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5 Grades for Chiefs’ First-Round Selection of Trent McDuffie

Did Kansas City still get good value despite trading up?

In a shocking draft night move, the Kansas City Chiefs moved up from their originally scheduled No. 29 slot in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft. After swapping with the New England Patriots, many expected Chiefs general manager Brett Veach to select Florida State EDGE Jermaine Johnson. Instead, he shocked the world and took a cornerback — Washington's Trent McDuffie.

With the selection of McDuffie, Kansas City is getting an uber-athletic, heady and overall well-rounded player. While he has the profile as more of a slot cornerback, the team's initial plans (as revealed in a post-draft press conference on Thursday night) are for him to man a boundary spot. Did Veach and company manage to secure good enough value to justify their big move? The Arrowhead Report crew discusses.

Sep 4, 2021; Seattle, Washington, USA; Washington Huskies defensive back Trent McDuffie (22) participates in pregame warmups against the Montana Grizzlies at Alaska Airlines Field at Husky Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Conner Christopherson: In a shocker, Brett Veach traded up for a cornerback. McDuffie is a baller, though, and was rated highly by many around the league. McDuffie is fluid, has great athleticism, and is only 21 years old. The question now is... how do the Chiefs use him? The trade-up was a bit steep, but keeping the trio of picks at Nos. 30, 50 and 62 is something I can live with.

McDuffie Grade: B+

TJ Scott: Brett Veach finally spent legit draft capital on a serious position of need in the secondary with the Trent McDuffie pick — I say secondary because he can literally play anywhere. McDuffie is a strong, fast and physical player who has all the makings of an elite slot cornerback in the NFL. The last Washington cornerback the Chiefs took in the first round turned out to be pretty good (Marcus Peters), and this one looks to be even better.

McDuffie Grade: B+

Mark Van Sickle: The Chiefs moved up to get their guy and McDuffie was widely regarded as the best available cornerback on the board at the time of the pick. I didn’t expect the Chiefs to be in the running for McDuffie, as my thoughts were they would stay put and get someone like Andrew Booth Jr. or Kyler Gordon (McDuffie’s teammate). 

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McDuffie is only 21 years old and he still has plenty of room to grow in his game. He is a dude who is ready to ball. He will be ready for the challenge of covering some excellent wide receivers within the AFC West, and Chiefs fans will be watching with anticipation.

McDuffie Grade: B+

Nov 28, 2020; Seattle, Washington, USA; Washington Huskies defensive back Trent McDuffie (22) celebrates following an interception against the Utah Utes during the fourth quarter at Alaska Airlines Field at Husky Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Jordan Foote: Considering the board at pick No. 21, the Chiefs could have selected someone like Kaiir Elam or Jermaine Johnson. With that said, Trent McDuffie is a stellar player who should enjoy a long and successful career in the NFL. It's hard to argue against Kansas City bringing in a high-floor and athletic cornerback with a quick processor and plenty of versatility.

McDuffie Grade: B+

Joshua Brisco: The Chiefs made a major splash at cornerback for the first time in the Brett Veach era, and Trent McDuffie gave the KC plenty of reasons to break its trend. While McDuffie's size (and specifically his shorter arms) are outside the norm for what the Chiefs have targeted in recent years, his athleticism, versatility and overall comprehension of the position are all top-of-the-draft traits, surely enticing Veach and defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. 

The only real critique I can muster is the fact that the Chiefs traded up for McDuffie, while Clemson corner Andrew Booth fell all the way out of the first round. Ultimately, McDuffie's ceiling is as high as his sub-30-inch arms can lift him, and KC addressed a huge need with an excellent player.

McDuffie Grade: A-

Mar 5, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Washington defensive back Trent McDuffie (DB26) talks to the media during the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports