Making the Case: Should the Kansas City Chiefs Trade Up in NFL Draft?

Chiefs Draft Trade

The Kansas City Chiefs have a lot of capital heading into the 2022 NFL Draft. Thanks in large part to the Tyreek Hill trade, the Chiefs currently have six picks in the first three rounds and can basically do whatever they want in the NFL Draft. However, is it in Kansas City’s best interests to trade up, or should they let the draft come to them and take as many players as possible?

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Should the Kansas City Chiefs Trade Up in 2022 NFL Draft?

Why They Should

The Chiefs have one of the best rosters in the league, boasting an ideal combination of both high-end talent and depth at crucial positions. While there is no such thing as a perfect roster in today’s NFL, the Chiefs only have a few weaknesses that could be addressed with one or two top talents.

As things currently stand, the only glaring needs on this roster are wide receiver, cornerback, and the interior defensive line. The loss of Tyreek Hill left a glaring void at receiver, Chris Jones could use more help collapsing the pocket, and there is no such thing as too many good cornerbacks when you share a division with Justin Herbert, Russell Wilson, and Derek Carr.

Jordan Davis is probably the best interior lineman in this class, and it’s hard to imagine him being there at 29. Similarly, Alabama’s Jameson Williams boasts elite deep speed and would be a perfect fit for Andy Reid’s vertical offense, but somebody will take him before the Chiefs are on the clock.

Grabbing an elite prospect is always great, but it usually comes at the expense of roster depth. However, thanks to their abundance of picks, the Chiefs can afford to trade up without sacrificing their depth. If either of the aforementioned players falls to the early to mid 20’s, the Chiefs could send one of their first and thirds to move up and grab one of those elite prospects. Doing this will still let them grab somebody like Andrew Booth or Jalen Pitre at 30 while still having three picks in the next two rounds.

Why They Shouldn’t

The NFL Draft is an inexact science, and nobody should be overly confident with their draft evaluations. Sure, Williams and Davis look like fantastic players, but we’ve all been down this road before. Nobody hits on 100% of their picks, and the Chiefs are no exception.

In 2020, the Chiefs thought that Clyde Edwards-Helaire was better than Jonathan Taylor and D’Andre Swift, and that obviously didn’t work out. This isn’t a shot at Brett Veach and the Kansas City front office, it’s merely acknowledging that draft misses happen, and giving up multiple assets for a player that might bust is not a sustainable draft strategy.

Additionally, while Kansas City’s roster is currently in good shape, they need to start preparing for the inevitable Mahomes cap hit. According to Spotrac, the quarterback will count $46.7 million against the salary cap in 2023, which means the Chiefs won’t have nearly as much financial wiggle room in the coming years.

Draft picks are easily the most cost-effective method of building a team and collecting as many as you can allows the front office to have more spending money in free agency. While six picks in the first three rounds is a lot, the Chiefs could definitely use the financial advantage that comes from that many players operating on cheap contracts.

Ultimately, the Chiefs should only trade up if a truly special prospect drops into the 20’s, and even then they should only trade up once. In a game where injuries are commonplace, it’s far more important to have multiple cheap starting-caliber players than it is to have one potential star.

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