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Darian Kinnard is heading to Kansas City

darian kinnard
Posted at 2:14 PM, Apr 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-30 14:14:45-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX18) — Kentucky football's consensus first-team All-American is now officially a pro. Darian Kinnard is heading to Kansas City after being selected by the Chiefs in the 5th round as the No. 145 pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.

Kinnard's list of accolades at Kentucky is lengthy, but he'll be most remembered for his decision to return for his senior season and the vital role he played on UK's Big Blue Wall as a result.

Although he originally decided to return to school to move positions on the offensive line in hopes of showing off a different skill set to the NFL, he returned to his right tackle position once it was clear that was the best move for the team.

That selfless attitude is a cornerstone of the Big Blue Wall's culture at Kentucky, and it's one of the reasons why UK's O-line has become one of the best in the nation. The line has been recognized for the Joe Moore Award, given to the country's top offensive line, for four straight seasons, including finalists in 2021. The Wildcats won ten games in 2021, including the Citrus Bowl.

darian kinnard mark stoops
Darian Kinnard. Coach Mark Stoops. UK beats UTC, 28-23. Photo by Elliott Hess | UK Athletics

The Draft process is not an easy one, and Kinnard talked with LEX 18 Sports Director Keith Farmer about the emotions surrounding the weekend before the first round began Thursday evening.

"It's kind of exciting because right now the time is upon us, and we don't know if it'll be tonight or tomorrow," Kinnard said Thursday. "I feel pretty good, but can't get too anxious or get [my] hopes up too high. Regardless, I'm going to go to the NFL and we're going to have a fun time."

After a lifetime of football, including four years at Kentucky, the dream of becoming a professional football player has finally become a reality.

"It's really going to smack me when I'm standing there on the field and looking at all of these NFL guys, surrounded by them and soaking up the moment."