4 takeaways from Daniel Jeremiah’s conference call that matter for Chiefs
NFL Media’s top draft analyst, Daniel Jeremiah, held his annual conference call with media members on Friday in advance of the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. During his conference call, he wasn’t asked any specific questions about the Kansas City Chiefs, but he covered a wide variety of topics related to the 2023 NFL draft.
Below you’ll find four takeaways from Jeremiah’s conference call that are relevant to the Chiefs and their draft strategy:
DJ considers this a weaker class at the wide receiver position
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The 2023 NFL draft might not be as strong at the receiver position as it has been in recent years according to Jeremiah. That could be bad news for Kansas City on multiple levels.
“I don’t think the wide receiver group is quite what we’ve seen in the years recently here,” Jeremiah said.
Firstly, the Chiefs have guys like JuJu Smith-Schuster, Mecole Hardman and Justin Watson slated to hit free agency. If NFL teams do view this as a weak wide receiver class, it means that you’re going to have a harder time re-signing some of those free agents.
Secondly, if you have a hard time re-signing those free agents, you’re going to have to prioritize replacing them either in free agency with cheaper veterans or in what’s viewed as a weaker receiver class in the draft. That’s not exactly and ideal situation for Kansas City, who could have needs at offensive tackle and defensive line as well.
It might be a good year to find Travis Kelce's successor
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Travis Kelce isn’t getting any younger and while he seems to have found the fountain of youth in Kansas City, at some point the Chiefs will have to find a player to be his understudy within the offense.
Jeremiah seems to be very high on this tight end group, identifying it as one of the stronger position groups in this draft class
“I think the tight end group is the best I’ve seen in the last ten years,” Jeremiah said. “It’s outstanding.”
Right now, Jeremiah said he has 11 players at the position that he expects to go in the first three rounds, which would be an NFL record. As far as a specific target that he likens to Kelce — Utah TE Dalton Kincaid is a player he mentioned.
“He kind of looks likes Kelce just the way he moves in and out of breaks,” Jeremiah said of Kincaid
Keep building at cornerback
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The Chiefs completely revamped their cornerback group in 2022, adding impact players in the first, fourth and even the seventh round of the draft. Despite being four players deep at the position heading into 2023, this might not be the year to stop investing in cornerbacks.
Jeremiah seems to think that 20 cornerbacks could be selected in the first three rounds of the draft. Starting-caliber players could likely be found as late as Day 3.
“It’s a good corner group,” Jeremiah said. “I think it’s a better corner group than the receiver group. This year when I look at it, I’ve got 20 corners with top-three round grades, which is a big number. I think it’s a really good group of corners.”
Chiefs fans might not want to hear it, but after the success the team had drafting cornerbacks in 2022, Brett Veach might consider trading L’Jarius Sneed a year prior to his rookie contract running out. Continue to build the position up through the draft in what is considered a strong draft class instead of paying top market (over $20M APY) for Sneed.
Edge rusher is another deep position group
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Even with drafting George Karlaftis in the first round of the 2022 NFL draft, the Chiefs could again be in the market for an edge rusher in 2023. There is a decision to make with Frank Clark’s contract and 33-year-old Carlos Dunlap is slated for free agency.
“I think it’s a good edge rusher group,” Jeremiah said and reiterated numerous times throughout the call.
There are a few different pockets of edge rushers that Jeremiah seemed to mention. Guys like Tyree Wilson, Will Anderson and Lukas Van Ness, he expects to be gone before pick No. 15, but there are guys like Nolan Smith, Felix Anudike-Uzomah, Will McDonald, Dylan Horton, Andre Carter II, KJ Henry, Keion White and Byron Young (Tennessee) who will all be within striking distance for Kansas City in the first three rounds.