The Kansas City Chiefs won the Super Bowl last season, so the Chiefs’ first-round pick is the last of Day 1. Despite winning it all last year, there are still Chiefs draft needs the team must address at the 2023 NFL Draft. Among those needs are wide receiver, offensive line, and edge rusher, as well as possibly running back and linebacker.
Kansas City is in a unique position. They continuously need to get younger, cheaper players in the door in order to keep highly-paid superstars like Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, and Chris Jones. Unlike most teams doing this, though, these stars are so great the team can win it all while they’re doing it as they showed last year.
However, it wasn’t all veterans who helped the Chiefs win the big one in 2023. The team had an excellent 2022 NFL Draft and got contributions from most of their selections. If they can do the same this season, they will again be a favorite to take home the Lombardi Trophy.
In order to do this, the Chiefs’ draft may include one of these sneaky first-round picks.
WR Quentin Johnston, TCU
The most well-known piece of the Chiefs’ soft rebuild last season involved trading star wideout Tyreek Hill. This was a bold move that ended up paying off, as the offense was still excellent even with a relatively weak WR corps.
That group took another hit this offseason, though, when it lost 2022 leading receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster to the New England Patriots. Now they head into the 2023 campaign with Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Skyy Moore, Kadarius Toney, Richie James, Justin Watson, and Justyn Ross as the most likely WRs to make the team.
The Chiefs could use a true No. 1 WR on a four-year rookie deal with a first-round fifth-year option.
Early in the 2023 NFL Draft process, TCU wideout Quentin Johnston was in contention to be the first WR off the board. He’s slipped a bit in recent weeks, which means he could be around for when the Chiefs draft at No. 31.
Johnston is 6-foot-3, 208 pounds, and the athleticism teams look for in a WR1. Last season, he had 60 catches for 1,069 yards and six touchdowns. He also had more inconsistency and drops than you’d like to see from a top pass-catcher.
If the Chiefs think Patrick Mahomes can get the best out of Johnston, taking the talented wideout would be a sneaky good pick at the end of Day 1.
EDGE Keion White, Georgia Tech
One of the biggest Chiefs’ draft needs is finding a replacement for Frank Clark. The Pro Bowl defensive end was another cap causality this offseason, and now the team must find a long-term partner on the other side of the line for last year’s Chiefs’ first-round pick, George Karlaftis.
Reading Chiefs mock drafts, you’ll see several different edge-rushers going to the Chiefs, but a sneaky pick you may not see a lot is Virginia Tech pass-rusher Keion White.
White is a unique DE at 6-foot-5, 285 pounds. He is incredibly athletic at that size and moves like a lineman much lighter. At his size, though, the Cheifs can use him to lineup in multiple fronts and slide him inside next to Chris Jones on obvious passing situations.
After starting his college at Old Dominion as a tight end, White grew into a lineman and transferred to Georgia Tech, so he’s still raw with a lot of potential. Last season, though, the possible Chiefs first-round pick had 7.5 sacks and 14 tackles for a loss.
If that’s what his floor looks like, the upside in the NFL could be huge.
LB Drew Sanders, Arkansas
As discussed above, one of the biggest Chiefs draft needs an edge-rusher to replace Frank Clark. Getting a linebacker in the fold to try and improve on the current group of Willie Gay, Nick Bolton, Jack Cochrane, Drue Tranquill, and Leo Chenal isn’t a bad idea either.
What if the Chiefs’ first-round pick can fill both these Chiefs’ draft needs, though? That would be great, right?
Well, Arkansas LB Drew Sanders started his career as a defensive end at Alabama before transferring to Arkansas and becoming an off-ball linebacker. The 6-foot-4, 235-pound LB had 103 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss, 9.5 sacks, and three forced fumbles in his new role in 2022.
With this size, skillset, and the way defense is played in the NFL right now, Sanders has the chance to become a player like Micah Parsons or Haason Reddick. That would be an ideal type of player for the Chiefs to get in the 2023 NFL Draft.
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