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5 players for Chiefs fans to watch at the NFL Combine

These players should be on Chiefs fan’s radar

NFL: Combine Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Everyone begins seeking different things as the league descends upon Indianapolis for the NFL Scouting Combine. NFL agents begin seeking contract negations with teams, general managers start laying down the framework for trades, and hopeful NFL rookies seek to raise their draft stock with scouts.

As the Kansas City Chiefs continue their draft preparation, there are hundreds of players that they will continue to evaluate. The combine is a great place to find the last missing piece of the puzzle for a draft prospect. For some prospects, millions of dollars could be relying upon a few inches of arm length or fractions of a second on the 40-yard dash.

While there are certainly a lot of exciting storylines to watch at the combine, here are five players that should be of particular interest to Chiefs fans.

1. Quentin Johnston WR, TCU

NCAA Football: CFP National Championship-Texas Christian at Georgia Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Johnston’s career finally took the big step many hoped for in his final year. At 6-4 and 212 pounds, he’s one of the most physically-gifted players at the position in this draft. His raw athleticism has made him a go-to player for the Horned Frogs' run to the College Football Championship. However, with the early lack of production in his career and some struggles against press coverage, Johnston is seen as a mid-to-late first-round pick. If he were to fall in the range for the Chiefs to select him, he could be a game-changer at a position of need. His struggles against press coverage could be related to his acceleration which will show in his 40-yard dash. He has struggled with contested catches at times, and his vertical jump will also be important to his draft profile.

What to watch for: 40-yard dash (10-yard split), three-cone and vertical

2. Jaelyn Duncan OT, Maryland

NCAA Football: Maryland at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

A strong performance at the Senior Bowl has accelerated Duncan’s ascension in the draft process. Athletically, Duncan has all the traits of a starting left tackle in the NFL. He’s been a starter since 2019 and has logged over 40 career games for the Terrapins. Duncan’s strengths fit Kansas City’s needs as he excels in pass protection and getting into open space as a blocker. Viewed predominantly as a second or third-round pick, Duncan needs to improve on his strength and technique. Currently, he is a below-average run blocker. Duncan has a chance to be one of the most athletic tackles in this draft.

What to watch for: Bench press reps, arm length and shuttle

3. Calijah Kancey IDL, Pitt

NCAA Football: Tennessee at Pittsburgh Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Chiefs have a need at defensive tackle with veteran Derek Nnadi and Khalen Saunders both heading to free agency. Kancey stands to be one of the most interesting interior prospects in the 2023 draft. When you watch him play, the explosiveness pops off the tape. However, his lack of length and mass raises real concerns for the next level. Kancey is the same height as Saunders (6 feet), but he was listed as 40 pounds lighter than Saunders. It’s hard to see Kancey fitting the run well against NFL centers and guards. His weight and strength metrics will be interesting for evaluators. He must have freakish agility and strength to overcome his lack of size.

What to watch for: height, weight, three-cone and shuttle

4. Julius Brents CB, Kansas State

NCAA Football: Big 12 Football Championship-Texas Christian at Kansas State Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Brents has climbed every draft board this winter in a stacked corner class. Brents brings a unique skill set to the corner position with size and positional versatility. He’s a fantastic tackler that makes a direct impact in the run game and has the length to stick on the outside in the NFL. If Steve Spagnuolo could build a corner in a laboratory, they would come out playing like Brents. There are some speed concerns with Brents, especially top-end speed. This has led to some concerns about his ability in man coverage. Expect to hear his name called at Union Station on Friday night (Day 2) of the NFL Draft.

What to watch for: 40-yard dash, shuttle and three-cone

5. Keaton Mitchell RB, East Carolina

NCAA Football: Birmingham Bowl-Coastal Carolina at East Carolina Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

The draft is all about diamonds in the rough; just ask Brett Veach about picking game-changing running backs on day three of the draft. Keaton Mitchell might be a Day 2 selection most years, but a very talented running back class will likely push him to day three. Watching Mitchell run in open space brings back shades of Jamaal Charles. Now Mitchell isn’t nearly a polished runner inside the tackles, but his one-cut and pass-catching ability scream Andy Reid’s name. Mitchell is coming off a season with over 1,500 scrimmage yards and 13 touchdowns. To stick at the next level, he will need to show the ability to pass block and shed tackles with his smaller frame. He has a chance to run one of the quicker 40-yard dashes this week.

What to watch for: Height, weight and bench press

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