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2023 NFL Mock Draft: Chiefs select K-State EDGE in way-too-early look ahead

The 2023 NFL Draft will be in Kansas City, so it’s never too early to dive into the pool of prospects.

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 06 Kansas State at Kansas Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

While everyone is rightfully fired up to get the World Cup in Kansas City for 2026, there’s another primetime event happening here that you won’t have to wait as long to experience.

The NFL Draft is coming to the Midwest next offseason, setting up at Union Station and giving the city three days of festivities while college prospects find out where they’ll be starting their professional careers.

With the next draft being in Kansas City, I feel it’s only right we take it up a notch in our preparation for who could be the next Kansas City Chiefs’ draft pick.

So I put together a first-round mock draft for the 2023 NFL Draft, using DraftKings Sportsbook’s regular-season win totals for each team to determine a draft order — but I have the Chiefs picking last because they are winning Super Bowl LVI in this scenario (and in reality).

The goal is to teach you about what the draft community has concluded to be the top prospects in the class at this moment. I researched mock drafts by ESPN’s Todd McShay, The Athletic’s Dane Brugler, and ESPN’s Matt Miller to get a pool of players.

I’ll start with some detail on the top players:

1. Houston Texans: QB Bryce Young - Alabama

Young will be a true junior in 2022, starting for only his second season — but if it’s any improvement over being the Heisman Trophy winner last year, he’ll be a very strong contender here. He has a smaller frame than traditional quarterbacks, but his playmaking will be too desirable.

2. Atlanta Falcons: EDGE Will Anderson - Alabama

Anderson might’ve been the top pick in last year’s class. As a true sophomore, Anderson racked up 31 tackles for loss and 17.5 sacks — with a pressure rate of 17%, according to PFF. He should be the most dominant player in college football this season.

3. Seattle Seahawks: QB C.J. Stroud - Ohio State

Stroud started last year as a redshirt freshman, earning the Big Ten’s offensive player of the year award while also being a finalist for the Heisman Trophy. He benefits from a solid receiving corps, but he has the build and arm of an exciting NFL quarterback.

4. New York Jets: CB Kelee Ringo - Georgia

Ringo was a vital part of Georgia’s defense, winning last year’s national championship as a redshirt freshman; he actually sealed the game with a pick-six. He has a longer frame and body that’s coupled with natural ball skills — he had the second-most pass breakups on the team (eight).

5. Carolina Panthers: WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba - Ohio State

I mentioned Stroud having a talented receiving corps, and Smith-Njigba will be leading the way. He capped off his sophomore season by totaling 336 receiving yards and three touchdowns in the Rose Bowl. With Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave gone, he should be the number-one target in one of college football’s most explosive offenses.

6. Chicago Bears: QB Will Levis - Kentucky

7. Jacksonville Jaguars: IDL Jalen Carter II - Georgia

8. Detroit Lions: QB Tyler Van Dyke - Miami FL

9. Pittsburgh Steelers: OL Peter Skoronski - Northwestern

10. New York Giants: CB Eli Ricks - Alabama

11. Washington Commanders: EDGE Nolan Smith - Georgia

12. Cleveland Browns: OT Paris Johnson Jr. - Ohio State

13. New Orleans Saints: QB Anthony Richardson - Florida

14. Arizona Cardinals: EDGE Myles Murphy - Clemson

15. New England Patriots: TE Michael Mayer - Notre Dame

16. Las Vegas Raiders: IDL Bryan Bresee - Clemson

17. Tennessee Titans: OL Sedrick Van Pran - Georgia

18. Miami Dolphins: OT Zion Nelson - Miami FL

19. Minnesota Vikings: EDGE Isaiah Foskey - Notre Dame

20. Baltimore Ravens: WR Jermaine Burton - Alabama

21. Philadelphia Eagles: DB Antonio Johnson - Texas A&M

22. Indianapolis Colts: IDL Zacch Pickens - South Carolina

23. San Francisco 49ers: WR Kayshon Boutte - LSU

24. Denver Broncos: LB Noah Sewell - Oregon

25. Cincinnati Bengals: EDGE Zach Harrison - Ohio State

26. Dallas Cowboys: WR Quentin Johnson - TCU

27. Los Angeles Chargers: CB Cam Smith - South Carolina

28. Los Angeles Rams: EDGE Derick Hall - Auburn

29. Green Bay Packers: WR Jordan Addison - Pittsburgh

30. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: RB Bijan Robinson - Texas

31. Buffalo Bills: WR Josh Downs - North Carolina

32. Kansas City Chiefs - EDGE Felix Anudike-Uzomah - Kansas State

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 20 Baylor at Kansas State Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Chiefs addressed the defensive end position in the 2022 Draft — but it’s still one of the thinnest groups on the team. That’s why I believe they need to back to that well in 2023, and the local prospect fits into what Kansas City wants at that position.

Anudike-Uzomah broke out in his true sophomore seasons after committing to Kansas State from Lee’s Summit High School in Missouri. His 11 sacks, 14.5 tackles for loss, and six forced fumbles in 2021 earned him third-team All-American honors from Phil Steele; he was also named first-team All-Big 12. His 2021 season included a six-sack performance against TCU.

He is listed at 6 feet 4 and 255 pounds, and looks the part. His long arms allow him to swallow up rushers coming to his direction, but they also allow him to control blocks against offensive tackles.

Anudike-Uzomah also looks to have a plan as a rusher, using the push-and-pull move on a Kansas Jayhawks’ offensive lineman above to earn a sack and forced fumble. I’ve also seen him use a long arm effectively to pressure the quarterback from the front rather than around the edge.

Chiefs fans may hope he doesn’t have too much of a leap in his junior season, or he may not even make it this late in the draft. The ones that double as Kansas State fans will have mixed feelings.

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