NFL Analyst Proposes Chiefs Trade up for ‘Elite’ Edge Rusher in Draft

Jermaine Johnson

Getty Florida State pass rusher Jermaine Johnson II at the 2022 NFL combine.

The Kansas City Chiefs are sitting pretty with 12 total draft picks and two first-round selections in 2022, which makes a trade up in round one more possible than in recent years.

Many have assumed that general manager Brett Veach might make a move for a wide receiver after trading away Tyreek Hill but one NFL analyst believes they should jump up for a different position — edge rusher.

During an NFL Network segment called “Path to the Draft,” ex-player turned analyst Brian Baldinger explained why he believes the Chiefs should trade into the top 10 for a pass rusher. He even had a specific target in mind.

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Baldy Targets Jermaine Johnson for KC

“You look at the Kansas City Chiefs,” Baldinger began while discussing first-round trades to watch for. “2017 they came from 24 to 10 to go get Patrick Mahomes — that entire organization and the AFC have changed since that day.”

He continued: “They’ve got more draft capital than anybody. So they’re sitting back there at 29 and 30, they’ve got two picks in the second and third and fourth round. How bout Kansas City goes up and gets one of these elite edge rushers like Jermaine Johnson? If they could get to the top 10 to go get that edge rusher, [it would] really help out Steve Spagnuolo’s defense right here. It’s a position of need, you gotta get them at the top of the draft, they’ve got the capital to go do it, how about the Chiefs making this bold move to go doing it?”

It’s certainly a fresh idea from Baldinger, although he did not provide an exact pick exchange that could work for KC. The AFC West has loaded up on pass rushers between Chandler Jones joining the Las Vegas Raiders, Khalil Mack getting shipped to Los Angeles, and Randy Gregory signing with the Denver Broncos.

Now it’s time for the Chiefs to bolster their defensive front and the Florida State product would provide NFL-ready talent that has a very high floor. He’s an older prospect that fought his way up from JUCO and “Last Chance University” before shooting up the draft charts.

“Johnson is quick off the ball, has terrific length, a variety of rush moves, takes good angles, and relentlessly pursues the quarterback,” scouted Joe Marino of The Draft Network. “There are very few limitations with Johnson’s game and he’s a balanced defender against the run and pass with appeal in any scheme.”

Although the Seminole is known as an excellent run defender, he was also very productive behind the line of scrimmage with 11.5 sacks and 17.5 tackles for a loss in 2021.

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What Might It Cost to Trade Into the Top 10?

During an episode of the “Green Light” podcast with Chris Long, the former NFL defensive end praised Johnson for being “smooth.” He added that “this kid’s going to climb, and I don’t blame anybody for snagging this kid in the top 10.”

So realistically, what would it cost to move up for Johnson? And who would be the potential trade partners to do it?

Both New York franchises present plausible options, being that they have plenty of needs and two top-10 picks to work with. Let’s look at potential trade scenarios with the Jets and Giants using the NFL draft value chart.

Jets-Chiefs Deal
Chiefs receive No. 10 (1,300 points).
Jets receive Nos. 29, 30 & 103 (1,348 points).

Giants-Chiefs Deal
Chiefs receive No. 7 (1,500 points).
Giants receive Nos. 29, 30 & 62 (1,544 points).

Each of these trades could also include a 2023 mystery first-rounder instead of both 2022 firsts, especially in the case of the Giants who are beginning a major overhaul of their roster. That return would look something like — Nos. 29 and 62 this year, plus KC’s 2023 first to NYG next year.

Speaking of rebuilds, one final trade partner could be the Seattle Seahawks, who appear to be on the precipice of a teardown despite an unwillingness to admit it. Let’s say Seattle has a change of heart before April 28, below is one last potential deal for Veach to call about.

Seahawks-Chiefs Deal
Chiefs receive No. 9 (1,350 points).
Seahawks receive Nos. 29, 30 [or 2023 first] & 94 (1,384 points).

Kansas City’s wide range of draft capital gives them a few solid options to jump up into the top 10. If they choose to do so to find an edge rusher, a couple of other targets besides Johnson could be Oregon’s Kayvon Thibodeaux or Georgia’s Travon Walker — if either prospect falls out of the top five.


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