2023 Chiefs NFL draft prospects: Group 9

Week 9 of the 2022 college football season is here.

Our annual draft prospects series returns for the sixth consecutive year. We’ve identified over 200 college prospects to keep an eye on ahead of the 2023 NFL draft, all of whom might be potential fits with the Kansas City Chiefs. Last season’s prospect list included several of the Chiefs’ 2022 NFL draft picks including George Karlaftis, Skyy Moore and Bryan Cook. Who will be next?

Our ninth group of prospects includes the leading rusher in the FBS, an ascendant offensive tackle prospect, a sleeper edge rusher and a hyper-productive interior defensive lineman.

Illinois RB Chase Brown

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The University of Illinois is finally playing a winning brand of football and it all starts with their rushing attack. Brown has an FBS-leading 192 carries for 1,059 yards and four rushing touchdowns on the season. He also has 15 catches for 107 yards and two scores. He’s already set career highs in touches, scrimmage yards and total touchdowns. Brown also has allowed just two pressures in 59 pass-blocking snaps this season.

The running game in Kansas City has been a bit disjointed this season. They have a three-headed attack featuring players who excel at very specific things, but they don’t have one player who they can seemingly feature as a do-it-all back. Brown is that player who can come in right away and do everything the team needs without blinking an eye.

Next game: Illinois vs. Nebraska – Saturday, Oct. 29 at 2:30 p.m. CT – Live stream on fuboTV (free 7-day trial).

Penn State OT Olu Fashanu

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If the Chiefs find themselves looking for their future left tackle in the 2023 NFL draft, there might not be a better option than Fashanu. In 249 pass-blocking snaps at left tackle this season, Fashanu has allowed just seven pressures and no sacks according to PFF. He’ll have a big test this week going against Ohio State edge Zach Harrison, but he’s proven to be up to the task so far. He’s very controlled and smooth in his pass sets and has a punishing way of playing the run game.

Obviously, the ideal situation would be for Kansas City to see Orlando Brown Jr. kick things into high gear and become a lockdown left tackle in the second half of the season. That might be wishful thinking, though. He has some clear limitations and has hardly proven to be worthy of the market-resetting contract he sought this past offseason. If things go sideways with Brown Jr., Fashanu would be one of the top options to replace him with.

Next game: Ohio State vs. Penn State – Saturday, Oct. 29 at 11:00 a.m. CT – Live stream on fuboTV (free 7-day trial).

UTEP EDGE Praise Amaewhule

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If you’re looking for a sleeper edge rusher who could shoot up draft boards come April, look no further than Amaewhule. He’s a long-armed, twitchy edge rusher with an elite get-off. A year ago, he set career highs as a redshirt sophomore with 38 total tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks. This season hasn’t been his most productive rushing the passer as he’s yet to record a sack, but he has 12 pressures on the season.

Andy Reid spent two seasons at UTEP as an offensive line coach early in his coaching career and still has ties there. Rest assured that Amaewhule will be on the Chiefs’ radar as they continue to strengthen their edge rush in 2023. At 6-3 and 245 pounds, he’s a bit undersized for a 4-3 defensive end, but we’ve seen the Chiefs bend those benchmarks for good players in the past.

Next game: Middle Tennessee vs. UTEP – Saturday, Oct. 29 at  8:00 p.m. CT – Live stream on fuboTV (free 7-day trial).

USC DT Tuli Tuipulotu

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Tuipulotu has been the class of the PAC-12 when it comes to interior defensive line play this season. Through seven games this season, he’s set career highs in tackles for loss (12.5) and sacks (7.0). He’s a versatile prospect, deployed all over the defensive line from 3-technique out to the edge rusher spot. The way that the Trojans use the 6-4 and 290-pound defensive lineman is reminiscent of how the Chiefs have used Chris Jones during the course of his career.

Now, there’s no guarantee that the junior declares for the 2023 NFL draft, but the Chiefs are going to have some major changes coming to the defensive line in 2023. Khalen Saunders, Derrick Nnadi and Taylor Stallworth are all scheduled to become free agents. Tershawn Wharton will be coming off of an ACL injury. Jones is also not guaranteed to stick around unless the team opts to extend his contract and lower his salary cap hit. If Tuipulotu declares, Brett Veach should be all over this one.

Next game: USC vs. Arizona – Saturday, Oct. 29 at  6:00 p.m. CT – Live stream on fuboTV (free 7-day trial).

Story originally appeared on Chiefs Wire