The Real MVP | The Kansas City Chiefs Scouting Department Flipped Tyreek Hill Trade Into A Super Sunday Run

When the Kansas City Chiefs traded all-world wideout Tyreek Hill, pundits all over began saying things like they would fall off and wouldn’t be nearly as successful without their dynamic playmaker.

Fast-forward ten months later, and the Chiefs won more regular season games, 14, than they ever did with Hill. And they advanced to the Super Bowl, something they failed to do in Hill’s final season with the team.

We all know about Patrick Mahomes, and he’s one-of-one, and in line to win his second NFL MVP and possibly his second Super Bowl. Then there’s all-world tight end Travis Kelce, and of course head coach Andy Reid at the helm. But the Chiefs hit several home runs in the 2022 NFL draft, with nine of their ten draft picks from the 2022 class making prime time plays in the team’s biggest game of the season.

Kansas City Rookie Defensive Backs Won The Game

No group of rookies stepped up more than K.C.’s defensive backs. Thrust into action against arguably the best trio of pass-catchers in the league, Trent McDuffie, Joshua Williams, Jaylen Watson and Brian Cook all stepped up with performances that even surprised their head coach.

The aforementioned McDuffie is a starter and is the first-round pick KC received from Miami in the Hill trade. But when starter L’Jarius Sneed suffered a concussion early in the first quarter that called for rookies Joshua Williams and Jaylen Watson to step up alongside McDuffie.

The duo combined for nine tackles, five pass breakups and two interceptions. In his postgame presser, Reid praised his young trio of corners for their play.

“It’s crazy how things work, but the kids stepped up.” Reid said. “They didn’t lose their confidence. I was optimistic, but you don’t know how the journey is going to go. Here we sit, and they did a great job.”

Also included in that group is rookie safety Bryan Cook, who was beaten by Bengals star Ja’Marr Chase on a fourth-and-6 early in the fourth quarter, only to come back and make a play on a deep ball that was picked by Williams with the game in the balance. 

Rookie edge rusher George Karlaftis also played well, recording a sack and three QB pressures.

They all grew up in the biggest moments of the Chiefs’ season. Those draft picks stepped up and made plays. 

Isaiah Pacheco And Sky Moore Did It For The Offense

Rookie running back Isaiah Pacheco totaled 85 yards and added some huge, tough-yardage third-down conversions.

Newbie wideout Skyy Moore, who’s underwhelmed in his rookie season because of lack of playing time, exceledy with starters JuJu Smith-Schuster, Kadarius Toney and Mecole Hardman all injured at some point during the game.

Moore totaled just three receptions, but it was his huge 26-yard punt return with 30 seconds left that put the Chiefs at midfield with room to operate en route to their game-winning field goal. It was refreshing to see Moore have his moment and go through his rookie growing pains.  

Kansas City Chiefs Has Elite Scouting Department

The play of these rookies is a direct result of having a great scouting department and elite player development once they arrive in K.C. It’s a tribute to both of those areas of the Chiefs’ staff and a real testament to Reid, offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, and defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s trust in their first-year players.

The Chiefs’ pass defense has been an Achilles’ heel for the past half decade, despite the overall success of Pat Mahomes and the team. That weakness has been transformed into a lethal weapon with cover skills that have led to more sacks from edge rushers such as Chris Jones, who had 0 sacks in the first 14 games of his playoff career.

What a welcome sight for a franchise that’s likely to be in this situation a few more times with No. 15 under center.

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