The Kansas City Chiefs are coming off a Super Bowl win thanks, in large part, to the strength of the team’s 2022 NFL Draft. For the Chiefs draft in 2023, the team needs to keep the good picks rolling, and that means hitting on some NFL draft sleepers.
Obviously, as Super Bowl champs, the Chiefs have one of the deepest and most talented rosters in the league. That said, the top teams always bring in more talent for depth and competition.
As free agency winds down, the places the Chiefs need the most help have come into focus. The team could use a speedy wide receiver after losing Mecole Hardman and Tyreek Hill in back-to-back offseasons, and while likely losing starting defensive end Frank Clark, they could use some pass-rush help as well. Plus, tackle depth is also an issue right now.
With those needs in mind, here are three NFL draft sleepers who the Chiefs could target on Days 2 and 3 of the 2023 NFL Draft.
WR Trey Palmer, Nebraska
As the Chiefs’ payroll grows by the season, the franchise has to find places and position groups where it can cut corners. The team’s front office has decided the wide receiver room is one of those places.
Last year the team traded Tyreek Hill, and this NFL offseason, the team let JuJu Smith-Schuster (New England Patriots) and Mecole Hardman (New York Jets) walk as well.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Skyy Moore, and Kadarius Toney are a solid 1-2-3 lineup, but what Patrick Mahomes is missing most is a WR who can truly fly and take the top off a defense.
That’s why, among the NFL draft sleepers in 2023, the Chiefs should select Trey Palmer, the fastest wideout from the 2023 NFL Draft combine.
Palmer started college at LSU before transferring to Nebraska where he had 71 catches for 1,043 yards and nine touchdowns. Then the WR went out and ran a blazing 4.33 40-yard dash at the combine.
The 6-foot, 192-pound WR has speed to burn and that’s exactly what Mahomes and the Chiefs need in the 2023 NFL Draft.
DE Ali Gaye, LSU
Frank Clark will be a big loss for the Chiefs when he inevitably signs with a new team after Kansas City cut him this offseason. Last year’s first-round pick George Karlaftis had an excellent rookie season, but now he needs a partner on the opposite side of the line.
Ali Gaye took an amazing route to get to the brink of the NFL. The 6-foot-6, 263-pound pass rusher moved from Gambia, in Africa, to the United States when he was 12 years old. He then played at two junior colleges before ending up at LSU and racking up 7.0 sacks and 18.0 tackles for a loss in three seasons.
Gaye is still, unsurprisingly, incredibly raw. But he has the body and the athleticism that make him an intriguing Day 3 edge rushing prospect at the next level.
The Chiefs have a lot of interesting pass-rushers who will vie for Clark’s spot in the preseason, including Charles Omenihu, Daniel Wise, Joshua Kaindoh, Mike Danna, and Malik Herring. Adding a player with the potential of Gaye as one of the Chiefs’ 2023 NFL Draft sleepers is a solid play for the future of the team’s defense.
OT Blake Freeland, BYU
Kansas City did some serious shuffling on their Super Bowl-winning offensive line this offseason. The team lost tackles Andrew Wylie (Washington Commanders) and Orlando Brown Jr. (Cincinnati Bengals), re-signed guard Nick Allegretti, and brought in former Jacksonville jAguars tackle Jawaan Taylor.
That leaves the presumptive starting OL next season as Jawaan Taylor at left tackle, Joe Thuney at left guard, Creed Humphrey at center, Trey Smith at right guard, and Lucas Niang at right tackle. They also have Allegretti, Austin Reiter, and Mike Caliendo as backups.
The weak link here is Niang, who has only started nine games in his two-year career and none last season. The Chiefs should strongly consider bringing in a young player who can be a swing tackle next season at worst or challenge Niang for the RT job at best.
Of the NFL draft sleepers who could fit this bill, BYU tackle Blake Freeland could be the best later-round pick.
Freeland is a tall OT at 6-foot-8, 302 pounds who moves well for his size and played right and left tackle for the Cougars.
Freeland comes from an athletic family — dad BYU football, mom BYU basketball All-American, sister BYU track and field — and was a tight end and defensive end in high school as well as a state champion at the javelin and shot put. This kind of athlete should have a future somewhere on an NFL offensive line, so why not the Chiefs?
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