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7 winners and 5 losers from the Chiefs draft weekend

With the NFL Draft in the books, let’s take a look and see which Chiefs have been impacted.

NFL: NFL Draft Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas City Chiefs added seven draft picks and more than a dozen undrafted free agents over the weekend.

Many are trying to give draft grades and speculate on the future of these young players. The full ripple effects haven't all become clear yet, but here are some Chiefs we think could gain and lose from all the moves:


NFL: NFL Draft Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Wide receiver Rashee Rice: When the Chiefs traded up to secure the rights to Rashee Rice out of SMU, it was clear that he was their top target in the second wave of draftable receivers. The more we learn about Rice, the more optimism builds regarding his unique abilities and how he fits with the team. For Rice, having the Super Bowl champions invest in him so heavily has to be a dream come true. It's also the perfect situation for a guy like Rice on the field. There isn't a clear No. 1 wide receiver on the roster. Instead, there are a bunch of guys with different skill sets trying to carve out a role. Rice can come into the offseason program with a real chance of playing time. His ability to make contested catches, be a red-zone threat and run after the catch should be welcome additions to the receiver room. He's also playing with the best quarterback in the football world.

Quarterback Patrick Mahomes: The Chiefs added a protector and a target for the MVP, and they did so with his input. While the rest of the draft was heavy on defense, these two offensive additions bolster key positions that will help keep Mahomes upright and productive. Wayna Morris, along with Jawaan Taylor, will increase the athleticism and talent up front. Rashee Rice helps round out the receiver room with a guy who can go up and get contested catches, and he excels in the scramble drill — a key to Mahomes' game. Mahomes reportedly asked the team to go get Rice after they worked out together, and it seems Kansas City's brass was on the same page. If they are right about both players, this offense could continue to grow around Patrick Mahomes.

Offensive tackle Wayna Morris: Not every tackle available in round three steps into a situation like this one. Not only does he have a real chance to win a starting right tackle job, but he has the unique opportunity to do so while playing next to Trey Smith, his old friend from Tennessee. Protecting Patrick Mahomes, while not the easiest task, is a dream job for any young offensive tackle. He'll also be working with one of the best offensive line coaches in the league on a team with a recent track record for drafting high-end starters on the offensive line that can start day one.

General manager Brett Veach's draft plan: The strategy was as clear as the list of needs. The Chiefs were targeting an EDGE rusher, wide receiver and offensive tackle early. They stuck to that plan with conviction, drafting their guys in each round, trading up twice on Day 2 to ensure it. It's tough when fans see players "falling" in each round that seemingly should not be there. We often want to see the team jump on an opportunity to draft a Darnell Washington or a Dawand Jones, but we should be glad to see the Chiefs stick to their board and their plans because their track record speaks for itself.

Defensive line coach Joe Cullen: After leading several Chiefs defenders to career years in 2022, it's clear that Cullen is gaining influence. Kansas City drafted three defensive linemen for him to work with, and one of those (BJ Thompson) has an athletic profile that wouldn't typically be an option for Steve Spagnuolo. Perhaps Cullen's ability convinced the team to take swings on high-upside players that he can mold into NFL pass rushers. It will be fun to see what Cullen can do with Anudike-Uzomah, Thompson and Keondre Coburn.

Running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire: Many are already assuming Clyde isn't on the initial 53, given that he was inactive during the playoff run, even when healthy. Sure, he hasn't lived up to his original draft status, but that doesn't mean that Edwards-Helaire hasn't been a productive player thus far with the Chiefs. His 16 career touchdowns on 4.4 yards per rush and 8.0 yards per reception are respectable numbers for part of a running back committee. Given his contract status, it makes little sense to cut Edwards-Helaire, so there's a decent chance he's on the roster. Given the lack of additions to the position, he could either be the No. 2 guy behind Isiah Pacheco or split time with newly re-signed Jerick McKinnon, but just being in the rotation isn't a bad outcome at this point.

Nose tackle, Keondre Coburn: It's not often that a guy who was expected to go in Round 4 but slips to Round 6 could be considered a winner. But Coburn might have the easiest path to a starting job of any draft pick taken after Felix Anudike-Uzomah. His only significant competition is incumbent Derrick Nnadi, who returned on a low-cost one-year deal. Coburn has the size and strength to play right away. The nose tackle on this team typically doesn't play a ton of snaps, so expectations should be reasonable for Coburn to join the rotation early as he gets accustomed to the NFL.


Syndication: Arizona Republic Michael Chow/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK

Offensive tackle Prince Tega Wanogho: The Chiefs now have more options and more competition for that right tackle job or to be the swing tackle. Adding Wanya Morris to the room means that either he or Lucas Niang will likely be the starter at right tackle. Whoever loses that training camp battle is likely the backup for both left and right tackle spots on game days. That leaves Prince Tega Wanogho as the fourth guy again this season, which puts a ceiling on his continued development. He's grown and improved since coming into the league, and the Chiefs have kept him around for a reason, but it's hard to see how he wins a bigger job this season.

Wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins: One of the biggest offseason stories for Chiefs fans has the drama around DeAndre Hopkins and his potential departure from the Arizona Cardinals. He's hinted that he'd like to play in Kansas City — and maybe even texted Mahomes about joining him here. But, trade didn't materialize before or during the draft. Now, "Nuk" is running out of options, as the Chiefs just drafted a rookie with the same style of play. He might still get traded or cut, but the chances of Hopkins joining the Super Bowl champions or another top team look very slim. He might just be stuck on a bad Cardinals team for another season.

Defensive ends Malik Herring and Joshua Kaindoh: BJ Thompson is this year's swing on a high-upside EDGE rusher. Over the past few seasons, the Chiefs have invested in developing Malik Herring as an undrafted free agent and Joshua Kaindoh as a former fourth-round pick. The two have combined to appear in 10 total games over the last two seasons with no real tangible impact yet. We believe the Chiefs still like the physical traits of both guys, but given the roster's composition, there might be only one 53-man spot for these three. BJ Thompson has elite burst and bend off of the edge, which is something we haven't seen in Kansas City in recent years. So if Thompson performs well in camp, we should bet on him getting the call, and it may be at the expense of one or both of these guys.

Wide receiver Justyn Ross: Everyone's favorite 2022 UDFA returns with the hope that he can stay healthy, make the roster and maybe even make an impact. But the Chiefs went out and drafted Rashee Rice after adding Richie James and bringing back Justin Watson. So, what is Ross' path? He's not going to be a core special teams contributor like Watson or a returner like James. He's not going to beat Rice out of a job, even though the two have some similarities in their game. So, Ross has to hope the Chiefs keep seven wide receivers this year. Otherwise, he'll have to hope for a job on the practice squad.

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