On Day 1, the Chiefs stayed at No. 31 to select Kansas State pass rusher Felix Anudike-Uzomah. Day 2 saw the Chiefs trade up twice, drafting SMU wide receiver Rashee Rice at No. 55 in the second round followed by offensive tackle Wanya Morris at No. 92 in the third round.
Chiefs assistant general manager Mike Borgonzi joined the local Kansas City media at the conclusion of Round 3 to discuss Kansas City's first three selections, which satisfied what could be considered the club's three greatest positions of need.
"You're always looking at the best value on the board," started Borgonzi, "but when you see those premium positions — like Felix is a pass rusher. Coach [Andy] Reid always says you can't have enough of those guys. Pass rushers, offensive line, defensive line, corners. That certainly does come into play when we're looking at the board — those premier positions. The cost is high to get those guys [if] it's early in the draft or if it's in free agency; usually those guys cost a lot. So yeah, that does come into play."
DL Felix Anudike-Uzomah
Many thought Kansas City would trade up in the first round of the NFL Draft, but with AFC foes not answering the phone or making their prices too high, it stayed put to select Anudike-Uzomah with its original No. 31 overall pick.
"He's a great kid, self-made kid," said Borgonzi. "He came into Kansas State, he was underweight, and he put on some weight there — and then he just got better as we watched him these past couple of years."
On Thursday night, Anudike-Uzomah emphasized that the coronavirus pandemic was a critical time for his growth.
“The whole quarantine, I didn’t play any video games or really watch any shows,” he said. “The only thing I did was just watch their highlights over and over every day and then work out in my basement and eating a lot, so I could work on my body. Just get any tactics and stuff like that. Look at the pass-rush moves... that’s what I did the whole time. It’s just a dream come true, and all hard work pays off. And I’m glad I did what I did at quarantine instead of just sitting around watching TV.”
Now at 6 feet 3 and 255 pounds, Anudike-Uzomah reminds Borgonzi of a Chiefs legend.
"He's relentless as a pass rusher," said the assistant GM. "It's kind of funny. I was looking at him in the fall. He's got that 91 number and all I could think of was Tamba — because I was here with Tamba. He does play a lot like him.
"He's relentless, and that's how Tamba was. He just found a way to the quarterback — constantly trying to get off blocks. He's got a little bit of slither to him, too, like Tamba did. But really, just that relentless motor kind of reminded me of Tamba."
WR Rashee Rice
The Chiefs were high on Rice thanks to his versatility. In his final season at SMU, he lined up wide 82.5% of the time and in the slot 17.3% of the time. That should play well with Reid, who favors pass-catchers who are comfortable lining up everywhere.
Borgonzi noted that southwest regional scout Jason Lamb and national scout Jonathan Howard were the first to get Rice on the Chiefs' radar. Then the entire personnel staff saw him at the Senior Bowl.
"He's a big kid," said Borgonzi of the 6-foot-1 Rice. "He's explosive. The one thing he really does — he's got a 41-inch vertical leap. This kid is explosive. He'll go up and get the football, and then once he catches the ball, you could see, he's violent. He turns into a running back after the catch — and so that's a big part of our offense here. We felt really comfortable with him."
Of his 1,344 receiving yards in 2022, 593 yards came after the catch, something the Chiefs also liked. Rice said he worked out with quarterback Patrick Mahomes down in 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.”
As to be expected, Mahomes signed off on the addition.
"It's Patrick Mahomes," finished Borgonzi. "Everybody's going to want to go out and work with him. The thing about Pat is he'll go out in the playground and throw the ball around to anyone. There's a bunch of players down there — and of course, we're going to take Pat's input."
OT Wanya Morris
The Chiefs may not have locked in a surefire Day 1 starter at offensive tackle in this year's draft — but they really do feel Morris brings upside to the table. The 6-foot-5 tackle comes with 35 1/8-inch arms.
Though he was most recently a right tackle at Oklahoma, Morris played left tackle in 2019-20 at the University of Tennessee next to a familiar face: offensive guard Trey Smith. Smith played on the left side (and beside Morris) for the Volunteers in those seasons.
"He's a big, long athletic tackle who played right tackle at Oklahoma — and he played left tackle at Tennessee when he was there playing next to Trey," said Borgonzi. "He's got a ton of tools... He's long, he's athletic, he's got the feet. Now he's just got to put everything together — and we feel comfortable with our room here that he'll learn from some of these guys here."
Smith, who Morris considers a big brother of sorts, became one of the first to contact him after he became a Chief.
“I can’t tell you how good it feels to get those acknowledgements from the guys that you see doing great in the league,” said Morris. “And just to know that I’m going to be there battling with him. We’re going to start off where we left off.”
The development of Morris is now in the hands of offensive line coach Andy Heck, who has aided in the progress of players such as Nick Allegretti, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif and Andrew Wylie.
There has been some debate as to whether top free-agent signee Jawaan Taylor would move from right tackle to left tackle. At least for now, Morris’ selection provides no further clarity.
"I don't think anything's set in stone right now," said Borgonzi. "We'll get to OTAs (organized team activities), and coach Heck plays these guys everywhere just to see what's the best five and who fits where. That's all up to coach Heck and the offensive staff."
After the two Day 2 trade-ups, the Chiefs now have five picks remaining in the NFL Draft — a fourth-rounder, a fifth-rounder, two sixth-rounders and a seventh-rounder.