The College Football Playoff National Championship is finally here, with the reigning champion Georgia Bulldogs set to face the upstart TCU Horned Frogs. You can watch the game on Monday, Jan. 9 at 7:00 p.m. CT on ESPN. It’ll be played at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles, California — home to the Rams and Chargers.
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 seventeenth group of prospects includes this year’s Jim Thorpe Award winner, an explosive running back, a versatile offensive lineman and Georgia’s 2021 sack leader.
Georgia RB Kenny McIntosh
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
An explosive ball carrier, McIntosh finished the year as Georgia’s leading rusher with 779 yards on 141 carries with 10 rushing scores on the season. Listed at 6-1 and 210 pounds, McIntosh has the prototypical size for the NFL game. He’s a natural playmaker and a mismatch nightmare in the passing game, which is one of the things that most intrigues me about him.
McIntosh finished the 2022 season with 42 receptions for 502 yards and two touchdowns. His 12 yards per reception led college football among running backs with 40 or more receptions. I truly think that in Andy Reid’s offense, McIntosh could be molded into one of the greatest pass-catchers we’ve ever seen. One reason that he’ll see the field early in the NFL is his ability in pass protection. McIntosh has seen 44 pass-blocking snaps during the course of his career at UGA according to PFF, allowing just two total pressures and no sacks.
TCU CB Tre'Vius Hodges-Tomlinson
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Hodges-Tomlinson was this year’s Jim Thorpe Award winner and for good reason. The 5-9 and 177-pound cornerback helped lead his team to the title game with 38 total tackles, two tackles for loss, a forced fumble, three interceptions and 14 passes defended.
Hodges-Tomlinson plays bigger than his size and doesn’t seem to fear matching up with bigger receivers. He’s been prone to some penalties at times this season, but he was dominant in the Fiesta Bowl. During that game, he was targeted six times and allowed no receptions on the day, notching another two passes defended.
At his size, Hodges-Tomlinson will likely be relegated to the slot in the NFL. That might take him off the Chiefs’ radar after they’ve found Trent McDuffie to be a great option in the slot. That said, McDuffie has the flexibility to play outside.
Georgia EDGE Robert Beal Jr.
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
A former five-star recruit, Beal Jr. is a bit of an interesting evaluation coming out of Georgia. On one hand, the 6-4 and 255-pound edge rusher was the sack leader (7) of the team’s national title-winning defense a season ago. This year, he played his highest snap percentage of his career and finished with just two sacks and 24 total pressures.
The flashes have been great, with Beal Jr. boasting heavy hands, burst and explosiveness to turn the corner. Consistency is the only thing that has seemingly been lacking here. If I were a coach, this is a player that I would want to get my hands on. With the Chiefs having some needs for both rotational depth and starters at the edge rusher position heading into 2023, taking a shot on Beal Jr. could make a lot of sense.
TCU OL Steve Avila
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Listed at 6-4 and 330 pounds, Avila is a big-bodied offensive lineman, who has been an anchor on the TCU interior this season playing the left guard position. He’s very smart in the passing game, picking up stunts and blitzes with ease. He’s a road-grader in the running game and can get after smaller defenders at the second level.
Versatility has been a big part of his game over three years at TCU. A year ago, he played the majority of his snaps at the center position save for a single start at right guard. In 2020, Avila played seven games at center and had two starts at right tackle.
The Chiefs could find themselves looking for some depth on the offensive line in 2023. Avila’s ability to slot in at center, guard and even right tackle make him someone the team should consider in the mid-to-late rounds of the draft.
Other prospects we've covered this season:
Carmen Mandato/Getty Images