4 players with local ties the Kansas City Chiefs can draft

If the Chiefs want to build in a nice story to some of their draft picks and keep some local talent in the region, there are a few great opportunities.
Buffalo Bills v Kansas City Chiefs
Buffalo Bills v Kansas City Chiefs / David Eulitt/GettyImages

It's always a good story when the stars align and a player can stay at or near home as he makes the leap from college football to the NFL. Just last year, Kansas State pass rusher Felix Anudike-Uzomah was the Kansas City Chiefs first-round selection and his pick was even announced in front of a hometown crowd with the 2023 draft being held in K.C. It added an extra layer of love for the moment.

Can that happen again this year? The Chiefs aren't going to stay local with their first round pick but it makes sense to that they could at least reach out in later rounds for someone with local ties. At the very least, the undrafted free agent route could bring some interesting players.

There are more possibilities than this, but we wanted to at least list these four prospects as some good examples of how the Chiefs could stay local.

Dubem Okonkwo, linebacker, Pittsburg State

Dubem Okonkwo, a Kansas City native, isn't likely to hear his name called during the actual NFL Draft, but the linebacker from Pittsburg State is hoping his raw measurables are enough to earn him a closer look on the other side of draft weekend from someone. Okonkwo had 16.5 sacks in his career for the Gorillas, and put up the sort of very intriguing splits that would turn the heads of any scout. Undrafted free agent opportunities or an invite to a rookie minicamp is likely the next step, but Okonkow's burst can't be taught and the Chiefs staff has worked wonders with raw tools before.

Cooper Beebe, offensive line, Kansas State

Cooper Beebe is the most "sure thing" on our list here and we purposefully tried to steer away from obvious listings. However, Beebe's profile as a local kid who's made good on his potential to become a likely early starter in the NFL is such a good story. Beebe will have to wait until Day 2 to hear his name called, but he's going to be a solid mauler for any team that drafts him. If the Chiefs want to get a leg up on the tough interior decisions to be made next offseason, Beebe would be a nice grab.

Quinten Arello, defensive back, Dartmouth

Ariello is a KC native who chose Dartmouth over Yale for his college football home and put up 37 tackles and 5 passes defended this year for the Big Green. He earned All-Ivy League honors (second team) in '22 and put up some interesting measurables in pre-draft season, including a dynamic vertical leap (43.5"). Could be an interesting flyer for the Chiefs as a priority free agent.

Hayden Gillum, offensive line, Kansas State

While Beebe earns the lion's share of attention up front for the Wildcats, Gillum is a Garden City native who was honorable mention All-Big 12 for each of the last two years. A two-year starter at center, Gillum didn't commit a single penalty last season despite playing over 900 snaps. He was also a team captain. It shouldn't shock anyone to see him brought in as an undrafted player to compete with Mike Caliendo and others for an interior spot.