What early 2023 mock drafts tell us about Chiefs’ perceived needs

·3 min read

It’s never too early to begin looking at 2023 NFL draft prospects. Even the way-too-early mock drafts that come out right after the most recent draft ends can tell us a lot about a team and their perceived needs. 2023 will be a particularly exciting year for the Chiefs as Kansas City will be the host city for the draft. It also has potential to be the first time in Brett Veach’s tenure as GM that he’ll make a first-round selection in consecutive drafts.

So what positions and players do mock drafters see the Chiefs going after in 2023? Below you’ll find a roundup of 10 way-too-early 2023 mock drafts and some thoughts on what it means about the team’s current and future needs:

Way-too-early 2023 NFL mock draft roundup

AP Photo/Stephen Brashear

Player & Position

School

Source

OT Jaxson Kirkland

Washington

Luke Easterling – Draft Wire

DT Gervon Dexter

Florida

Doug Farrar – Touchdown Wire

WR Quentin Johnston

TCU

Christian D’Andrea – For The Win

EDGE Khari Coleman

Ole Miss

Jason McIntyre – Fox Sports

RB Bijan Robinson

Texas

Ryan Wilson – CBS Sports

OT Nick Broeker

Ole Miss

Ric Serritella – Sports Illustrated

WR Quentin Johnston

TCU

Mike Renner – PFF.com

EDGE Nolan Smith

Georgia

Joe Marino – The Draft Network

EDGE Isaiah Foskey

Notre Dame

Michael Schottey – The 33rd Team

EDGE Robert Beal Jr.

Georgia

Mello – The Draft Scout

A consensus receiver option?

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Johnston (6-4, 212 pounds) is coming off of a career sophomore campaign at TCU, where he was the team’s leading receiver with 33 catches for over 630 yards and six touchdowns. He’s expected to be the lead wideout for the horned frogs again as a true junior in 2022. Should he declare early, it looks like a few outlets are eyeballing him as a potential target for the Chiefs at the end of the first round.

It’s worth mentioning that Mecole Hardman and JuJu Smith-Schuster are both free agents following the 2022 season. I’d wager this choice also means that these particular mock drafters believe the Chiefs haven’t done enough to replace Tyreek Hill after trading him to the Dolphins.

Have the Chiefs done enough to improve the pass rush?

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Four different mock drafts send edge rushers to Kansas City in the first round of the 2023 NFL draft, with Smith and Beal from Georgia, Foskey from Notre Dame and Coleman from Ole Miss. This would come just a year after the team selected Purdue DE George Karlaftis in the first round. It’d actually be fairly rare to see them add edge rushers in back-to-back years of the draft.

There’s little doubt the team will look to add to the pass-rush again in 2023. The team is expected to release Frank Clark after the 2022 NFL season, saving $21 million in cap space over his $30 million cap number. Whether an addition comes via the NFL draft or free agency remains to be seen. Even this season, the Chiefs could stand to find some more edge rushers to complement the group they currently have under contract.

What happens if the Chiefs don't extend Orlando Brown Jr. ?

Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

Two mock drafters sent an offensive tackle to the Chiefs in the first round and I think that begs the question about Brown. What happens if he remains on the franchise tag this year and they’re unable to agree on a long-term deal? I have to imagine they’d franchise tag Brown again in 2023, but they’d also have to be looking to add some insurance too.

Broeker and Kirkland both could have declared in the 2022 NFL draft, but opted to go back to school to get more experience and prove their draft stock. They’d be solid options for Kansas City, should the unforeseen happen with Brown’s contract situation.

1

1