What Are The Kansas City Chiefs’ Team Needs In The 2022 NFL Draft?

The 2022 NFL Draft starts on Thursday, April 28. As a lead-up to the draft, we’ll be giving a team-by-team breakdown for positional needs. For each team, we’ll give an overview of the current depth chart and how big of a need each position is in the upcoming draft. You can find the rest of the team needs (as they’re updated) and the rest of our draft content in the 2022 NFL Draft hub.

Sharp Football Betting Package
Take 15% off NFL Betting + Props

What Picks do the Kansas City Chiefs have in 2022

The Kansas City Chiefs have 13 picks.

Round 1 (29)
Round 1 (30)
Round 2 (50)
Round 2 (62)
Round 3 (94)
Round 3 (103)
Round 4 (121)
Round 4 (135)
Round 7 (233)
Round 7 (251)
Round 7 (259)

Kansas City Chiefs Top POSITIONS OF NEED

  1. WR
  2. EDGE
  3. Outside CB
  4. S

Kansas City Chiefs Strength of Schedule, 2022

The Kansas City Chiefs have the hardest NFL strength of schedule for the 2022 NFL season.

Kansas City Chiefs Offense

By Rich Hribar


Patrick Mahomes
Chad Henne
Shane Buechele

Despite a few lulls to work through in season that were below the standards set over the previous three seasons, the Chiefs still ended the season second in the NFL in expected points added via their passing offense in 2021 (236.9 EPA). 

Patrick Mahomes has seen his yards per pass attempt drop from the previous year in each of the past three seasons, but he still has posted a touchdown rate over 5.0% every year as a starter.

Mahomes signed a 10-year extension last offseason that will run through 2024 at minimum, but he will be a Chief for a long, long time. 

Backups Chad Henne and Shane Buechele are only signed for 2022, but the Chiefs are not in the market for a signal-caller at the expense of any draft capital. 


Clyde Edwards-Helaire
Ronald Jones
Derrick Gore
Brenden Knox
Michael Burton (FB)

Clyde Edwards-Helaire has not gotten off to the start many had hoped after being selected in the first round in 2020.

Edwards-Helaire produced 646 yards and six touchdowns in 2021 in 10 games. With another seven games missed, he has now missed 10 regular season games over his first two years in the league.

The primary culprit of capping his upside so far has been his lack of usage in passing situations, despite that being a strength of his college. Edwards-Helaire has averaged just 2.8 and 1.9 receptions per game through two seasons while running just 55 total routes on third down those seasons. 

With both Darrel Williams and Jerick McKinnon still free agents, Edwards-Helaire may finally have that role expansion in Year 3, but he also has some added competition on early downs with the addition of Ronald Jones.

Through two years in the league, Edwards-Helaire has rushed for -71 yards below expectation per Next Gen Stats while Ronald Jones is at +217 yards over the past two seasons.

That said, Edwards-Helaire is still on his rookie deal for at least two more seasons while Jones only inked a one-year deal for $1.5 million. 

Edwards-Helaire is the only back on the roster signed beyond this season, with the team holding exclusive rights on Derrick Gore in 2023. 

The Chiefs still are likely to add a back here but signing another veteran that can pick up passing snaps after the draft is the route they should take with this group unless it is a late day three pick. 


Marquez Valdes-Scantling
JuJu Smith-Schuster
Mecole Hardman
Corey Coleman
Daurice Fountain
Josh Gordon
Justin Watson
Gehrig Dieter
Joe Fortson
Gary Jennings
Omar Bayless
Chris Finke
Cornell Powell
Mathew Sexton

The Chiefs made huge news this offseason by trading Tyreek Hill to the Dolphins at the end of March

Hill led the team with 159 targets, 111 receptions, and 1,239 yards in 2021, matching Travis Kelce with a team-high nine touchdown grabs.

In their effort to re-shape this receiving corps, the Chiefs signed both Marquez Valdes-Scantling and JuJu Smith-Schuster this offseason in free agency. 

Valdes-Scantling has never commanded more than 73 targets in a season over his first four years in the league but provides tactical leverage as a downfield threat. 

Since entering the league, Valdes-Scantling has averaged 16.0 air yards per target, the most in the NFL. His 17.5 career yards per reception are second since he joined the league, only trailing Ja’Marr Chase, who has one year on his belt. 

I went thoroughly in-depth on Smith-Schuster last offseason so I won’t repeat all the same things in depth here, raising the questions on his career usage, personal production, and being caught in the stagnant Pittsburgh passing game as we tried to recapture the production that Smith-Schuster showcased early in his career.

2021 provided no further clarity on things potentially bouncing back as Smith-Schuster appeared in just five games due to a shoulder injury. Prior to injury, we were getting more of the 2020 version of JuJu as he was averaging just 8.6 yards per catch and a paltry 4.6 yards per target.

Smith-Schuster will still only be 26 years old this November, leaving a passing game that regenerate downfield usage.  

Mecole Hardman enters 2022 in the final year of his rookie contract coming off his best season to date, posting 739 yards from scrimmage. Hardman tallied 67 touches after 75 over his first two NFL seasons. 

While finishing with positive counting stats in relation to his first two seasons, Hardman has not lived up to his draft capital, while losing snaps regularly to Byron Pringle to close 2021 and moved into an ancillary role in the offense. 

Kansas City has a plethora of wideouts here on one-year deals at the back end of this group. Valdes-Scantling is the only wide receiver here signed beyond 2022, further pushing an emphasis that the Chiefs are not done adding to the position. 


Travis Kelce
Blake Bell
Noah Gray
Jordan Franks
Matt Bushman
Nakia Griffin-Stewart
Josh Pederson
Mark Vital

Travis Kelce will turn 33 years old this October, but is coming off another strong season, catching 92-of-134 targets for 1,125 yards and nine touchdowns in 2021. 

Kelce is still signed through 2025. 

2021 fifth-round pick Noah Gray is the only tight end after Kelce signed beyond this season, but this is as far from a need as this offense has


LT: Orlando Brown/ Prince Tega Wanogho/Geron Christian
LG: Joe Thuney/Nick Allegretti
C: Creed Humphrey/Austin Reiter/Darryl Williams
RG: Trey Smith
RT: Lucas Niang/Andrew Wylie/Roderick Johnson

The Chiefs successfully rebuilt this offensive line last offseason through free agency and the draft. The results could not have gone much better as Kansas City closed the year second in ESPN’s Pass Block Win Rate metric (68%) and sixth in pass blocking grade per Pro Football Focus. 

The Chiefs also were one of the healthiest offensive lines of 2021 with Orlando Brown (100%), Joe Thuney (99%), Creed Humphrey (99%), and Trey Smith (100%) all playing nearly every offensive snap of the season. 

The Chiefs added Brown and Thuney via trade and free agency last year, but the team found massive success in the draft with Humphrey (63rd overall) and Smith (226th). Humphrey was the highest-graded center in the league per Pro Football Focus in 2021 while Smith was 16th among 88 qualifying guards. 

The team used the franchise tag on Brown, as he is the only one of their starters that is not signed beyond the 2022 season. 

The team has 2020 third-rounder Lucas Niang currently at right tackle as the one questionable spot to upgrade and add competition to. After opting out of 2020 due to COVID, Niang made nine starts in his first NFL season, allowing a 7.8% pressure rate (76th among tackles) while their other right tackle Andrew Wylie allowed an 8.4% pressure rate (81st).  

Sharp Football Betting Package
Take 15% off NFL Betting + Props

Kansas City Chiefs Defense

By Dan Pizzuta

Interior Defensive Line

Chris Jones
Tershawn Wharton
Derrick Nnadi
Khalen Saunders
Taylor Stallworth
Cortez Broughton
Darius Stills
Lorenzo Neal

Chris Jones remains one of the best interior players in the league. He was second among defensive tackles in ESPN’s Pass Rush Win Rate and he was first in pressure rate, per SIS. Jones still won’t turn 28 years old until July and he’s signed through 2023.

Tershawn Wharton played 45% of the defensive snaps in 2021 and the 2020 undrafted free agent has worked himself in to a useful rotational rusher with the potential for more in 2022. Wharton was 29th among defensive tackles in pressure rate last season.

Derrick Nnadi played 40% of the defensive snaps and the 2018 third-round pick re-signed on a one-year deal after his rookie contract expired.


Frank Clark
Mike Danna
Joshua Kaindoh
Jonathan Woodard
Malik Herring
Austin Edwards

Frank Clark’s tenure in Kansas City has been uneven, though he’s technically made the Pro Bowl in all three seasons as a Chief. Clark only had 4.5 sacks in 2021 and ranked 41st among edge rushers in pressure rate. Clark’s pressure rate has increased in each of the past three seasons but they were not high rates to top.

Chris Jones had to fill in at edge early in the season with little effective depth before Melvin Ingram was acquired. Without Ingram on the roster for 2022 (he’s currently still a free agent), the Chiefs are in a similar spot. It would not be shocking if one of Kansas City’s two first-round picks was used at the position.

Off-ball Linebacker

Willie Gay Jr.
Nick Bolton
Elijah Lee
Jermaine Carter
Shilique Calhoun
Darius Harris

Willie Gay and Nick Bolton were second-round picks in back-to-back seasons, which shows a fairly decent investment at the position. Bolton led the group in snaps during his rookie season and ranked 41st among 85 qualified linebackers in yards allowed per coverage snap.

Gay played 12 games and 39% of the overall defensive snaps. He ranked 63rd in yards allowed per coverage snap. He’ll play a bigger role in 2022 with both Anthony Hitchens and Ben Niemann no longer on the roster.

The Chiefs also used dime personnel 27% of the time, the second-highest rate in the league, which keeps just one linebacker on the field.


Rashad Fenton
L’Jarius Sneed
Deandre Baker
Luq Barcoo
Dicaprio Bootle
Brandin Dandridge

Rashad Fenton was 31st among cornerbacks in Adjusted Yards allowed per coverage snap, which accounts for touchdowns and interceptions. Fenton will be the top outside receiver with Charvarious Ward gone. As a 2019 sixth-round pick, Fenton is in the final year of his rookie deal.

L’Jarius Sneed led the position in snaps played (82%) and spent most of his time in the slot. Sneed ranked 35th in Adjusted Yards allowed per coverage snap.

With Ward gone, the Chiefs have an opening outside. That could go to former Giants first-round pick Deandre Baker. Baker only played 146 converge snaps and was below average in Adjusted Yards allowed per coverage snap, though not significantly so.


Justin Reid
Juan Thornhill
Deon Bush
Zayne Anderson
Devon Key

Justin Reid takes over as Kansas City’s big free agent signing this offseason. Reid has been up and down a bit over the past few seasons in Houston but a better defensive scheme should help bring back his early-year production.

Juan Thornhill played 76% of the defensive snaps last season and should continue to develop as a top safety. He played most of his snaps as a deep safety, but also added some snaps in the slot and box. Moving him — and Reid — around could happen more often without Tyrann Mathieu.

Deon Bush has played more special teams in his career, but played 35.6% of the defensive snaps with the Bears last season and currently serves as the team’s third safety.

Sharp Football Betting Package
Take 15% off NFL Betting + Props