Round 1 - Pick 31
Drew Sanders LB
ARKANSAS • JR • 6’4” / 235 LBS
Really should have gone running back here to make Chiefs fans mad but hopefully this will do.
DT: Chris Jones, Kansas City Chiefs
A surge of massive defensive tackle contracts are in the pipeline. While Dexter Lawrence and Quinnen Williams should cash in with huge deals, Chris Jones of the Kansas City Chiefs could take things to new heights when he inks his next contract.
The 6’6”, 310-pounder finished the regular season by setting or matching career highs in tackles (44) and sacks (15.5) while also contributing 17 tackles for loss, four pass defenses, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.
Jones was clearly the best player on a Super Bowl-winning defense, adding a pair of sacks and eight tackles during Kansas City’s three-game run to a title.
It appears the 28-year-old may not have even reached his peak yet after that brilliant 2022 campaign.
Jones tweeted over the weekend that he plans to win the MVP award, a feat only two defensive players have ever pulled off and none since Lawrence Taylor did in 1986.
With the four-time All-Pro going into the final year of his current contract, it could be exorbitantly expensive for the Chiefs to retain Jones if he comes anywhere close to earning an MVP nod. Even a season like the one he had in 2022 should earn him a record-setting deal for a defensive tackle.
Spotrac estimates Jones to be worth a cool $30 million annually, a price that could be difficult for Kansas City to meet. While the Mississippi State product has said he plans to be a Chief for life and won’t play for another organization, he may change his tune if offered a historic deal on the open market.
Contract Prediction: Three years, $96 million
2. Chiefs can’t afford to take a running back in the NFL Draft
The Chiefs have a need at running back. Isiah Pacheco turned into a surprise workhorse during the Super Bowl run while Clyde Edwards-Helaire made it pretty clear he’s not someone Kansas City can rely on. Meanwhile, veteran Jerrick McKinnon hit free agency. While the team could still bring him back, it’s no guarantee.
So, yes, running back is one of Andy Reid’s draft needs. The last thing he should do is use another first round pick on one.
Edwards-Helaire and Pacheco are shining examples for why it’s best to wait for value on running backs in later rounds. The former, a first rounder, hasn’t lived up to the standing of his selection. The latter, a seventh rounder, has already exceeded Edwards-Helaire’s career high for rushing yards in one season.
It’s not that Edwards-Helaire is a bad running back. He’s been effective, but often injured, in his three seasons with the Chiefs. But effective running backs can be found
Kansas City Chiefs: Zay Flowers, WR, Boston College
Tight end Travis Kelce led the team in receiving, but JuJu Smith-Schuster (78/933/3) led the team’s wide receivers in 2022 and has signed with the Patriots in free agency. Flowers is a quick and smooth athlete who is elusive after the catch with an extra gear. He was highly productive at Boston College, finishing last season with 78 catches for 1,077 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Around the NFL
The Atlanta Falcons are acquiring former first-round cornerback Jeff Okudah from the Detroit Lions in exchange for a 2023 fifth-round draft pick (No. 159), NFL Network Insider Tom Pelissero reported Tuesday, per a source.
Detroit selected Okudah with the third overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Okudah played in 25 of a possible 50 games in three seasons with the Lions, 15 of which came in 2022. A top CB prospect out of Ohio State, Okudah leaves Detroit with 124 combined tackles, 10 passes defensed and two interceptions (one pick-six) in 22 starts.
The Bills have been one of the best teams in the NFL for a few years now, but have been unable to break through and get to the Super Bowl. Unlike last year, they did not make a massive addition in free agency with an elite player (Von MIller), so they’ll have to upgrade their talent base via the draft. Quietly, they could use some more weapons for Josh Allen because when Stefon Diggs didn’t have his A-plus game last year, there wasn’t much else Buffalo could do to move the ball. The offensive line still needs work, and after Tremaine Edmunds walked in free agency, the second level of the defense could use some help as well. The Bills are still really, really good, but they need an infusion of talent to help reach their ultimate goal.
Despite changing agents, Cleveland Browns cornerback Greg Newsome II doesn’t want to be traded, according to his agent.
“Greg is happy to be with the Browns,” his new agent, Drew Rosenhaus, told ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Tuesday after meeting with the team. “Everything was very positive and Greg is happy with his role and playing for new DC Jim Schwartz.”
Newsome is expected to be in attendance Monday when the Browns start their offseason program.
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
Ika is a massive player, standing 6’3” and weighing 335 lbs. At this size, he would project to be a 0-technique (lined up head up over the center), much like he did at Baylor as a 1-technique (outside shoulder of the center).
While his athletic testing at the NFL Scouting Combine and his Baylor pro day may have been a cause for concern due to poor numbers, it is important to look at those tests compared to what he will be asked to do in the NFL.
Ika is a classic example of a space eater, a player who will fill gaps and will remain stout against the run. He may not be the most graceful athlete, but he does not play a graceful position. Instead, he uses superior leverage and strength to win in the trenches.