Tariq Woolen, CB, UTSA

Tariq Woolen has only played the cornerback position for two years. His raw skills at the position fit exactly what Brett Veach likes at the position. Woolen is a former wide receiver who stands at 6’5″. He also runs a 4.3 40-yard dash. Woolen has the length and speed to perform at the cornerback position but is about as raw as a cornerback prospect in the draft can come. In Kansas City, Woolen could impact the return game and would play primarily as a special teamer. With time though, I wouldn’t be surprised if Woolen could develop into a serviceable corner in the NFL.

Seventh Round : Isaiah Thomas, Edge, Oklahoma

Isaiah Thomas played four years of NCAA football at Oklahoma. He tallied seven sacks in both his junior and senior years. In 2021, Thomas tallied 38 tackles, 10.5 for loss, and seven sacks. The most intriguing part of Thomas’ game is his versatility. He can line up at both Defensive Tackle and Defensive End and make a difference no matter where aligned.

Thomas should fall in the draft after being arrested in June 2021 after failing to appear on a previous larceny charge. The Chiefs have shown they aren’t afraid of past mistakes and don’t let that define their players. Thomas could be a late-round impact player for Kansas City.

What prospects could the Chiefs consider as they reload and refuel for the 2022 season? Leave a comment down below to join the discussion.

Want more Chiefs content? Be sure to check out the site here for more on all your favorite leagues, and follow our site Twitter @BorderFuelHQ for more sports content. Also, follow @RedKingdomBF on Twitter for more content! Thanks for reading, and have a fantastic day!