Image Credit: (Denny Medley/USA Today Sports)
Written by: Nicholas Mullick Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nicholas-mullick-354076184/
With Training Camp about to start for the NFL in a few weeks, there are questions that follow each team. Like I did with the 49ers, I will be doing the Top 5 Biggest questions for every team heading into Training Camp. Next up is the Kansas City Chiefs who had the 21st and 30th pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. But there are still questions that remain with this team.
1. Do the Chiefs fully trust Clyde Edwards-Helaire?
The Chiefs offense is one of the best in the NFL no question. The running game was supposed to be bolstered when they selected RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire in the 1st round of the 2020 NFL Draft. While Clyde Edwards-Helaire has been decent, he has not been great with the Chiefs. With the Chiefs during the offseason adding Ronald Jones, Derrick Gore showing flashes, and drafting Isiah Pacheco. I am not so sure the Chiefs have a lot of trust in Clyde Edwards-Helaire. This is a big year for Clyde Edwards-Helaire to gain the trust of the Chiefs and if he doesn’t then it will be unlikely for him to get another contract with the Chiefs.
2. Who will replace Tyreek Hill as the number 1 receiver?
With the Chiefs making the shocking move to trade Tyreek Hill to the Miami Dolphins, there is a big hole at the wide receiver position. The Chiefs made moves during the offseason to help. One of the big acquisitions was Marquez Valdes-Scantling who signed a 3-year 30 million dollar contract. Now with him no longer having to be behind Davante Adams, Marquez Valdes-Scantling could impress. But keep in mind that he has also had injury concerns regarding his hamstring/back. Next up the Chiefs gave a 1-year prove-it deal to JuJu Smith-Schuster. He is a great receiver, but last season suffered a severe shoulder injury that ended his season early. Along with that, JuJu just was not a fit as the number 1 receiver when Antonio Brown left Pittsburgh. I see him more as a number 2 than a number 1 receiver. Skyy Moore is a very intriguing addition. He was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2022 NFL Draft and he showed a lot of traits you want to see in a wide receiver. Now he is a prospect, but if he develops well then he should be a solid receiver on this team. Justyn Ross went undrafted, but he is absolutely a player to watch. If he did not suffer that neck injury, he absolutely would have been drafted in probably between rounds 1-3. If he can stay healthy and showcase his skills on the field, he could be a guy that pulls the upset and gets a starting role on this team. Even though they added talent in the offseason, I would not completely rule out Mercole Hardman and Josh Gordon from getting the number 1 spot. Hardman was still a strong part of the Chiefs offense and he has built trust along with a connection with QB Patrick Mahomes the past few seasons. Josh Gordon may not be the player he was, but could still have something in the tank.
3. The offensive line is good, but what about right tackle?
I think it is safe to say that the Chiefs offensive line is really good. They got an excellent franchise blindside tackle in Orlando Brown Jr. They have an excellent center in Creed Humphrey. Two good guards in Trey Smith and Joe Thuney. The only position on the o-line I am really questioning is the right tackle position. Lucas Niang was not great when he played and could not stay healthy last season. Plus I doubt he will be ready to go in week 1 as he Tore his Patella Tendon in Week 17 and that is a tough injury to quickly recover from. Andrew Wylie wasn’t great last year but did a decent job as the starter. The Chiefs drafted Darian Kinnard in the 5th round of the 2022 NFL Draft and he could be something if his development goes well. But that right tackle position is a concern to keep an eye on. You want to give Mahomes as much protection as you can and I would make sure the Tackle positions are fully settled. It would not surprise me if the chiefs signed another tackle during training camp.
4. Can the pass-rushing core be trusted?
I really like what the Kansas City Chiefs did a majority of the offseason. However, there is one position I am not a fan of how they handled and that is the DE/EDGE rusher position. The Chiefs did next to nothing during Free Agency to add in Pass Rush. The only way they added is through the draft by selecting George Karlaftis 30th overall in the 2022 NFL Draft. Now I am a George Karlafitis guy and I think he should develop well with the chiefs, but there is a chance he could be a slow learner. Frank Clark is still here due to his awful contract and he has shown signs of decline. Maybe he can rebound, but if he does not then the Chiefs are in massive trouble as there are a bunch of unknowns behind them. It will be very telling what the Chiefs do from here on out their pass-rushing core as I am not sure they are done yet with adding players once Training Camp is done.
5. Did the Chiefs do enough at the cornerback position?
The Kansas City Chiefs secondary was a big weak point for them last season. So the Chiefs decided to make many moves to help improve it. The Chiefs used 5 draft picks on the secondary in the NFL Draft, along with signed S Justin Reid and Deon Bush. The Safety position to me is improved with players like Juan Thornhill, Justin Reid, Deon Bush, and rookie 2nd-round pick Bryan Cook. However, I am not sure about the cornerback position on the Chiefs if they made enough moves to help improve it. They acquired Lonnie Johnson via trade with the Houston Texans and could be something with a better coaching staff. That is really all the free agent moves they made and relied on the 2022 NFL Draft to fix the cornerback position. The obvious one is CB Trent McDuffie who they utilized a 1st round selection on. He has a lot of potential and should have a solid role at cornerback. The Chiefs used a 4th round pick on Joshua Williams who has promise, but hopefully, he can translate to the NFL. Next up is Jaylen Watson who they used a 7th-round pick on, is a wildcard prospect that they took a shot on. The Chiefs better hope that they hit on the prospects that they have chosen as the current depth without the prospects is not good excluding L'Jarius Sneed who impressed me in moments last season.