The Kansas City Chiefs have a hole at right tackle, but a best-player available approach could make things interesting in the 2023 NFL Draft.
For the Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs, the road to repeating has already begun. We saw a major shift in free agency at offensive tackle. Both starters at tackle left the Chiefs for other teams, Orlando Brown to Cincinnati and Andrew Wylie to Washington. Kansas City did bring in Jawaan Taylor to fill one of the spots, and reportedly he’ll move over to the left side.
Kansas City Chiefs First-Round Targets In The 2023 NFL Draft
The 2023 NFL Draft will present the Chiefs with an opportunity to fill the other side. However, there’s no need to get locked in and reach if the tackle run starts early. There are other positions of need and some fun fits that could make the Chiefs even more dangerous than they already are. Let’s look at some potential first-round targets for the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Trading Up: Anton Harrison, OT, Oklahoma
There’s a chance that Anton Harrison could fall, as he’s currently projected to be the fifth tackle off the board. However, the other four could be gone by the teens, and offensive tackle is a premium position. Some teams will definitely be looking to move back (both Minnesota and Baltimore don’t have second-round picks), and the Chiefs can afford to get aggressive.
Harrison has impressive footwork, functional athleticism for both phases of the game, and functional power to uproot defensive linemen in the run game. His ability to fight for position and leverage with hand fighting is promising. He has to build some consistency, and work on pass sets outside of an RPO offense, but his ability is tremendous. Let him play on the left and Taylor stick to the right side.
Other Offensive Tackles
If five offensive tackles are actually off the board by pick 31 of the 2023 NFL Draft, maybe the Chiefs will opt to select what’s left. That would be Dawand Jones out of Ohio State. Jones would be in the realm of the player that Brown was, but with more athleticism as a prospect. Jones has improved footwork as a pass protector and would do his job of taking up space and holding ground against power rushers.
Go Sensible: Defensive Line
If tackle isn’t a value option at pick 31, then helping out the defensive line to generate plenty of pass rush would be a sensible route. With no Frank Clark and a still-developing George Karlaftis, Chris Jones could use some help.
If they look interior defensive line, there might not be a better pairing than Jones and Bryan Bresee. Bresee didn’t quite find his rhythm from early in his career in 2022, but injuries and other hardships made 2022 difficult. Bresee has high potential with his length, which he can leverage into wins as a pass rusher.
Mazi Smith would be a phenomenal pairing as well. Smith’s ability to handle multiple defenders at the point of attack with his functional strength. His explosiveness and hand placement at contact give him the ability to rush the passer. With more consistent pad level, Smith can unlock more as a pass rusher.
If the Kansas City Chiefs are okay with going a little undersized in the 2023 NFL Draft, both Calijah Kancey and Adetomiwa Adebawore have pass rushing upside and some alignment versatility. Keion White is another to watch for, as he can play both inside and outside. He’s attending the draft and has impressive power to defend the run and push the pocket.
How about a true edge rusher? Kansas State’s Felix Anudike-Uzomah would fit extremely well. He has three-down ability, and really makes his money at contact, where he has the counters and hand usage to shrink his path to the quarterback and generate pressure. He moved into a lot of 4i snaps in a new defense, but playing exclusively on the edge will be the way on Sundays.
Will McDonald has had a similar path in terms of alignment, but he has the length and positioning to hold the edge against the run, and has a great array of moves combined with explosiveness and twitch to consistently win as a rusher. B.J. Ojulari offers a similar skill set as a strong pass rusher with an array of ways to get to the quarterback.
Let’s Get Wild
The Kansas City Chiefs have an opportunity to really have some fun on offense at pick 31. It’s not something that the Chiefs have strayed from. Clyde Edwards-Helaire was the last pick in the first round of 2020.
This time, even if the Chiefs believe in their receiver room, someone like Jordan Addison or Quentin Johnston, should they fall here, would make sense. Imagine Johnston working in space and being a dangerous YAC threat along with Travis Kelce. Addison’s natural separation would be beneficial as well.
With their shift to more 12 and 13 personnel, capitalizing on the tight end class would have the rest of the AFC staying up late to gameplan and worry. Darnell Washington’s blocking skills would be welcomed, as would another great addition to the red zone gameplan. If he unlocks that testing athleticism into more efficient route breaks, good night. Luke Musgrave has the straight line speed to threaten up the seam and run away from defenders in open space.
Both Washington and Musgrave provide explosive plays in different ways, and pairing either with Kelce would be a slam dunk. If Michael Mayer or Dalton Kincaid make it to 31, either of those two would be excellent too.
There’s also the Bijan Robinson of it all. If he falls to here, somehow, why the heck not?