2022 NFL Draft: Three players KC Chiefs shouldn’t have passed on

The Kansas City Chiefs had a stellar 2022 NFL Draft, but what players might they regret passing over?

Read this knowing that the Kansas City Chiefs had one of the NFL’s best overall drafts. The team addressed several needs top to bottom, utilizing trades up and down to get players. Kansas City selected players who will contribute in Week 1, such as defensive end George Karlaftis, and long-term investments, such as cornerback Joshua Williams. This draft could replenish a Chiefs roster desperate for some young, cheap talent.

General manager Brett Veach and the Chiefs front office should be happy with their selections. But, there are some selections worth questioning. Now, there are reasons the Chiefs may not have drafted a player or vice versa.

Teams can be bearish or bullish on prospects, with interviews, medical history, and other evaluations being important in the pre-draft process. By and large, fans do not get this insight into the team-specific evaluations. While more post-draft transparency would be very interesting, teams are very cagey about their specific draft style and criteria.

If the Chiefs feel good about who they drafted, that is all that matters. But, from this perspective, there are better approaches the Chiefs could have taken in the draft. What prospects might the Chiefs regret passing on?

CB Martin Emerson

Selected by Cleveland Browns at 68th overall

Veach broke a draft mold by selecting cornerback Trent McDuffie at 21st overall. That is the highest pick the Cheifs have used on a cornerback since Marcus Peters in 2015, despite the position being a perennial need. If Veach would have selected cornerback Martin Emerson at 62nd overall, Chiefs social media would have broken.

Emerson has several physical traits the Chiefs look for in their outside corners. Standing at 6’1″ and weighing in at 201 lbs., Emerson is built to battle against bigger NFL wide receivers. He has very long arms, measuring at 33 1/2″ each. Both his weight and length help jam smaller receivers at the line of scrimmage, influencing the play from the snap.

Emerson does not have top-end speed, evident by his 4.51 40-yard dash at the 2022 NFL Combine. He still earned a 8.50 Relative Athletic Score, with good marks in his agility drills. Emerson does not have ideal speed, but slower cornerbacks, such as Richard Sherman, have seen elite success recently.

Emerson was commonly linked to Kansas City, as he would be available outside the top-50 picks and had the physical tools the team covets. He is not a sure-fire prospect, but the Chiefs lament passing on him if he can develop into a top starter for the Cleveland Browns.

WR Kevin Austin Jr.

Undrafted free agent, signed by Jacksonville Jaguars

There were plenty of interesting undrafted free agents, and Kansas City arguably got the best available in wide receiver Justyn Ross. But, the Chiefs could have addressed wide receiver late in the seventh round by drafting Kevin Austin, Jr.

A Notre Dame product, Austin is the epitome of a mid-ceiling, low-floor prospect. He only has 54 catches in his collegiate career. He missed the 2019 season by violating team rules, then lost much of 2020 with a foot injury. Austin’s 2021 season performance caught scouts’ eyes, as he totaled 888 receiving yards and 7 touchdowns.

Austin improved as the season went along, both by the numbers and by his fundamentals. His frame—6’2″, 200 lbs.—fits well in the NFL, and he seemed to have only scratched the surface of his potential. NFL analyst Lance Zierlein projected him as high as Round 3 of the 2022 NFL Draft, so Austin going undrafted was surprising.

There may be injury or character concerns fans are unaware of that raised red flags with teams. However, if there was not, Kansas City could have added another tantalizing receiving prospect to the mix. The Chiefs selecting safety Nazeeh Johnson was met with a lukewarm response. Austin was available there at 259th overall. If he develops into any semblance of a contributor, teams will be frustrated they missed out.

OT Bernhard Raimann

Selected by Indianapolis Colts at 77th overall

The 2022 NFL Draft had few exciting offensive tackle prospects, but Bernhard Raimann’s draft board tumble could have been to Kansas City’s gain.

Raimann has an interesting story, as an Austrian who had to grayshirt (delayed scholarship) his first collegiate season for his country’s mandatory military service. He is also a former tight end who transitioned to left tackle very quickly. He moves fluidly, especially considering his frame at 6’6″, 307 lbs. Raimann possesses some of this draft class’ best footwork, thanks to his natural athleticism.

Raimann’s film and collegiate performance are good, but they’re exceptional in context considering his limited time playing the position. His progression is rocketing the right way, which is why Indianapolis invested the 77th overall selection in him. With a good coaching staff, Raimann could realize his full potential at left tackle.

While Raimann is amongst the draft’s oldest prospects, Kansas City should have talked about selecting him. Left tackle Orlando Brown Jr. is still not signed long-term, and right tackle Lucas Niang is frequently injured. While the Chiefs did add mauler Darian Kinnard, Raimann is a potential franchise tackle. Those players do not come around often, especially with how late the Chiefs pick,

What did Andy Reid mean by ‘last true team’ reference?

In a recent appearance on the Herd with Colin Cowherd, Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid revealed that the Chiefs are “one of the last true teams.”

A few weeks ago, Colin Cowherd had Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid on his show and asked Big Red a variety of questions. The biggest part of the discussion was Andy praising former Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith for his relationship with Patrick Mahomes.

At the beginning of the clip below, Andy actually starts out discussing the limitations of living in a salary cap era, where teams don’t get to keep all the players they want. This was particularly true with the Chiefs having to trade Tyreek Hill earlier this offseason, which Reid notes.

At the end of that conversation, Reid gives a rather cryptic and mysterious line: “This is one of the last true teams for us that we have going.” You can see the quote clearly displayed below Colin Cowherd in the clip below.

But what is strange about this quote is that Reid didn’t bother to explain what he meant, and Colin didn’t follow up on it either. What exactly did Coach Reid mean by “this is one of the last true teams we have going”?

When I first heard it, I immediately wondered if Reid was giving a subtle hint about any future plans to retire. He hasn’t given much evidence that he wants to walk away anytime soon, but it’s natural to start asking those questions for a coach who is 64 years old—a man with only two NFL peers older than him.

If Ried is planning on retiring in the next few seasons, it would make sense that this Chiefs roster that Brett Veach is building could be “one of the last true teams we have going.” It would also explain why the team has undergone something of a rebuild this offseason after losing several stars and restocking with a whopping 10 draft picks—along with a potential dozen more next year. Reid could be wanting to build one last “superpower” to win a few more Super Bowls before riding off into the sunset.

If Reid isn’t hinting at retirement with this comment, he could simply be referring to general trend league-wide, which has seen an incredible amount of turnover (and lack of “team-building”) over the last two seasons, especially in the AFC. Few teams in the conference (and the league) have the sort of tenure at quarterback and head coach that the Chiefs enjoy. In that sense, they really are “one of the last true teams we have going.”

It’s cryptic and maybe it means nothing. But it’s an interesting quote that at least makes you wonder. What do you think Coach Reid meant by this comment?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Previous post Cowboys’ undrafted free agent class ranked best in the NFL by NBC Sports
Next post The Navy’s Underwater Boomers Are Unstoppable