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FutureStarr3 Key Positions the Kansas City Chiefs Should Target in the NFL Draft
Kansas City must upgrade key positions this offseason if they want to make another Super Bowl run in 2023, and general manager Brett Veach should aim to fill three key vacancies during this year's NFL Draft. Right tackle Andrew Wylie and left tackle Orlando Brown are both set to enter free agency in 2023 and need to be replaced. Dawand Jones of Ohio State and Tennessee Darnell Wright could both make suitable candidates at pick 31. 1. Right Tackle Kansas City Chiefs were victorious at last season's Super Bowl, yet have several key holes they need to address for 2023. From needing a backup quarterback or tight end to potentially improving at defensive tackle, their draft selections could target positions where improvement would help the most. Right tackle is an area where the Chiefs could use more attention. Orlando Brown is established at left tackle while veteran depth player Andrew Wylie provides some experienced depth at right tackle; yet additional pieces could still be added to make their position stronger. Lucas Niang was placed on the Physically Unable to Play list this season due to injury, while Andrew Wylie has recently agreed to sign with Washington Commanders. With Lucas Niang currently sidelined for an extended period, there is now an opportunity for Veach to find an outstanding right tackle through the NFL Draft and give this player a shot at becoming his long-term solution at right tackle. Niang was selected in the third-round in 2020 and chose not to sign his rookie contract due to COVID issues, starting nine games at right tackle before suffering a patellar tendon injury that limited him to nine snaps the following season. Prior to becoming an offensive lineman, he spent much of his early career playing guard where he accrued 297 snaps over four seasons. He possesses a thorough understanding of the offensive line, and can protect Patrick Mahomes to help ensure his health and continued contribution in the future. Additionally, he's an effective high-volume pass blocker who can move pockets to assist teammates. Taylor will replace Orlando Brown at left tackle, but could switch back to right in the future. According to Pro Football Focus, Taylor was durable in 2022 allowing just 4.8% pressure rate (39th among all tackles). At 25 years old, Taylor is already an established veteran who can provide some guidance to the younger players on his team. Athletic and persistent in his play, his long-term potential makes him such an intriguing prospect. He's a versatile player that could fit seamlessly into the Chiefs' offense while helping keep their line healthy. The Kansas City Chiefs possess an elite interior offensive line, but have lost Orlando Brown to Cincinnati and could use some depth at tackle position. Drafting potential starters may help the Chiefs remain competitive for years. 2. Edge Rusher After releasing Frank Clark without re-signing Carlos Dunlap, the Chiefs have found themselves needing edge rushing help and may explore some of this year's draft's top edge rushers for possible additions to their roster in 2019. George Karlaftis had the highest pressure rate among first round edge rushers last season, suggesting he may be worth keeping on their roster in 2019. Tuipulotu from USC stands out as an exceptionally versatile defensive lineman in this year's draft class, possessing skills at both edge, over tackles and three-technique positions - notching 56 pressures this fall in 733 snaps for the Trojans. Due to his versatility, he would need to prove his worth as an NFL performer before being worthy of late-round consideration. Technically, he may still need some work as a pass rusher while his injury history may deter some teams. Alabama's Jordan Battle may be a more prudent pick than many believe; he possesses both football intelligence and instincts necessary for Andy Reid's defense, plus is an athletic performer capable of covering lots of ground. Furthermore, Jordan would fit nicely with Kansas City Chiefs' preference for split-stack safety players while providing complementary talent in their defensive back line. Nolan Smith of Georgia should also be considered as an ideal edge rusher target, having had an interview with the Chiefs at this week's combine and impressing them during his formal interview process. Smith should go early or mid rounds but could cause concerns among certain teams due to some potential character flaws that have surfaced recently. Auburn's Derick Hall also possesses the potential to be an elite pass rusher. His big, athletic frame and strong football IQ should allow him to become a starter quickly. With his quickness and lateral movement, he could also become an excellent run-stopping edge rusher in 2023 - perhaps as an important complement to George Karlaftis and Patrick Mahomes II on the edge. Colby Wooden from Nebraska could also be considered by the Chiefs. With size and athleticism that make him valuable in defensive front play, Colby would add something missing to their roster for years. Overall, the Chiefs need to address several key positions during the 2023 NFL Draft. Wide receiver will be an area that requires attention while defensive tackle needs strengthening as well. They may try and find someone like Dawand Jones for this year's draft but there may also be opportunities available later. 3. Safety The Chiefs should use a high pick in the NFL Draft to address their safety needs with an emphasis on finding quality starters to support Brandon Flowers and improve this position. As well, they must replace All-Pro Jovan Belcher who led their tacklers last season with 122 stops - an option available via free agency after veteran Corey Nelson re-signed with them this offseason. Although the Chiefs boast an excellent group of defensive backs at safety, they are still lacking an elite option at that position. While a deep safety such as Justin Reid may help in this regard, they could also benefit from adding an active playmaker capable of contributing open field. At this year's draft, there are some players that fit that bill - Clemson edge rusher Myles Murphey and Florida State cornerback Deonte Banks standout among them as potential solutions to an area that has been an ongoing source of difficulty for them. Both could potentially make an immediate impact at the line of scrimmage that should provide long-term answers on defense that has been an area of contention this season. Kansas City should consider Notre Dame safety Brandon Joseph with their second selection in the first round as an attractive prospect for several reasons. He excels at both coverage and running game skills - two qualities Kansas City could use to their advantage in picking him. He should fit seamlessly into an area featuring Bryan Cook (2022 second-round pick) and Mike Edwards, providing Kansas City with some versatility within their secondary this year. While capable of playing deep safety or free safety positions, he also can occupy other roles within their unit's defensive unit such as box or slot safety or playing on special teams allowing Kansas City some alignment-flexibility when it comes to defensive tactics. Dee Milliner from Alabama should also be on their radar; his production may have been less impressive this season, but his size and athleticism make him ideal as an impact player at this position. Due to Clyde Edwards-Helaire's departure and Juan Thornhill's impending suspension, an ideal free safety is now a consideration for joining the Chiefs. One possible candidate could serve as a strong safety in an offense which relies heavily on high pressure coverages. The Chiefs are likely to address their safety needs via free agency, with several high-caliber players available; however, there may still be worthy prospects available through draft. Experience is especially valued in this position where contributions on both sides can make an impactful statement about a player. Though several positions require attention this season, the safety spot stands out as being of particular significance for Kansas City Chiefs' success. Their tight end and offensive tackle positions are strong but could use additional help up the middle this year.