The Kansas City Chiefs were busy in the seventh round on Saturday, making three selections while adding depth on both sides of the ball in the form of cornerback Jaylen Watson (No. 243 overall), tailback Isiah Pacheco (No. 251 overall) and defensive back Nazeeh Johnson (No. 259 overall).
Here are five things to know about the Chiefs' final three selections on Saturday.
1. Cornerback Jaylen Watson played his college ball at Washington State.
Originally a star at the junior college level, Watson hauled in eight interceptions at Ventura Community College between the 2017 and 2018 seasons. His performance made him the No. 13 junior college cornerback in the 2019 recruiting class, and while he didn't end up playing for a program that year, Watson landed at Washington State ahead of the 2020 campaign.
He went on to start 15 games for the Cougars over the last two seasons, tallying 44 tackles, seven passes defensed and two interceptions. Watson was an All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention recipient in both of his years on campus.
Watson's story is also nothing short of inspiring, according to The Athletic's Dane Brugler. Watson signed with USC following his stellar performance at Ventura Community College, but he never saw the field for the Trojans due to academic eligibility issues. Rather than give up, however, Watson moved home and began working at a local Wendy's restaurant while improving his grades. According to Brugler, Watson was a straight-A student and earned his associate degree in 2020, making him eligible to play at Washington State.
That determination is what led to Watson's name being called on Saturday afternoon.
2. Watson has tremendous size and length for the position.
Watson stands at 6-foot-2 and 197 pounds, possessing exceptional height and size for an NFL cornerback. Lance Zierlein from NFL.com noted that Watson used that size to be "physical in bullying the release from press" and to "overwhelm the catch point on contested catches."
He's still a raw player, but Dane Brugler believes that Watson has the physical tools to stick around. Here's more from Brugler's draft guide:
"His story is one of resiliency and perseverance to overcome obstacles and scratch and crawl to put himself on the NFL's doorstep. He is a good-sized athlete with the speed, strength and swagger that NFL teams covet at the position…Overall, Watson has only played 15 games at the FBS level and it shows at times with his missteps, but his raw traits and instincts are enticing starter traits. He will be appealing to NFL teams that value big press corners."
3. Tailback Isiah Pacheco was a workhorse at Rutgers.
A three-year starter at Rutgers, Pacheco led the Scarlet Knights in rushing in each of the last three seasons. He recorded at least 500 rushing yards in all four of his years on campus, finishing his career at Rutgers with 2,442 yards and 18 touchdowns across 44 total games (34 starts). That was all despite an offensive line that routinely struggled, according to Dane Brugler.
Here's more on Pacheco's playstyle from Lance Zierlein:
"Hard-charging, high-energy runner with three-down size and potential to compete for a roster spot as a late-round selection. Pacheco plays the game like a race car with no brakes. His feet never stop moving."
4. Pacheco's 40-yard dash was tied for the fastest of any running back at the NFL Scouting Combine.
The 5-foot-10, 216-pound Pacheco can move. He ran a 4.37 40-yard dash, which was matched by only South Dakota State's Pierre Strong at the NFL Scouting Combine. Pacheco is also impressively strong, as noted by Dane Brugler:
"He has a ripped physique, and clearly focuses on weight/strength training."
That strength – combined with Pacheco's competitive nature – was apparent throughout his college career as a willing pass-blocker. Brugler even went as far to mention Pacheco's upside in pass-protection as one of the reasons that he could stick in the NFL.
5. Defensive back Nazeeh Johnson is an experienced player who started 45 games for Marshall.
Johnson played five seasons for the Thundering Herd, starting 44 games over the last four campaigns while rotating between nickelback and free safety. He racked up 302 tackles, 26 passes defensed, seven interceptions and five tackles-for-loss in that time, earning All-Conference USA recognition in each of the last three seasons (Second-Team in 2020, Honorable Mention in 2019 and 2021).
The 5-foot-10, 199-pound defensive back is explosive and showed off good speed at his pro day, running the 40-yard dash in 4.35 seconds. Here's more from Dane Brugler:
"Johnson plays with outstanding balance in coverage with the athletic twitch to mirror and make sudden start-stops (his elite testing numbers match his athleticism on tape)."
All three players will now have an opportunity to show what they can do this weekend as the Chiefs host rookie minicamp at the team facility.