KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City Chiefs General Manager Brett Veach is in a unique spot with the 29th and 30th picks overall in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft, which begins Thursday in Las Vegas.
During his pre-draft news conference last week, Veach said the Chiefs had "16 to 18 names on our front board as first-round picks," later adding that he believed the best value in this year's draft seemed to be in the 30th through 60th picks.
The Chiefs currently have four picks roughly in that range — 29, 30, 50 and 62 — with roster needs at defensive end, wide receiver, cornerback, safety, offensive tackle and linebacker.
Kansas City can check off four of those needs before 8 p.m. on Friday, when the second and third rounds will be underway.
Veach and the Chiefs' front office will have several options in the first round. Here are some of the scenarios they may need to discuss as the draft unfolds:
1. Trade up
Veach mentioned that the team had 16 first-round grades, so he'll have to decide if the juice is worth the squeeze, especially should one of their top-graded players slide, versus standing pat for value.
If Kansas City does decide to move up, who might they target? I suspect the Chiefs would be intrigued if Alabama wide receiver Jameson Williams, Ohio State wide receiver Chris Olave, Northern Iowa right tackle Trevor Penning or a premium edge-rusher prospect, like Florida State's Jermaine Johnson II or Oregon's Kayvon Thibodeaux, dropped into striking distance somewhere in the mid- to late teens.
2. Draft best-available players at 29, 30
Veach and company could have their pick from among several quality corners an/or safeties that they have a late first- or early second-round grade on. Perhaps Florida's Kaiir Elam or Washington's Kyler Gordon will be there among corners or Michigan's Daxton Hill or Georgia's Lewis Cine among the safeties.
Kansas City also could make a play for a defensive end, like Penn State's Arnold Ebiketie or Minnesota's Boye Mafe, if the team values the player but doesn't anticipate them lasting until pick No. 50.
3. Trade back, gain value in 2nd round
A team or several teams likely will give Veach a call because of the chance of ensuring a fifth-year option at Nos. 29 or 30.
If the Chiefs don't see much difference on their board, the opportunity to trade back and pick up additional second- and/or third-round picks may be worth exploring from a value perspective.
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