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Super Bowl 57: The Kansas City Chiefs' 2022 draft class sets them up for the Super Bowl and beyond

Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Trent McDuffie (21) celebrates after an interception by safety Juan Thornhill (not pictured) during the second half against the Seattle Seahawks at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Picking players in the NFL draft is supposed to be more difficult for perennial playoff teams, yet Kansas City Chiefs general manager Brett Veach has mastered the art of picking late in the draft.

His draft class from 2022 has been his finest so far as the GM and is a huge reason why the Chiefs are in a position to win their second Lombardi Trophy in four years.

Chiefs 2022 Draft Class and grade ranks among rookies
Pick No.  Name Pos. Offensive/defensive Snaps PFF Grade Grade rank
21 Trent McDuffie CB 809 73.5 3 of 26
30 George Karlaftis EDGE 791 50.3 16 of 19
54 Skyy Moore WR 371 67.7 8 of 11
62 Bryan Cook S 387 60.6 6 of 9
103 Leo Chenal LB 278 66.7 1 of 11
135 Joshua Williams CB 499 63.2 15 of 26
145 Darian Kinnard OT 0
243 Jaylen Watson CB 719 59.6 17 of 26
251 Isiah Pacheco HB 414 76.3 5 of 10
260 Nazeeh Johnson CB 0

Eight of these 10 players made legitimate contributions to the Chiefs’ current Super Bowl run. The team made shrewd trades, and specific attributes were targeted in a Belichick-esque manner to maximize each player’s talent. A quick look at all three phases of this Chiefs team shows how impactful this draft class has been.

Offense

While this draft class includes only three offensive players, they still provided big-time production and their fair share of clutch moments.

We’ll start with the obvious one. Seventh-round running back Isiah Pacheco has won the hearts of Chiefs fans and fantasy football players everywhere as a hard-nosed runner with big-play potential. With one game to go, Pacheco owns the highest rushing (74.3) and receiving grade (75.3) among Kansas City’s running backs.

He’s also gotten stronger as the year has progressed.

Isiah Pacheco: Performance before and after Week 11 of the 2022 NFL season
Metric Week 1 – Week 10 Week 11 – CC
Snaps 131 283
Overall grade 56.3 82.8
Rushing grade 57.8 79.7
Receiving grade 53.4 82.4
Rush attempts 60 132
Yards after contact per attempt 3.2 3.1
Missed tackles forced per attempt 0.13 0.11
Targets 3 17
Yards per route run 0.23 1.42
Yards after the catch per reception 10.7 14.1

The former Scarlet Knight isn’t just a contributor — he has played like a top-tier back during the biggest moments of the season. He’s been a huge part of the Chiefs’ success, especially as a checkdown or screen option for a hobbled Patrick Mahomes

Gaining yards after the catch has even become Pacheco's specialty. Among the 55 running backs who have seen 10 or more targets since Week 11, the Chiefs back ranks behind only Tennessee's Derrick Henry in yards after the catch per reception. 

As for wide receiver Skyy Moore, the transition hasn’t been quite as smooth, given his standing on the veteran-laden depth chart. But while not flashy, his 66.9 receiving grade is respectable, and he has dropped just one of his 27 catchable targets on the year. He's added a valuable yards-after-the-catch component, too, notably finishing the year with an average of 6.3 yards after the catch per reception that ranks fifth among the 97 wide receivers who have seen at least 40 targets so far. 

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