10 bold predictions for the Chiefs 2023 season

Whether it is rookies flashing right away or it is veterans elevating their game, there are always surprise performances in an NFL season. That could not be more true for the Chiefs over the years during their dominant run. Kansas City will need more of that to continue what they have started.
Kansas City Chiefs v Cincinnati Bengals
Kansas City Chiefs v Cincinnati Bengals / Dylan Buell/GettyImages
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6. Felix Anudike-Uzomah finishes top three among rookies in quarterback pressures

The pressure of being a hometown kid drafted in the first round is going to be enormous for Anudike-Uzomah. That is unfair but that is the reality. He is stylistically very different from last year’s first-round pick, George Karlaftis, but I think they can have similar rookie impacts.

With Jones’ and Charles Omenihu’s absence to start the season, the rookie will be forced into a lot more snaps than originally anticipated. He did not come down with any sacks in the preseason, but he was very active, generating a few pressures. If he can just do that to allow others to bring the quarterback down, that will be a big win for a rookie season.

Karlaftis finished last season with six sacks, but he was second among all rookies in pressures, according to PFF. The Chiefs finished second in the league in sacks, and those pressures are a direct correlation to others bringing the quarterback down. 

I’m not sure Anudika-Uzomah will get quite as many snaps as Karlaftis did last year, but if he can get 35 pressures to his counterpart's 48, Chiefs Kingdom should be excited about the Lee’s Summit kid moving forward.

5. Drue Tranquill earns himself a nice payday

It was a surprise to many when the Chiefs signed Tranquill to a one-year, $3 million dollar deal back when free agency began. Kansas City had just come off of three straight years drafting a linebacker in the second or third round and all had shown promise.

Tranquill has shown the ability in his time in the NFL to be a dominant linebacker in pass coverage. On top of that, Steve Spagnolo has already assigned him a green dot. This likely means that on obvious passing downs, he could replace Nick Bolton, who is known as a run-defender. 

A lot of people thought Willie Gay Jr. would assume that role at some point, but three years into his career, the Chiefs brass has not shown that level of confidence in him. That makes way for Tranquill to be a much better version of Ben Neiman, for example. As Gay and Tranquill both sit here in contract years, I would not be surprised if it is Tranquill who the Chiefs choose to extend.