Did Andy Reid really want Mazi Smith in Round 1?
By Matt Conner
It seems as if the Kansas City Chiefs were wanting to move up and one source claims it was to take Mazi Smith out of Michigan.
For the last third of the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft, there was an interesting feeling in the “room” for Chiefs Kingdom. As the defending champs, the Chiefs were forced to pick last in the opening round, but as the draft fell to around pick No. 20, it looked like a perfect set-up for Chiefs general manager Brett Veach to trade up.
From there, one desirable selection after another went off the board—each of whom felt like players who were either often projected to the Chiefs in mock drafts or prospects who had actually visited Arrowhead in the pre-draft season. At one point, zero receivers had been taken and then four picks later, every single top WR was gone off of the board.
The Chiefs ended up staying put—a move that surprised everyone—and selected defensive end Felix Anudike-Uzomah, a pass rusher out of Kansas State.
After the draft, there was excitement in Chiefs Kingdom about Anudike-Uzomah—for his fit, his talent, and his hometown story—but there was also a bit of confusion as to how the Chiefs failed to see a value in moving up. But as it turns out, they tried.
Following the draft, Veach spoke with reporters to explain his take on the first round and the way things went. He was glad to add FAU to the mix of defensive linemen, yet he also admitted that he tried to trade up at several moments but it wasn’t happening. “There was conversation that we had with teams, but when it was their time to pick, they were staying. They weren’t trading.”
One such scenario was unveiled after the draft, at least if you believe a certain Dallas Cowboys writer. Patrik Walker posted the following after the draft.
This falls right in line with a few key ideas. First, the Chiefs had a pre-draft meeting with Mazi Smith, so there was demonstrated interest in him. It also makes sense that the Cowboys would have been a place to potentially trade up since they are in the NFC, leaving AFC teams that would have rebuffed Veach’s advances outside of the realm of influence in a deal.
Smith would have been a dynamic addition up front, a gifted run-stuffer with some disruptive abilities who would have elevated the biggest weakness on the Chiefs defense. However, defensive end remained a significant concern and the Chiefs now have a prospect they also liked to grow as a pass rusher on the roster for the next four to five years.