Darian Kinnard drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs


Kentucky offensive tackle Darian Kinnard (70) walks to the locker room before the Kentucky vs. New Mexico State football game on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021, at Kroger Field in Lexington, Kentucky. UK won 56-16. Photo by Jack Weaver | Staff

Cole Parke

Kentucky guard Darian Kinnard heard his name called on Saturday, being drafted No. 145 overall in the fifth round by the Kansas City Chiefs.

Kinnard played four years with Kentucky, playing consistent reps on the field, with multiple different quarterbacks behind him.

Weighing in at 345 pounds and standing at 6-foot-5-inches, Kinnard looks to be a strong force on the Chiefs offensive line, defending former Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes.

While the offensive line is one that often gets under-appreciated in terms of awards and recognition, Kinnard did well for himself at Kentucky, with the Wildcats referring to their lineman as the ‘Big Blue Wall’, with Kinnard leading the unit as a senior with 30 knockdown blocks.

Kinnard earned first-team all-American honors his senior year, being a consensus pick, the first Wildcat to do so since Sam Ball in 1965.

The big man also earned the 2021 Jacobs Blocking Trophy, an award given to the best blocking lineman in each conference, beating out impressive blockers all across the SEC.

Beyond that, Kinnard also found himself as a semifinalist for the 2021 Rotary Lombardi Award, an award given to the best lineman or linebacker in college football, as well as a semifinalist for the Outland Trophy, awarded to the best interior lineman in the country.

Kinnard was given a prospect grade of 6.24, projecting him to be on par with most league starters, with NFL Next Gen Stats giving him a 75 or ‘good’ ranking.

His strengths included his ‘premium wingspan’, his ability to ‘generate instant movement when his technique is right’, his hand strength, as well as his value as an ‘emergency right tackle’.

Having been projected to be drafted during the third round beforehand, his selection in the fifth round came as a shock to many, though it may only serve as fuel for Kinnard as he paves his future in Kansas City.