Darian Kinnard Selected by Chiefs as 145th Overall Pick in NFL Draft
Kentucky senior offensive tackle Darian Kinnard was chosen in the fifth round by the Kansas City Chiefs as the 145th overall pick in the 2022 National Football League Draft on Saturday in Las Vegas.
Kinnard, a 6-foot-5, 338-pound mountain from Knoxville, Tennessee, played in 46 career games with 39 consecutive starts for the Wildcats. He was an essential component for the “Big Blue Wall” which has been under consideration for the Joe Moore Award, given to the nation’s top offensive line, four straight seasons, including finalists in 2021.
As a senior, he was named a consensus first-team All-American, earning first-team honors from Football Writers Association of America, Associated Press, American Football Coaches Association, Walter Camp Football Foundation, CBS/247sports, Phil Steele and the Senior Bowl. He was a second-team All-American by Pro Football Focus, The Sporting News, USA Today and The Athletic. He was one of only three Power Five conference tackles to grade at 85 percent or better as a run blocker and pass blocker by Pro Football Focus. He was a consensus first-team All-Southeastern Conference selection.
Kinnard was awarded the Jacobs Blocking Trophy, just the second Kentucky player to win the award, which annually has been given to the SEC’s top blocker since 1935. He also was a semifinalist for both the 2021 Rotary Lombardi Award, given to an offensive or defensive lineman who combines outstanding performance on the field with the character and discipline of NFL Hall of Fame coach Vince Lombardi, and the Outland Trophy, given to the nation’s most outstanding interior lineman.
A four-year letterman and three-year starter, he helped Kentucky to a 33-17 record and four consecutive bowl victories. His career was bookended by 10-3 records and Vrbo Citrus Bowl wins as a freshman (2018) and senior (2021). He blocked for three players who had three 1,000-yard rushing seasons, including UK all-time leading rusher Benny Snell Jr. In addition to first-team All-America honors as a senior, he was second-team All-America as a junior.
Kentucky/NFL Draft Notes:
- Kinnard is the 22nd player drafted under head coach Mark Stoops at Kentucky and the fourth player in the 2022 NFL Draft, joining Wan’Dale Robinson (2nd Round – Giants), Joshua Paschal (2nd Round – Lions) and Luke Fortner (3rd Round – Jaguars).
- Kentucky has totaled four or more players selected in the first five rounds three times in school history, including twice in the last four years under Coach Mark Stoops: 2022, 2019, 1966.
- Kinnard is the fifth offensive line draftee who played under head coach Mark Stoops, joining George Asafo-Adjei (2019), Logan Stenberg (2020), Landon Young (2021) and Fortner.
- This is the fourth straight year UK has had an offensive lineman drafted. Offensive tackle George Asafo-Adjei was drafted in the seventh round by the New York Giants in the 2019 NFL Draft and offensive guard Logan Stenberg was drafted in the fourth round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Landon Young was drafted in the sixth round by the New Orleans Saints in the 2021 NFL Draft and center Luke Fortner was chosen in the third round of the 2022 NFL Draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars.
- Kinnard is just the fourth Wildcat in school history to be drafted by the Chiefs’ franchise. He joins Irv Goode (1962), Elmore Stephens (1975) and four-time Pro Bowler and College Football Hall of Famer Art Still (1978).