On Friday night, the Kansas City Chiefs traded up to the 55th pick of the second round of the NFL Draft to select SMU wide receiver Rashee Rice.
As Rice comes to Kansas City, he already has some familiarity with two of the quarterbacks on the roster — starting with former SMU quarterback Shane Buechele.
“I talked to him the whole time during the draft process,” Rice told Kansas City reporters in a Friday night Zoom call. “I ran routes with him as well. He called me as soon as my name got called on TV.
“I mean, that’s my guy. I know we’re going to have a great connection. We’re just ready to make some plays like we did in college.”
But Rice has also spent some time with the more-famous Kansas City quarterback: Patrick Mahomes. After Rice’s selection, we learned that Rice was among the draft prospects who caught balls from Mahomes (and other current Chiefs) during the quarterback’s offseason workouts in Fort Worth, Texas.
“That was great,” Rice said of the experience. “I mean, you can’t complain about anybody like him. He made me seem like I was one of the best ones in the world, putting me exactly where I needed to be.”
And while Rice was on the phone with the team on Friday night, a call also came in from his new quarterback.
“I talked to him,” recalled Rice. “[I] told him I’ll call him back whenever I can. So when I get off of here, I’m going to call him back. I’m really excited about that.”
Reminded that a positive word from Mahomes might have made a difference in Kansas City’s decision to select him, Rice said he was already all-in with the team.
“I had plenty of contact,” he revealed. “My 30 visit? It was great. Talked to coach [Andy] Reid, talked to coach [Matt] Nagy. I mean, it just felt like I was at home as soon as I got there. I knew it was the place that I wanted to be.”
And he’s ready to be used anywhere.
“I feel like I could play outside or inside,” he said. “So wherever the coach is, like, ‘I need [you] to be on the field to make a play,’ I’m there. It doesn’t really matter to me.”
Rice said that he loves every part of football.
“I mean, there’s not only one part to the game,” he noted. “I mean, you could catch the ball — but when the running back’s got the ball in his hands, [you’ve] got to block, too. I just do my job all around.”
Rice could have come out in 2022 but chose to stay with the Mustangs for another season.
“I knew there were two other great receivers coming out of my program at the time,” he explained. “I felt like there was a lot more out there to improve upon in my game. So I stayed back one more year.”
And he said that the extra year made a difference.
“I improved everywhere I could: route running, being strong, just being aggressive on the field and being able to take advantage of the opportunity of being the number one go-to guy.”
That had actually been a new experience for him, playing behind SMU wideouts like James Proche, Reggie Roberson and Danny Gray. But given a chance to shine, he modeled his game after Arizona Cardinals wideout DeAndre Hopkins.
“We both attack the ball real aggressively,” he said. “And then you never know what we can do when the ball is on our hands.”
If that sounds like a lot of confidence from a new rookie... it is. He described himself as a “playmaker” who “wants to be part of the Chiefs’ program.”
“We’re gonna go win another Super Bowl,” he declared. “There’s no doubt about it.”