Sunday, April 30, 2023

Kansas City Chiefs 2023 NFL Draft Grades Roundup

The 2023 NFL Draft is now in the rearview mirror, and we have compiled a consensus ranking using NFL draft grades from a variety of sites.

What draft grades have the media given to the Kansas City Chiefs? What are they saying about the Chiefs' 2023 draft haul?

MORE: 2023 NFL Strength of Schedule - Grade: B+

Anudike-Uzomah has the potential to be a good pass rusher, but the Chiefs might have found better value in other prospects. Rice could be a real steal as an immediate contributor in the short and intermediate passing games, joining Kadarius Toney, for whom they traded a third-rounder last fall. Morris will at least be a valuable swing tackle for the next few years.

Kansas City got 2023 fourth- and sixth-round picks from Miami as part of the Tyreek Hill trade. Conner was a very good nickel back/safety pick for the Chiefs, who traded up early in the fourth round. Thompson is a developing edge player with closing speed. Coburn is a low center of gravity nose tackle in the Derrick Nnadi mold and I loved Jones' play as a senior.

ESPN - Grade: B

In my eyes, the Super Bowl champs had to add two of these three positions with their top two picks: edge rusher, tight end and wide receiver. And while I thought they could use their first-rounder on Michael Mayer, Sam LaPorta or Luke Musgrave as a promising TE2 to back up Travis Kelce, they opted for raw pass-rusher Felix Anudike-Uzomah (31), who had 19.5 sacks over the past two seasons. It's a solid if unspectacular move to replenish the D-line after Frank Clark was released.

The Chiefs added a fun wideout on Day 2, taking Rashee Rice (55), a 6-foot-1 deep threat. With JuJu Smith-Schuster signing in New England, the Chiefs can increase the snaps for Skyy Moore and Kadarius Toney while rotating in Rice to try to replace Smith-Schuster. I wasn't as high on offensive lineman Wanya Morris (92), but he has a chance to challenge Lucas Niang for the right tackle spot. Morris was a little too inconsistent on tape; he is my No. 13 tackle. Keondre Coburn (194), a 332-pound space-eating defensive tackle, is my favorite of the Chiefs' Day 3 choices.

If Rice comes in as a rookie and climbs the depth chart, this class could be tremendous. For now, because it's so thin and because there were a couple of reaches, I'll put it in the middle tier of teams.

SI - Grade: B

The Chiefs had three clear needs entering their hometown draft and addressed each over the first two days. Anudike-Uzomah was productive at Kansas State, notching 19.5 sacks over the past two years. He'll form a nice edge-rushing trio with George Karlaftis and Charles Omenihu. Rice might have been drafted a bit early, but his size and physicality are pluses, along with a diverse skillset. Kansas City also appeared to have an excellent third day in taking Conner and Coburn, among others. Conner is a depth safety with elite special-teams upside, while Coburn will give the Chiefs a big body inside to stuff the run on early downs.

PFF - Grade: B-

Day 1: Anudike-Uzomah produced PFF grades of 74.0 or better in each of the past two seasons and is one of the best edge benders in this draft class. He was one of the most successful players in college football at converting pressures into sacks, with 21 of his 89 pressures over the past two seasons resulting in a sack.

Day 2: The Chiefs add another wide receiver to their committee with a target magnet in Rice, who was asked to do everything at SMU. Rice was top 10 in the country in both deep catches and screen catches in 2022, earning an 85.9 receiving grade on the season with his 16 contested catches, another top-10 mark in the nation. Rice's 41-inch vertical was 97th percentile and his 10-foot-8 broad jump was 89th.

This may be a bit early to draft Morris, who has a concerning track record due to injuries and a lack of starting experience (never played more than 643 snaps in a season), but the Chiefs are betting on his tools. The former five-star recruit has long arms and uses that length to his advantage.

Day 3: Connor is a strong safety/slot hybrid who was a four-year starter at Virginia Tech. He has the size and length to cover tight ends but misses too many tackles in the pass and run game. More than anything, this pick represents Steve Spagnuolo's preference for versatile safeties as he tries to find a replacement for Juan Thornhill.

Thompson is a former Baylor recruit who was dominant at Stephen F. Austin this past season. His 92.5 true pass-rush grade in 2022 is near the top of the class. He is lacking in the run game, and level of competition is a concern. Kansas City is banking on his pass-rush ability at 6-foot-6 to contribute to its suddenly loaded edge group.

The 336-pound Coburn joins a group that will compete for snaps in the run-stuffing DT role alongside Chris Jones in Kansas City's defensive line. Coburn produced a decent grading profile as a run defender throughout his Texas career but comfortably had his best season as a pass-rusher in 2022 with 31 pressures and a 79.3 PFF pass-rush grade.

Jones was solid in 2022, producing a 68.7 PFF coverage grade. On the field for 390 coverage snaps, he allowed just 44.1% of the passes thrown into his coverage to be caught this past season.

Fox Sports - Grade: C

Felix Anudike-Uzomah was a good grab for the Chiefs at the top of the draft. Replacing Frank Clark should be on the top of the priorities list, and the 2022 Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year was a productive pass rusher at Kansas State, with 19.5 sacks and eight forced fumbles across the last two seasons.

Rashee Rice seems like a reach in the second round, but it's important for Kansas City to address the receiver position as long as Patrick Mahomes is around.

USA Today - Grade: B+

We're at a point where it's hard to doubt much GM Brett Veach and HC Andy Reid do. First-round DE Felix Anudike-Uzomah, second-round WR Rashee Rice and third-round RT Wanya Morris all seemed to arrive at the intersection of need and value. And don't forget the champs obtained WR Kadarius Toney for a third- and sixth-rounder ... before he played a key role in their Super Bowl 57 victory.

The Ringer - Grade: C

The Chiefs first-round selection of Kansas State edge rusher Felix Anudike-Uzomah makes a ton of sense, as he'll give the team another ascending talent on the defensive line to pair with last year's first-rounder, George Karlaftis. Anudike-Uzomah should see snaps early in his career and contribute against both the run and pass. But the Chiefs' decision to pick receiver Rashee Rice in the second round was a head-scratcher for me with so many of my higher-rated receivers still on the board. He'll have to improve his consistency and develop as a more nuanced route runner if he hopes to stand out among a crowded Kansas City receivers group that already features Kadarius Toney, Skyy Moore, Marquez Valdez-Scantling, Justin Watson, Richie James, and Justyn Ross. Oklahoma tackle Wanya Morris is a solid pick and he should compete right away for snaps at right tackle. Overall, I wasn't particularly moved by this class for the defending champs.

Sporting News - Grade: A

The Chiefs, like they always do with Brett Veach, had a good understanding of needs and where to replenish their roster with their kinds of offensive and defensive players for Andy Reid and Steve Spagnuolo. Patrick Mahomes will love the smooth Rice, while Morris offsets the loss of Andrew Whyle. Doubling up on pass rushers, adding tackle depth and also considering secondary versatility also was all welcome to Spags after the team cut Frank Clark. It's another strong rookie class for the Chiefs, much like the one that helped them win Super Bowl 57.

Touchdown Wire - Grade: A-

The defending Super Bowl champs started out with a bang getting Felix Anudike-Uzomah with their first pick. Anudike-Uzomah had eight sacks and 46 total pressures last season for the Wildcats, and he's exactly the kind of speed-to-power pass-rusher defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo prefers. Rashee Rice fits right in as the speed receiver who Patrick Mahomes can hit downfield — he caught 18 passes of 20 or more air yards last season on 40 targets last season for 566 yards and four touchdowns. Wanya Morris was Anton Harrison's bookend for the Sooners, and he might be able to fit in at right tackle here sooner than later. If there's a steal here, it's Keondre Coburn in the sixth round. He's a 6-foot-2, 332-pound tackle who can plug up run lanes and get after the quarterback, aligning him with another Spagnuolo preference.

GM Brett Veach had so many rookies making a difference all the way to the Lombardi Trophy last season, and maybe he has a re-run here.

More: 2023 NFL Draft Grade Roundups

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