Kansas City Chiefs 2023 Draft Prospects To Target at NFL Combine Include Calijah Kancey, Kayshon Boutte, and Zay Flowers

As the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs look to reload for next season, who are the top players the team needs to key in on at the NFL Combine?

Fresh off winning Super Bowl 57, the Kansas City Chiefs are working their way to establishing themselves as the latest NFL dynasty. With three Super Bowl appearances and two wins in the last five years, one could make the argument they’re already there. The Chiefs will look to reload this offseason as they chase another Lombardi Trophy.

Having head coach Andy Reid and quarterback Patrick Mahomes makes up for a good number of roster limitations, but the Chiefs have had success drafting in recent years too. This roster is far from being carried by just Mahomes and the coaching staff.

With a number of key players hitting free agency, the Chiefs’ best avenue to maintain their title hopes is to re-tool in the draft. We’re breaking down the top 2023 NFL Draft prospects for the Chiefs to target at the NFL Combine.

Chiefs 2023 Draft Prospects To Target at NFL Combine

The Chiefs have 12 picks in the 2023 NFL Draft class, but it’s hard to imagine a veteran roster would keep that many rookies as they look to compete. Don’t be surprised if they consolidate their picks at some point. Here are 10 draft prospects the team should monitor closely.

WR Zay Flowers, Boston College

With JuJu Smith-Schuster set to hit free agency and noticeably lacking the burst he had earlier in his career, the Chiefs have to consider adding a quick playmaker who can impact the unit in 2023.

2022 second-rounder Skyy Moore couldn’t fill the void as hoped as a rookie, and if the team isn’t sold on his ability, Zay Flowers is a possible upgrade. He’s electric in space and creates separation with ease.

The Chiefs love players who can create on their own and thrive when Mahomes breaks outside of the pocket. Flowers projects into that role with ease and won’t see the same massive leap in competition that Moore has yet to overcome. A strong combine can lock Flowers into the top 40 picks.

DL Calijah Kancey, Pittsburgh

A massive riser who came to the national spotlight when Mel Kiper Jr. featured him in the top 10 of a mock draft, Calijah Kancey is an intriguing lineman. He fits the mold of an undersized three-technique who specializes in getting after the passer. We’ve seen several players in that mold have varying levels of success, including Aaron Donald, Dre’Mont Jones, and Ed Oliver.

MORE: 2023 NFL Mock Draft Simulator

Kancey, despite sharing an alma mater with Donald, is closer to the latter two than the former. But adding another disruptive defender to this defensive line would be wise. He might be outside of the Chiefs’ reach by the time the draft comes around, but with some extra picks, KC could be a threat to trade up.

OT Blake Freeland, BYU

The Chiefs were able to get by with Orlando Brown and Andrew Wylie at tackle, but it wouldn’t be surprising if either prove to be short-term options for the franchise. Adding a middle-round developmental prospect would be wise either way. Losing a starting tackle for an extended period of time can be crippling for any offense.

BYU’s Blake Freeland is one of the more exciting options but is more of a run blocker right now. He moves downhill well and utilizes his length effectively, but he’s a raw pass-blocker, needing to improve his hand positioning and impact strength.

Because he’s not a particularly strong lateral athlete, Freeland has a capped upside as a pass blocker. Playing with Mahomes can help mitigate that weakness.

EDGE Adetomiwa Adebawore, Northwestern

It’s unusual to see a player exposed to a variety of roles in college, but Adetomiwa Adebawore played the edge and interior defensive line for Northwestern, making his projection to the NFL a little easier.

A solid athlete who wins with a quick first step and low pad level, his NFL impact will depend on his specific role. The Chiefs like big edge defenders, making Adebawore a prime candidate to play the five-technique next to Chris Jones.

Projected as a Day 2 pick, Adebawore is someone coaches should gravitate toward because of his experience. He’s comfortable reading run keys and holding them at the point of attack. Though he’s not a terrific athlete, the former Wildcat can prove he has enough juice to be an impactful starter with a good combine showing.

DT Mazi Smith, Michigan

The Chiefs have tried to anchor the middle of their defense several times with a run-stopping tackle but have had middling success. Derrick Nnadi proved capable of holding his own at the point of attack, but the 2018 third-round pick is a free agent this offseason. Michigan’s Mazi Smith could be his replacement.

Smith plays with great tenacity and relentlessness in the run game. He’s as strong as an ox, able to disrupt blockers and open gaps for linebackers to sprint through. Though defensive tackles often take time to develop in the NFL, Smith could carve an early role thanks to his outstanding ability to be a role player.

TE Luke Musgrave, Oregon State

While it feels like Travis Kelce’s dominance will continue forever, the Chiefs may want to start building a replacement plan for the star. If they believe in Moore, instead of prioritizing a receiver, adding another dynamic tight end could work. If they go that route, then Oregon State’s Luke Musgrave could be a shocking but fitting first-round option.

MORE: Kansas City Chiefs 2023 NFL Mock Draft

Musgrave is the best vertical tight end prospect in this class. He brings elite size and good speed, but more noticeable is his fluidity in routes. He’ll be a huge riser if he runs as well as expected at the combine, and the Chiefs should consider doubling down on their offensive approach by adding him.

WR Trey Palmer, Nebraska

The Chiefs can cut Marquez Valdes-Scantling to save $7 million in cap space this offseason, and if they do, the offense will be lacking speed. The best burner who they could target to replace Valdes-Scantling is Nebraska’s Trey Palmer. The former five-star recruit transferred from LSU to the Cornhuskers and broke out with a huge 2022 campaign.

The track star was a slot nightmare for defenses to deal with. He’d give Reid and Mahomes a different complementary piece to work with in comparison to the shiftier players currently on the roster. A strong showing in the combine’s individual drills can help highlight his route-running ability beyond his capacity to be a deep threat.

WR Kayshon Boutte, LSU

There’s no question Kayshon Boutte‘s draft stock took a dive throughout a quiet 2022 campaign. He’ll have to impress in interviews and on-field drills, but Boutte’s athleticism should absolutely be on display at the combine. Like Kadarius Toney, Boutte thrives with the ball in his hands thanks to his speed, agility, and strength.

Toney didn’t play a significant role in Kansas City until the Super Bowl, so their faith in him may ultimately decide how interested they’ll be in Boutte. A strong combine could put him in play in the second round if they’re not sold on Toney’s durability or ability to be more than a gadget player.

S Ji’Ayir Brown, Penn State

There hasn’t been a safety in college football more productive than Penn State’s Ji’Ayir Brown over the last two years. He’s a tackling machine who does extremely well when plays are in front of him. He was also a ballhawk, totaling 10 interceptions over his last 26 games.

A strong combine showing would reaffirm the film that shows Brown’s short-area explosiveness and overall speed. His weaknesses, though, are notable, as he struggled with discipline on play-action and was overaggressive. Still, Brown would be a worthwhile early-Day 3 investment for the Chiefs as a developmental depth piece with upside.

OL Jaxson Kirkland, Washington

You can never have enough quality blockers. Jaxson Kirkland was an impressive Shrine Bowl participant, specifically playing guard in drills, but he played both tackle and guard at Washington. A foot injury and the NCAA’s COVID eligibility rules allowed Kirkland to be a sixth-year senior in 2022, but he shouldn’t be overlooked in the draft.

MORE: List of Kansas City Chiefs Draft Picks in 2023 NFL Draft

The Chiefs could boldly slide guard Joe Thuney to left tackle if Orlando Brown departs in free agency, opening a hole at left guard. Kirkland could be a replacement candidate after he showed terrific play strength and potential at the position in 2022 and the Shrine Bowl. He’ll have to prove he’s healthy and agile enough to be an effective run blocker for the Chiefs’ scheme, though.

Listen to the PFN Scouting Podcast

Listen to the PFN Scouting Podcast! Click the embedded player below to listen, or you can find the PFN Scouting Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and all major podcast platforms.  Be sure to subscribe and leave us a five-star review! Rather watch instead? Check out the PFN Scouting Podcast on our Scouting YouTube channel.

Related Stories

Related Articles