2022 NFL Offseason: Kansas City Chiefs

Kansas City Chiefs (Last Year: 12-5)

2022 NFL Season Preview:

Veteran Additions:
WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling, WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, OT Geron Christian, DE Carlos Dunlap, LB Jermaine Carter, LB Elijah Lee, S Justin Reid, S Deon Bush, S Lonnie Johnson.
Early Draft Picks:
CB Trent McDuffie, DE George Karlaftis, WR Skyy Moore, S Bryan Cook, LB Leo Chenal, CB Joshua Williams, OT Darian Kinnard. Chiefs Rookie Forecast
Offseason Losses:
RB Darrel Williams, WR Tyreek Hill, WR Byron Pringle, WR Demarcus Robinson, OT Mike Remmers, G Kyle Long, C Austin Blythe, DE Melvin Ingram, LB Anthony Hitchens, CB Charvarius Ward, CB Mike Hughes, S Tyrann Mathieu.

2022 Kansas City Chiefs Offense:
The Chiefs advanced to the AFC Championship last year, but they did not have an easy time getting there. Throughout the season, opposing defenses utilized a cover-2 shell to slow down Patrick Mahomes. It worked for the most part, as the Chiefs had offensive outputs of 20, 3, 20, 13, 19 and 22 points for a stretch in the middle of the season. Kansas City ultimately won two playoff games, but the offense couldn’t move the ball in either second half of the two matchups against Cincinnati.

Andy Reid will be tasked to get the most out of Mahomes again, but it’ll be more difficult than usual this year because of Tyreek Hill’s departure. Hill, one of the most electric players in the NFL, was traded to the Dolphins because of financial implications. The Chiefs are left without a proven No. 1 receiver as a result. Competing for that role will be JuJu Smith-Schuster, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Mecole Hardman and Skyy Moore. Smith-Schuster has been a rapidly regressing player in recent years, albeit with a decrepit Ben Roethlisberger; Valdes-Scantling and Hardman have both shown potential, but haven’t been nearly consistent enough to live up to it; and Moore, despite his upside, is just a rookie. Mahomes will have to lean on Travis Kelce more this year, which could be a bit of a problem if the All-Pro tight end’s age (33 in October) begins catching up with him.

Perhaps the Chiefs will try to emphasize the rushing attack more often, which would be a good strategy to get teams out of the cover-2 shell. This might be why Kansas City signed Ronald Jones to compete for snaps with Clyde Edwards-Helaire. However, both Edwards-Helaire and Jones have disappointed throughout their young careers. Jerick McKinnon was re-signed after a brilliant playoff performance against the Steelers. He’ll handle the receiving duties.

While the receiving corps has changed, the offensive line has at least remained intact. The star of the group is center Creed Humphrey, who was arguably the best center in the NFL last year despite being a rookie. He’ll once again be flanked by Trey Smith, another fellow 2021 rookie who played well despite the inexperience, and the excellent Joe Thuney.

Perhaps the only weak link in the blocking unit is right tackle Lucas Niang, but he’s entering his third year and could improve. He’ll bookend left tackle Orlando Brown Jr., who had an excellent first season as Mahomes’ blind-side blocker.

2022 Kansas City Chiefs Defense:
It was strange to see the Chiefs’ defense carry the team late in the year. While Patrick Mahomes and company still had problems dealing with opposing cover-2 shells at times, the defense led the way, restricting opposing teams to 17 points or fewer in every single game between Nov. 1 and Dec. 15.

One of the catalysts for this defensive surge was Melvin Ingram, whom the Chiefs acquired from the Steelers. Ingram provided a spark on the edge, which allowed the prolific Chris Jones to remain in the interior, where he plays best. Ingram is gone, but Jones will continue to operate in his ideal spot because the team used one of its first-round picks on George Karlaftis. The Purdue prospect may not have the biggest upside, but he should be a solid pro. He’ll start on the opposite side of Frank Clark, who has not performed up to expectations in Kansas City. Clark notched 32 sacks in three years with Seattle (not counting his rookie year), but he has accumulated only 18.5 sacks in the same time frame in Kansas City.

The Chiefs will need Karlaftis and Clark to step up because they have some changes in their secondary. Beginning at cornerback, the other of the two first-round choices was used on Trent McDuffie, a smaller but talented player, who will replace Charvarius Ward. He can play outside or in the slot, but he’s probably better in the latter position. However, he may have to remain outside because L’Jarius Sneed thrives in the slot. The other outside cornerback with be Rashad Fenton, who is coming off a great year.

Tyrann Mathieu is also gone. The Chiefs found a potential replacement in free agency, signing Justin Reid away from Houston. Reid has played well in the past, but he’s been very inconsistent. He’s coming off a down year, so he’ll have to rebound. He’ll play next to Juan Thornhill, who is a young, quality safety.

As for the rest of the defense, Kansas City’s linebacking corps is often a weakness because Reid has never put lots of stock into the position. However, Nick Bolton showed promise as a second-round rookie last year. Willie Gay Jr. was the best linebacker on the team in 2021, and his return from injury was another spark for the defense’s improvement.

2022 Kansas City Chiefs Schedule and Intangibles:
The Chiefs needed to bring back the Arrowhead magic that existed prior to 2007. Since that year, Kansas City was a dreadful 20-37 as a host heading into the 2014 campaign. However, Kansas City is now 56-20 at Arrowhead over the past seven seasons. This includes the four victories in the playoffs leading up to Super Bowls LIV and LV. However, the Chiefs lost to the Bengals as hosts in last year’s AFC Championship.

Andy Reid had poor special-teams units in Philadelphia after John Harbaugh left for Baltimore. That was not the case the past nine years for the Chiefs, as they combined for 14 return touchdowns. They’ve scored eight during the past six seasons, thanks to Tyreek Hill and Mecole Hardman.

Harrison Butker was once again very accurate in field goals last year, hitting 25-of-28 tries, including 7-of-9 from from beyond 50. He missed just two extra points.

Punter Tommy Townsend was ranked in the middle of the pack in 2020 as far as net average is concerned. He did not do a good job of pinning opposing teams inside the 20, however.

The Chiefs have a brutal schedule. In addition to playing six tough games in the AFC West, some of the non-divisional foes they’ll have to battle include the Bills, Bengals, Buccaneers, Rams, 49ers and Cardinals.

2022 Kansas City Chiefs Rookies:
Go here for the Chiefs Rookie Forecast, a page with predictions like which rookie will bust and which rookie will become a solid starter.

2022 Kansas City Chiefs Positional Rankings (1-5 stars):
Offensive Line
Running Backs
Defensive Line
Special Teams

2022 Kansas City Chiefs Analysis: Things won’t be easy for the Chiefs this year. Not only did they lose Tyreek Hill; they’ll have to navigate through an extremely difficult schedule. However, if there’s a tandem that can overcome this sort of adversity, it’s Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes. Despite all the hardships, the Chiefs are still expected to win 11 or 12 games and potentially make another Super Bowl run.

Projection: 11-6 (3rd in AFC West)

2021 Projection: 16-1. 2021 Actual Result: 12-5.
2020 Projection: 13-3. 2020 Actual Result: 14-2.
2019 Projection: 13-3. 2019 Actual Result: 12-4.
2018 Projection: 11-5. 2018 Actual Result: 12-4.
2017 Projection: 11-5. 2017 Actual Result: 10-6.
2016 Projection: 10-6. 2016 Actual Result: 12-4.

2022 Fantasy Football Rankings

More 2022 NFL Season Previews

NFL Draft Team Grade: A Grade

Goals Entering the 2022 NFL Draft: The Chiefs took a step backward in the AFC arms race when they traded Tyreek Hill. They already had some needs to fill – primarily pass rush and cornerback – but now they’ll have to somehow replace Hill’s production. One of the team’s two first-round picks will be used to try to do that.

2022 NFL Draft Accomplishments: Like the Packers, the Chiefs weren’t in a position to draft a viable receiver without trading up. I wonder, however, if they could’ve sweetened the pot compared to what the Lions offered the Vikings to move up for Jameson Williams. With 12 picks, Kansas City had to use some selections to move up anyway.

The Chiefs ended up trading up, getting Trent McDuffie instead of a wide receiver. McDuffie will fill a big need in the secondary, and he was a nice value at 21 because he easily could’ve been chosen as early at No. 12 or 13. George Karlaftis was also a steal at No. 30. He and McDuffie will bolster Kansas City’s weak defense.

Kansas City finally found its receiver in the middle of the second round when it selected Skyy Moore. Like McDuffie and Karlaftis, Moore was obtained later than expected. This was a running theme for the Chiefs throughout the weekend, as they acquired great values by choosing Leo Chenal, Joshua Williams, Darian Kinnard and Jaylen Watson as well.

I loved the Chiefs’ draft, but I wish they would have beaten the Lions to the punch for Williams. Still, Kansas City came away with an excellent haul.

NFL Draft Individual Grades:

21. Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington – A Grade
I imagine the Chiefs were shocked that Trent McDuffie was available. They didn’t need to leap the Packers necessarily, but going ahead of Baltimore was essential. I love this pick, as Kansas City had to fill a huge hole at cornerback, and McDuffie is arguably the best player available after Jermaine Johnson. The Chiefs moved up to get McDuffie, but with 12 picks, they almost had to do so.

30. George Karlaftis, DE, Purdue – A Grade
I’m mad about the Bengals not getting George Karlaftis, but the Chiefs are making a great value pick. Karlaftis has the talent to be a top-15 pick. I’m not sure why he fell – the upside isn’t huge, I suppose – but the Chiefs won’t complain. He’ll fill a huge need for Kansas City’s poor edge rush.

54. Skyy Moore, WR, Western Michigan – A Grade
I saw that some had Skyy Moore in the first round. That was a bit rich to me, save for one update when I was stuck on Tennessee’s pick, but Moore seemed destined to go in the top half of the second round. This is good value for him, and he obviously fills a need vacated by Tyreek Hill in the trade with Miami. I love this pick, especially because the Chiefs traded down to take Moore.

62. Bryan Cook, S, Cincinnati – C Grade
I’m not a huge fan of this pick. Bryan Cook is an instinctive safety, so he should be able to play right away and fill in for Tyrann Mathieu, but I think this is a bit rich for him. I had him late three/early four. This isn’t a huge reach, but the Chiefs could have done better.

103. Leo Chenal, LB, Wisconsin – B Grade
Leo Chenal makes sense at the end of the third round. He’s a two-down run defender who will struggle in coverage, but the Chiefs won’t have to put him in that situation. Kansas City’s run defense should improve with Chenal No. 3 on the field.

135. Joshua Williams, CB, Fayetteville State – A Grade
I’m a big fan of this pick for the Chiefs. They really needed to shore up their ailing secondary, so another defensive back pick makes sense. Joshua Williams is someone I had mocked in the third round on some occasions, so I love this value.

145. Darian Kinnard, OT, Kentucky – A+ Grade
Two A+ grades to begin Round 5! Darian Kinnard has good athleticism for a big offensive lineman, so I thought he’d go in the third round. This is great value, though it’s worth noting that there are injury concerns. Still, there’s barely any risk in Round 5.

243. Jaylen Watson, CB, Washington State – A+ Grade
What is happening!? How are these talented cornerbacks falling to the seventh round? As with Kalon Barnes, I had Jaylen Watson projected to the fourth round. The tall cornerback is a great value for the Chiefs in the final frame.

251. Isaih Pacheco, RB, Rutgers – C Grade
Isaih Pacheco was fast in college, but I don’t think that’ll translate to the NFL. He doesn’t break any tackles and doesn’t possess any positive tools for an NFL running back.

259. Nazeeh Johnson, S, Marshall – B- Grade
Nazeeh Johnson was not on my radar at all as a draftable prospect. I’d go into the “C” range if this were not in the compensatory portion of the seventh round.

Follow @walterfootball for updates.

Season Summary:
It seemed like a certainty that the Chiefs would win another championship once they defeated the Bills in overtime in what many deemed to be the real Super Bowl. They dominated the Bengals to start the afternoon, but blew a 21-3 lead in the second half.

Offseason Moves:
  • Chiefs acquire S Lonnie Johnson from Texans
  • Chiefs sign DT Taylor Stallworth
  • Chiefs sign RB Ronald Jones
  • Chiefs sign LB Jermaine Carter
  • Chiefs sign WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling
  • Chiefs sign LB Elijah Lee
  • Chiefs sign S Deon Bush
  • Dolphins acquire WR Tyreek Hill from Dolphins for draft picks
  • Chiefs sign OT Geron Christian
  • Chiefs sign WR JuJu Smith-Schuster
  • Chiefs sign S Justin Reid

    Team Needs:
    1. Defensive End: Melvin Ingram was a nice addition in the middle of the year, but Kansas City needs a more permanent solution on the edge.

    2. Linebacker: Andy Reid doesn’t value linebackers very highly, but his current group needs an upgrade. Signed Elijah Lee and Jermaine Carter

    3. Defensive Tackle: Chris Jones was much better in the interior than on the edge this past season, but the Chiefs need to find another defensive tackle to start next to him. Signed Taylor Stallworth

    4. Two Wide Receivers: The Chiefs missed Sammy Watkins’ speed last year. They should find another receiver who can challenge opposing defenses downfield. They also have to replace Tyreek Hill. Signed JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling

    5. Left Tackle: Kansas City traded for Orlando Brown, so it would be foolish to allow him to walk in free agency. Franchised Orlando Brown

    6. Cornerback: One of Charvarius Ward or Mike Hughes will have to be re-signed as a starter across from L’Jarius Sneed.

    7. Safety: Tyrann Mathieu is also an impending free agent who must be re-signed or replaced. Signed Justin Reid

    8. Fullback: Michael Burton is a terrific fullback, but his contract is set to expire. Re-signed Michael Burton

    9. Backup Quarterback: With Chad Henne turning 37, the Chiefs may want to find a better backup quarterback. Re-signed Chad Henne

      Follow me @walterfootball for updates.

    2022 NFL Free Agent Signings:
    1. Justin Reid, S, Texans. Age: 25.
      Signed with Chiefs (3 years, $31.5 million)

      Justin Reid tends to be one of the top safeties in the NFL, though he’s coming off an unusual down year. He’ll certainly rebound, and he’s only 25 to boot.

    2. JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, Steelers. Age: 25.
      Signed with Chiefs

      JuJu Smith-Schuster has somehow gotten worse each year. He’s still young and talented, so perhaps he’ll improve on another team.

    3. Marquez Valdes-Scantling, WR, Packers. Age: 27. — Signed with Chiefs (3 years, $30 million)
    4. Ronald Jones, RB, Buccaneers. Age: 25. — Signed with Chiefs (1 year, $5 million)
    5. Geron Christian, OT, Texans. Age: 25. — Signed with Chiefs
    6. Deon Bush, S, Bears. Age: 29. — Signed with Chiefs
    7. Elijah Lee, LB, Browns. Age: 26. — Signed with Chiefs
    8. Jermaine Carter, LB, Panthers. Age: 27. — Signed with Chiefs
    9. Taylor Stallworth, DT, Colts. Age: 27. — Signed with Chiefs

    Kansas City Chiefs Free Agents:

    Salary Cap: TBA.
    1. Orlando Brown, OT, Chiefs. Age: 26.
      Franchised by Chiefs

      Orlando Brown Jr. has the potential to be one of the best left tackles in the NFL. He’s an excellent blocker right now, but at 26, he has time to reach the top tier.

    2. Michael Burton, FB, Chiefs. Age: 26.
      Re-signed with Chiefs (1 year)

      Michael Burton can convert short-yardage situations, catch passes, and most importantly, block extremely well.

    3. Charvarius Ward, CB, Chiefs. Age: 26.
      Signed with 49ers (3 years, $42 million)

      Despite being an undrafted free agent back in 2018, Charvarius Ward worked hard and became an important part of Kansas City’s secondary. He missed some action last year, but the Chiefs’ defense improved when he returned to the field.

    4. Tyrann Mathieu, S, Chiefs. Age: 30.
      Signed with Saints

      Tyrann Mathieu is not the same dynamic safety from years ago, but he’s still strong in coverage. He tends to miss many tackles, however, and he turns 30 this offseason.

    5. Melvin Ingram, DE/OLB, Chiefs. Age: 33.
      Signed with Dolphins

      Melvin Ingram was a nice addition to Kansas City’s roster. He recorded only one sack, but was a force against the run.

    6. Jerick McKinnon, RB, Chiefs. Age: 30.
      Re-signed with Chiefs

      I didn’t think I’d be ranking Jerick McKinnon this high after the regular season, but he was amazing in the playoff win against Pittsburgh. He was great as both a runner and a receiver, and his pass-protection ability is superb.

    7. Darrel Williams, RB, Chiefs. Age: 27.
      Darrel Williams was more impressive as a runner and a receiver compared to Clyde Edwards-Helaire. He rushed for 558 yards, caught 47 passes and scored eight total touchdowns.

    8. Mike Hughes, CB, Chiefs. Age: 25.
      Signed with Lions (1 year, $3.5 million)

      Mike Hughes, a former first-round pick, played well for the Chiefs when given the chance last year. He’s only 25, so he could fully develop into a consistent, quality corner.

    9. Byron Pringle, WR, Chiefs. Age: 28.
      Signed with Bears

      Patrick Mahomes relied on Byron Pringle more as the year progressed. He finished with a career-high 42 passes, but he could beat that next year.

    10. Blake Bell, TE, Chiefs. Age: 31.
      Re-signed with Chiefs (1 year)

      Blake Bell offers nothing as a receiver, but he’s an excellent blocker.

    11. Kyle Long, G, Chiefs. Age: 33.
      It seemed to be a big deal that Kyle Long came out of retirement to join the Chiefs, but he didn’t play a single snap in 2021.

    12. Andrew Wylie, OT, Chiefs. Age: 28. — Re-signed with Chiefs
    13. Austin Blythe, C/OT, Chiefs. Age: 30. — Signed with Seahawks
    14. Demarcus Robinson, WR, Chiefs. Age: 27. — Signed with Raiders
    15. Mike Remmers, OT, Chiefs. Age: 33.
    16. Anthony Hitchens, LB, Chiefs. Age: 30.
    17. Alex Okafor, DE, Chiefs. Age: 31.
    18. Jarran Reed, DT, Chiefs. Age: 29. — Signed with Packers
    19. Derrick Nnadi, DT, Chiefs. Age: 26. — Re-signed with Chiefs
    20. Ben Niemann, LB, Chiefs. Age: 27.
    21. Armani Watts, S, Chiefs. Age: 26. — Signed with Colts
    22. Daniel Sorensen, S, Chiefs. Age: 32. — Signed with Saints
    23. Chad Henne, QB, Chiefs. Age: 37. — Re-signed with Chiefs (1 year)
    24. Dorian O’Daniel, LB, Chiefs. Age: 27.
    25. Josh Gordon, WR, Chiefs. Age: 31.

    NFL Free Agent Tracker:
    QB | RB | FB | WR | TE | OT | G | C | DE | DT | OLB | ILB | CB | S | K/P | FA Grades | FA Rumors

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