An NFL prospect that has been consistently mocked to the Kansas City Chiefs ahead of the 2022 NFL Draft has at least one fan within the Chiefs front office. That fan is also a decision maker for Kansas City.
Kansas City general manager Brett Veach is a “huge fan” of Minnesota pass rusher Boye Mafe, according to Tony Pauline of Pro Football Network.
“Boye Mafe has been regularly mocked to the Kansas City Chiefs at the end of the first round, and I’m told general manager Brett Veach was a huge fan of the Minnesota pass rusher before Senior Bowl practices even started,” Pauline wrote on April 25. “The fandom increased manyfold after Veach saw what Mafe was able to do during the three days of practice.”
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Mafe a Realistic Pick for Chiefs in 1st Round
Mafe showed flashes of excellence during his time in the Big Ten. During his senior season, he accumulated 26 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, and 7 sacks, per Sports Reference. However, the consistency wasn’t always there. According to Pauline, the blame shouldn’t be put on Mafe for the inconsistencies, though.
“Teams believe Mafe was limited by the Minnesota defensive system,” Pauline wrote. “Yet, he really showed his versatility and potential when used in multiple schemes at the Senior Bowl, where his game was allowed to open up.”
Mafe’s abilities would fill a need for Kansas City’s defense. The Chiefs’ defense tallied 31 total sacks during the 2021 season, which ranked fourth-worst in the NFL, per StatMuse. Adding talent alongside Chris Jones and Frank Clark is a top priority for Kansas City in the draft, which Veach detailed during his pre-draft press conference on April 22.
With a league-high 12 draft picks to utilize this year, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Chiefs dip multiple times into the edge rusher pool via the draft. With two picks in the first round — the 29th and 30th overall selections — drafting an edge rusher on Day 1 makes a lot of sense.
Veach on Trading Up in 1st Round
Despite having 12 draft picks, Kansas City does not have the roster space to bring on 12 rookies. So, the likelihood of them trading some of those picks is high.
Based on some of Kansas City’s roster needs — which include adding at wide receiver, edge rusher, and cornerback — using one or both of its first-round picks to trade up and get a premium player at one of those positions might be of interest to the Chiefs.
Kansas City general manager Brett Veach detailed his thoughts on potentially trading up in the first round of the draft.
“I don’t probably expect a huge jump up unless something unforeseen happens, but we’ll be flexible and let the board talk to us,” Veach said during his pre-draft press conference on Friday, April 22.
Moving up in the first round would likely only happen if a player Kansas City has graded highly begins to slip down the board. But how many first-round grades do the Chiefs have this year?
Not very many.
“I think there’s a lot of similarities to the  draft. I think we have right around 16 to 18 names on our front board as first-round picks,” Veach explained. “Picking at 29 and 30, our odds of maybe one of those guys falling isn’t great, but at the same time, we probably aren’t factoring in quarterbacks that most teams do. I’m sure there are quarterbacks worthy of a first-round grade, we’re just obviously not going in that direction.”
If you factor in teams that might want to draft a quarterback in the first round, the players the Chiefs have graded as first-round talents could all be gone by picks 19 to 21, which are owned by the New Orleans Saints, Pittsburgh Steelers, and New England Patriots respectively.
Despite a scarcity of first-round talent on Kansas City’s big board, Veach detailed that there’s a lot of value in the draft, specifically in the second round. That works in the Chiefs’ favor, as they have four selections in the first two rounds.
“But I think similar to last year, when you look at value in this draft, [picks] 30 to 60 is really good. We were able to get Nick Bolton, Creed Humphrey last year [in the second round], I think there will be a lot of value similar to that, a lot of really good players in that second, third round.”