Chiefs Predicted to Land Prospect of ‘Shocking’ Value at Pick No. 32

Chiefs predicted to land Alabama cornerback Kool-Aid McKinstry in round one of 2024 NFL draft.

Getty Alabama cornerback Kool-Aid McKinstry could be an option for the Kansas City Chiefs in round one of the NFL draft.

The Kansas City Chiefs have done a tremendous job of letting talent fall to them in the NFL draft under the tenure of current general manager Brett Veach.

And 2024 is another one of those strange draft classes where that could happen once again. The first round could include a run on quarterbacks and offensive pieces — namely offensive line and wide receiver — leaving quality defensive prospects for those that are patient enough to sit and wait.

Due to these expected trends, Bleacher Report’s Alex Kay predicted that Veach and KC would land “shocking” value at No. 32 overall on April 16.

“The Chiefs could seamlessly replace their No. 1 cornerback with [Alabama’s] Kool-Aid McKinstry [after the L’Jarius Sneed trade],” Kay wrote. “This pick won’t be shocking due to the prospect choice, but rather the sheer value the back-to-back defending champions are receiving from the draft slot.”

Continuing: “McKinstry may not be considered the consensus top corner in the class, but it would hardly be a shock for him to have the best career of any taken in 2024.”

Kay went on to note that Bleacher Report’s scouting department currently has McKinstry ranked as the third best cornerback this year, and the 15th best prospect overall — which would be insane value at a Super Bowl champion draft slot.

“[And 15th] may ultimately be too low of a ranking for a player who earned first-team All-American honors this past year and looks poised for a promising professional career,” Kay argued. Noting: “Although McKinstry had just one interception since the start of the 2022 campaign, he forced a collegiate-high 26 incompletions in single coverage during that span, according to Pro Football Focus.”

The NFL writer concluded that teams will likely “regret” allowing KC to get their hands on McKinstry if he falls to the end of round one.

Chiefs Could Target WR & OT Later If They Prioritize Defense Once Again

The only problem with Kay’s plan is that it disregards two clear areas of need — left tackle and wide receiver. Now, this is thought to be a deep class at both of those positions, so there’s a chance Kansas City can pass on offense and still find help on Day 2 of the draft.

Having said that, it’s been a while since the Chiefs prioritized offense in round one.

Last year, Veach surprised many by selecting edge rusher Felix Anudike-Uzomah one year after taking George Karlaftis. He also traded up for cornerback Trent McDuffie during the Karlaftis year and spent his earliest 2022 pick on linebacker Nick Bolton — although that was round two.

Technically, Veach’s last first rounder on offense did come in 2022, when he traded it for left tackle Orlando Brown Jr. The last rookie that the Chiefs selected in round one came in 2021, when the franchise took running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire at No. 32 overall.

Potential Chiefs Draft Target Kool-Aid McKinstry Known for Versatility & Consistency in Coverage

If Kansas City elects to forgo positional need and target the best player available, they could do far worse than McKinstry.

Bleacher Report scout Cory Giddings highlighted his “versatility” in different coverages and schemes, as well as his “vision and route recognition.”

“Three-year starter and former five-star prospect with a quirky name and consistent game,” NFL Network draft expert Lance Zierlein stated while scouting the cornerback. “McKinstry is patient and well-groomed in matching the outside release and riding the inside release from press. He’s confident to handle business on an island and is able to stay in phase as the route travels vertically.”

Zierlein also described McKinstry as a “pure cover man” rather than a “playmaker,” adding that his “poise, intelligence and athleticism” should translate at the NFL level.

Giddings compared McKinstry to New Orleans Saints star Marshon Lattimore, but he sounds an awful lot like Sneed in some ways too. He is expected to start right out of the gates, and that could fill a potential CB void if KC decides not to promote from within.