Chiefs’ Rookie Labeled as ‘Day 3 Pick Who Could Surprise’

Darian Kinnard

Getty Kansas City Chiefs fifth-round pick Darian Kinnard is being talked about as a prospect with sleeper potential.

Last April, the Kansas City Chiefs were able to get their hands on guard Trey Smith in round six of the NFL draft.

It felt like an incredible value at the time and that thought proved to be true just one season into Smith’s NFL career. The offensive lineman started all 17 games for the Chiefs in year one and was as reliable as a rookie can be — playing 100% of the franchise’s offensive snaps.

General manager Brett Veach had several day-three selections in 2022, but one prospect stood out to the lead NFL draft analyst of The Athletic, Dane Brugler.

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Brugler Chooses Kinnard as Day 3 Steal

The expert dropped a 32-team report card after the draft and ranked the Chiefs rookie class second behind the New York Jets.

Brugler also noted a day-three sleeper for each franchise and offensive lineman Darian Kinnard was his pick for KC. He reasoned:

On the final day of last year’s draft, the Chiefs landed a steal with Trey Smith, a mauling guard from the SEC. A similar situation happened this year with Kinnard who could have easily been drafted on Day 2 but slipped a little because of his sloppy tendencies. Nonetheless, Kinnard is a bully who can see playing time at tackle and guard.

Just as it was in the case of Smith and center Creed Humphrey, other franchise’s losses look like the Chiefs’ gains as they continue to rebuild this offensive line.

Kinnard was expected to move to guard at the professional level, but his greatest asset may be his versatility. The Chiefs have added yet another OL piece that can play guard or tackle, and he could very well turn into a long-term answer at left guard — if Joe Thuney’s contract becomes too costly in a couple of years —  or right tackle, where the organization has a question mark in Lucas Niang.

Either way, Kinnard gives KC options. NFL draft scout Lance Zierlein described him as an “all-day mauler relying heavily upon a nasty demeanor and physical advantages to overwhelm opponents.”

At Kentucky, the right tackle started 39 consecutive games and was an “essential component for the O-Line unit.” Kinnard was recognized for the Joe Moore Award — presented to the nation’s best offensive lineman — in four straight seasons and was a finalist in 2021.

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Brugler’s Favorite Pick Was Moore

The Athletic’s lead draft analyst also revealed his favorite pick for each franchise and for Kansas City, it was wide receiver Skyy Moore.

“Not only did the Chiefs have plenty of draft capital, they also capitalized on their picks,” wrote Brugler. “This answer could easily be Trent McDuffie or George Karlaftis or Bryan Cook or Leo Chenal, but of the 262 total picks in this year’s draft, Moore to Kansas City was easily one of my favorites.”

He concluded: “Moore is a different style of receiver than Tyreek Hill, so it isn’t an apples-to-apples replacement. But Moore is outstanding in the quick game to be a catch-and-run threat or can win vertically down the field. My No. 39 overall player, Moore has large, accepting hands with the speed and competitive profile to be a playmaker with Patrick Mahomes.”

The 2022 draft went about as good as it could have gone for Veach and Kansas City. The front office is fresh off a massive decision to trade Hill and move on from Mathieu, yet the fanbase feels more invigorated than ever.

That’s how you flip big-time assets and reboot the franchise.


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