1. Will McDonald, Iowa State, edge rusher
What he lacks in weight, he makes up for with athleticism — and then some. His explosiveness off the edge is the trait that pops most, and the trait that makes him a perfect fit for the Chiefs.
A year ago, they used a first-round pick on defensive end George Karlaftis, but these are different players and ideally complementary players. McDonald needs to add some weight to reach his full potential, but he’s the third-down sack artist off the edge that the Chiefs have needed for a while now — one built on speed and flexibility.
It’s more than an afterthought that McDonald’s arms measured 34 7/8 inches, making him one of the lengthier edge rushers in this draft. That’s a trait the Chiefs and defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo have long coveted.
• Chance he’s available at No. 31: About 70%
2. Anton Harrison, Oklahoma, tackle
If the Chiefs are drafting purely based on the position that includes the most glaring hole, they’re taking a right tackle. That’s not how they should be drafting, but it’s possible that need and best player available at a premium position find a marriage at No. 31 with Harrison.
He is 6-foot-4, 315 pounds, but is more nimble than his weight would suggest. While he played left tackle the past two seasons in college, he could slide to the right side as a rookie, with Jawaan Taylor having the flexibility to play on the left.
Harrison allowed only nine pressures on his 447 pass-blocking snaps, per Pro Football Focus, which also charged him with just three sacks allowed in the past two seasons. So why is he still available late in the first round? Harrison isn’t known to be the most athletic tackle, and there are questions about how his college scheme (RPO) has prepared him for the NFL.
• Chance he’s available at No. 31: About 80%
Ed and Brad Budde both played offensive line for the Chiefs, and were both first round draft picks — a singular achievement in the NFL.
For just one example of how professional football has changed since its debut in Kansas City, look no further than Ed Budde, selected 8th overall by the Chiefs in the 1963 American Football League Draft.
“I made $15,000 the first year with a $5000 bonus,” Budde says with a laugh. “Now, No. 1 draft choices are millionaires.”
Not only was Budde part of a draft class that laid the foundation for the Chiefs’ first Super Bowl championship, he became a part of football history and a unique father-son achievement that still stands, 43 years later.
Budde, a promising prospect from Michigan State, had a competing offer to play in Philadelphia as the National Football League’s fourth overall pick. But based on advice from former college teammate and then-Chiefs tight end Fred Arbanas, Budde gave the Eagles the cold shoulder.
“He told me about this new league and, ‘it’s exciting,’” Budde recalls.
Bobby Bell: Worth the 15 cents and more
After another All-America season, Bpbby Bell was eligible for the 1963 drafts that occurred on Dec. 3, 1962.
“My draft day?” Bell said. “I didn’t have one.”
Bell was in class while the business of professional football unfolded. Afterward, he heard he had been selected by the Minnesota Vikings in the second round of the NFL Draft and the Dallas Texans in the seventh round of the AFL Draft.
The Vikings were favored to land Bell, but Lamar Hunt, who founded the Texans — which in a matter of months would become the Kansas City Chiefs — visited Bell and offered him a guaranteed contract.
“Lamar said he wanted me to be part of the family,” Bell recalled. “I had never met the man before. But he took care of me, gave me a long-term contract, guaranteed my contract. The Vikings offered a three-year contract but wouldn’t guarantee it.”
Nevertheless, Bell soon found himself wondering about joining the Texans. He and Hunt had flown to New York to finalize the deal. And Hunt traveled with no cash.
“I had to pay for the cab and toll,” said Bell, now 82, who upon getting to the hotel called his advisor and asked if he was signing with the right team.
On Bell’s 60th birthday, he received a card from Hunt. Taped inside was a dime and a nickel, the cost of the toll.
One situation that they should be keeping an eye on is with the Washington Commanders. They have a big decision to make in regard to the fifth-year option on Chase Young’s rookie contract. After that, attention will turn to defensive end Montez Sweat.
Sweat had his fifth-year option exercised by the team last offseason and he responded with another strong season. He registered 8.0 sacks, 14 tackles for loss and 28 quarterback hits, starting all 17 games. That performance earned him an excellent 86.4 overall grade from PFF.
What could a trade between the Chiefs and Commanders look like? Kansas City could offer the Nos. 31 and 134 picks in the 2023 NFL Draft in exchange for Sweat and the No. 215 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Washington not only picks up another first-round pick in this selection and moves up two rounds, but they also clear some cap space trading Sweat. Set to hit the open market after the season, it would be virtually impossible for the Commanders to pay Sweat and Young after already inking Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne to long-term deals.
31. Kansas City Chiefs: Myles Murphy, DE, Clemson
Even after drafting George Karlaftis in the first round last year and signing free agent Charles Omenihu this year, the Chiefs could use help on the edge. The Chiefs see Omenihu as a good fit alongside Chris Jones on the interior on passing downs, leaving an opening on the outside. Murphy is a well-rounded player who can help there, but he is versatile enough to contribute in any situation. — Adam Teicher
31. Kansas City Chiefs: Mazi Smith, DT, Michigan
Adding another defensive lineman is more of a need for the Chiefs than a receiver. Since the combine, the Chiefs have been interested in Smith. Not only is he projected to be a starter, but his talents and role should also excite defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo and superstar defensive tackle Chris Jones. As the No. 1 player on Bruce Feldman’s 2022 Freaks List, Smith has a rare combination of power and athleticism to take on double teams. That should help free up Jones, the league’s best interior pass rusher, to win one-on-one matchups and pressure the quarterback.
Smith also fits the Chiefs’ timeline when it comes to adding depth at the position because Derrick Nnadi and Tershawn Wharton are set to be unrestricted free agents next spring. — Nate Taylor
Around the NFL
The Tennessee Titans have the final financing piece for the NFL’s next pricey stadium with the largest public investment yet that they hope to open for the 2027 season.
The Metro Nashville City Council approved by a 26-12 vote early Wednesday morning on the final reading to allow its sports authority to issue $760 million in bonds. That combines with $500 million in state bonds for more than $1.2 billion in public financing committed to the Titans’ enclosed stadium.
That gives Tennessee the largest public price tag for a stadium, topping the $850 million commitment from New York for the Buffalo Bills’ new $1.5 billion stadium.
The stadium’s total cost is estimated at $2.1 billion. The Titans, with help from the NFL and personal seat licenses, will provide the remaining $840 million. The new stadium will feature a translucent roof with a capacity of approximately 60,000.
In a move that warrants no surprise, the Cincinnati Bengals are exercising the fifth-year option on quarterback Joe Burrow, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Tuesday, per a source.
The team has since announced the news.
“This is a mechanical step along the way and we will continue to work with Joe and his representatives to secure his long-term future as a Bengal,” the team said in a statement on Tuesday.
Burrow joins Buccaneers offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs, Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa, Cowboys wideout CeeDee Lamb and Vikings receiver Justin Jefferson as first-round selections from the 2020 NFL Draft to have their fifth-year options picked up so far. Teams have until May 2 to exercise the option on 2020 first-rounders.
One day after the long-anticipated news of his trade to the Jets finally came out, quarterback Aaron Rodgers penned a heartfelt thank-you to the Packers and the city of Green Bay for the first 18 years of his career.
With his move to New York expected to be finalized in the next few days, Rodgers took to Instagram to write a long goodbye letter to all those involved with his storied tenure with Green Bay. His words were accompanied by photos of major moments in his career, such as when he was drafted, and snapshots with some of his most notable teammates and friends, including Marcedes Lewis, Randall Cobb, and Mason Crosby.
“I’m not sure it’s possible to fully express the gratitude that I have to the Packers, our incredible fans, the state of Wisconsin, the thousands of players that I crossed paths with, the incredible men and women who work for the organization, and the amazing people who I got to meet along the way, in one post with 10 pictures, but I hope you read this and feel my heart and soul, filled with love, joy, and peace about my time in green and gold,” Rodgers said.
Bryce Young remains the consensus favorite to be the top pick, listed at -1400 at Caesars Sportsbook, but Tuesday, multiple sportsbooks reported receiving a surge of bets on Will Levis to go No. 1, causing the former Kentucky quarterback’s odds to move wildly. Levis’ odds to be the top pick moved from 40-1 to 4-1 on Tuesday at DraftKings.
Normally that type of odds movement would be monumental, but the draft betting market is known for its volatility. A tweet or new mock draft can move the odds quickly and significantly. The rush of action on Levis is believed to have been triggered by a post on Reddit that claimed he was “telling friends and family Carolina will in fact take him on Thursday.”
“Given the nature of the draft, we drastically cut the price based on this action and eventually came to a price where the bets stopped,” a DraftKings spokesperson told ESPN. “We are still seeing some small bets trickle through at the current price, but the speculation is all the action was off the back of a Reddit post.”
FanDuel and Caesars Sportsbook also reported an increase in bets on Levis on Tuesday morning.
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
On Tuesday, the club announced that it had been awarded International Home Marketing Area (IHMA) rights to Austria and Switzerland, allowing for marketing efforts in those particular countries.
“We have committed a lot of energy and effort into growing the Chiefs brand – as well as helping grow the NFL – internationally, and today’s development is going to continue to allow us to invest in European markets,” said Chiefs president Mark Donovan, per the team’s press release. “The game this season in Germany, much like our games in London and Mexico City, will create amazing opportunities for our fans. Given our history, we think we’re uniquely positioned to take advantage of these expanded commercial and fan development rights in Austria and Switzerland, and we can’t wait to get started.”
The NFL controls which teams can market where internationally in an effort to spread the wealth and prevent oversaturation. With Tuesday’s nod, the Chiefs can begin paying for advertising, striking local sponsorship deals and hosting fan events in the listed countries.