Kansas City Chiefs 2023 NFL Draft: Team Needs and Top Targets

    What are the most pressing Kansas City Chiefs draft needs? With the 2023 NFL Draft underway, let's dive into the positional gaps they might fill.

    With the NFL Draft upon us, the Kansas City Chiefs are the toast of the town, where “town” equates to “the entire NFL universe.” Their second title in four years cements their standing as a mini-dynasty, and they possess the personnel to keep it going in 2023.

    Of course, every other team can and will try to improve. Kansas City can’t sit back and relax. So what are their biggest needs ahead of the draft, and which targets might be most appealing for a franchise seeking some degree of dynastic immortality?

    Kansas City Chiefs Team Needs Ahead of NFL Draft

    • DT
    • WR
    • OT
    • EDGE
    • CB

    Consider that Kansas City won the title despite parting ways with one of the league’s top wideouts and with a (relatively speaking) ragtag group replacing him, including JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling, as well as sporadic contributions from Mecole Hardman, Skyy Moore, and Kadarius Toney.

    Now Smith-Schuster and Hardman are gone, seemingly ageless TE Travis Kelce will turn 34 in October, and they’ve only picked up Richie James. A former seventh-round pick, James reeled in 81% of his targets last season for the Giants — one of the highest WR catch rates in history.

    More: Kansas City Chiefs 2023 NFL Draft Picks

    Still … James cannot patch the holes left by recent departures. The Chiefs could use another wideout, and they have a draft capital to do it. Also, consider that a top-10 WR they don’t snag could wind up in the hands of a team that will face in the postseason. So to be blunt, I’d be shocked if they roll with Toney, Valdes-Scantling, James, and Moore as their top four wideouts.

    Elsewhere, DT help is the most significant need, and no team has ever had too many edge rushers, either. And while the Chiefs like Lucas Niang on the right side and just drafted Darian Kinnard a season ago in the fifth round, it wouldn’t hurt to upgrade on draft day. Jaylen Watson might have potential, but the Chiefs could improve at CB by replacing him as well.

    Results for Chiefs 2023 Draft Picks

    Round 1, Pick 31: Felix Anudike-Uzomah, EDGE, Kansas State

    Most of the time, Super Bowl champions can just relax and take the best player on their board. For the Chiefs, they have more needs than you might expect from a team that just reached the highest mountain.

    Felix Anudike-Uzomah was a needs-based selection. Projected to be a mid-second-round pick, Anudike-Uzomah filled a position the Chiefs needed to address. But in deep EDGE class, perhaps they would’ve been better off attacking a different area and waiting for a better opportunity.

    Predictions for Remaining Chiefs Draft Picks

    We used PFN’s free Mock Draft Simulator to project some realistic Kansas City targets at each of their draft positions. Here’s a breakdown of the results.

    Round 2, Pick 63: Jordan Battle, S, Arkansas

    Seemingly a safe play here. Jordan Battle would build off of the Forbes pick, cementing this franchise’s commitment to shoring up the secondary ahead of another Super Bowl run.

    Round 3, Pick 95: JL Skinner, S, Boise State

    Will KC snag secondary help with each of their first three selections? Probably not. But it’s possible, especially if they play the “best talent on the board” game. If you can find a starter-caliber player in the third round like JL Skinner, it might make sense.

    Round 4, Pick 122: Jakorian Bennett, CB, Maryland

    Holy cow! The MDS is having fun with the defending champions. And hey, if they trust that their offense can still dominate, why not keep beefing up on the secondary with Jakorian Bennet? But of course, realistically, this team will diversify by (potentially) adding a capable running back or wideout at this spot.

    Round 4, Pick 134: Emil Ekiyor Jr., G, Alabama

    While Emil Ekiyor Jr. might be a great pick here, the key takeaway is that protecting Patrick Mahomes remains one of the top goals of a team whose identity is tied largely to their 27-year-old phenom.

    Round 5, Pick 166: Jalen Moreno-Cropper, WR, Fresno State

    OK, the MDS has officially shifted into offensive territory. Jalen Moreno-Cropper might carve out an NFL career as more of a gadget player lining up all over the field. On a rebuilding squad, he might not bring substantial value relative to need. But on a championship-caliber squad like the Chiefs, he could be a fascinating addition.

    Round 6, Pick 178: John Ojukwu, OT, Boise State

    I’d love to have a camera on Mahomes’ face during the draft to see how he reacts to each KC selection. When will he look most excited? Presumably, the first couple of picks — the bigger-name guys who can contribute right away.

    Or maybe o-line depth makes him happiest. Who knows. But we shouldn’t be surprised if the Chiefs continue to stock up on this line, knowing how an injury to a high-impact starting center, tackle, or guard could upend an offense. Thus, they went with Boise State OT John Ojukwu here.

    Round 6, Pick 217: Aidan O’Connell, QB, Purdue

    For many years to come, the Chiefs will be in the market for a backup QB who can be no less than mediocre — and as good as “solid” — if called upon in a worst-case scenario.

    MORE: Overall 2023 NFL Draft Team Needs

    Chad Henne was the ideal backup for Mahomes in four of the latter’s first five seasons before retiring earlier this year. Now Blaine Gabbert fills this role, though the job remains wide open if this franchise believes Aidan O’Connell or someone else can be a four-year emergency stop-gap.

    Round 7, Pick 249: Ikenna Enechukwu, EDGE, Rice

    Finally, some EDGE help, though Ikenna Enechukwu might begin his NFL career on the practice squad or as an active depth piece. Still, with this late pick, the Chiefs might be looking for a developmental guy they can help transform into a starter or role player for the long term.

    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 Articles