Way-too-early 2023 mock draft for Kansas City Chiefs

BJ Ojulari as The LSU Tigers take on the Florida Gators in Tiger Stadium. Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021.Lsu Vs Florida Football 3886
BJ Ojulari as The LSU Tigers take on the Florida Gators in Tiger Stadium. Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021.Lsu Vs Florida Football 3886 /

With the regular season upon us, every team in the NFL is nearly finished reconstructing the rosters for another season even as each NFL franchise likely has at least one area that they’d like to improve—including the Kansas City Chiefs. The problem for most teams is that once training camp rolls around, there isn’t much that can be done to find new talent with the draft finished and the well in free agency running dry.

Let’s fast forward to next offseason (a.k.a “mock draft season”) and perform a 2023 NFL Mock Draft for the Chiefs, which should be a good one since the 2023 NFL Draft will be at Union Station in Kansas City.

Note: This will be a three-round mock draft, with the Chiefs in the 30th overall position (which is 29th due to the Dolphins losing their 2023 first-round pick). I used the Pro Football Focus Mock Draft Simulator. Also, the PFF simulator only has two rounds for 2023, so I projected the third-round pick.

Round 1, Pick 29: BJ Ojulari, EDGE, LSU

The Chiefs use a first-round pick on an edge rusher in back-to-back years. After taking George Karlaftis in the first round in 2022, they select LSU pass rusher BJ Ojulari at 29th overall in this mock.

The Chiefs have both short and long-term concerns across the defensive line, with edge being a major concern. Frank Clark is likely in his last season with the Chiefs and Carlos Dunlap is a free agent after this season. Karlaftis is a lock to be on the roster next season but Mike Danna and Joshua Kaindoh will have to win a spot on the team next year.

Ojulari has the tools to be a star in the NFL and it would not surprise me if he ended up becoming a top 10 selection when it’s all said and done. He wins with speed, which is a great complement to Karlaftis’ power rushing. He also has a fantastic motor and is an asset in the running game.

Among his biggest concerns are his size, 250 pounds is a little light for what the Chiefs generally like in their defensive ends, and his vulnerability on zone reads. With the exception of his size, I don’t view any of his flaws as unfixable, but he does have to improve upon them during his junior year with the Tigers.

Round 2, Pick 61: Jermayne Lole, IDL, Louisville

Will the Chiefs double-dip on the defensive line in the 2023 draft? Probably not, but they need to consider it. We’ve already discussed the concerns regarding their edge but their interior of the defensive line isn’t much better. They lack quality depth, in my opinion, and Chris Jones is eligible to sign a contract extension after the 2022 season. That means the Chiefs either need to replace him or add additional but cost-effective depth around him, if he re-signs.

Lole missed the entire 2021 season, so he is a tough evaluation today, but he showed serious potential to be an asset in the middle of the defensive line with Arizona State from 2018 through 2020. In his senior year, he needs to improve upon his athleticism and block shedding in order to solidify himself as a day two pick or better.

Round 3, Pick 93: Rakim Jarrett, WR, Maryland

The only wide receivers that the Chiefs have under contract for 2023 are Skyy Moore, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and Justyn Ross. Mecole Hardman and JuJu Smith-Schuster could be re-signed this offseason but it’s hard to project both to return.

For Chiefs fans who also love to watch college football: Rakim Jarrett from Maryland is a player to keep an eye on. He’s one of my favorite sleepers for this season and it would not shock the least bit if he snuck into the first round. Jarrett also fits what the Chiefs need long-term at wide receiver. He is a great deep threat and is great in traffic.

With Mecole Hardman’s status for 2023 being unclear, Jarrett could be a solid replacement. He won’t be the overall speed weapon and returner that Hardman has been for the Chiefs but he’ll likely be a better overall route-runner and also projects to be a much more complete player than Hardman is (his blocking was impressive last season for Maryland).

In conclusion, this mock draft did not address every need for the Chiefs as I was unable to land an additional secondary player or a potential Travis Kelce successor, but I do feel these three players would help fill holes that the Chiefs have (or may have) for years to come.

What do you think of this draft? Which position(s) should I have addressed? Feel free to let me know in the comment section or on Twitter (@StrozinskyLucas).

Next. Ranking the Chiefs top 15 draft picks ever. dark