The Kansas City Chiefs won the Super Bowl for many reasons and leaned heavily on a rookie class after trading Tyreek Hill. They showed that trading away a superstar and allocating new resources and freed up money to replace said superstar and add to other areas of the team can win the season's ultimate prize.
That philosophy is now proven to be one of the many ways to construct a Super Bowl-winning club in today's NFL.
Here's a look at 2023 NFL Draft prospects who could perform similar tasks to those carried out by Chiefs stars and vital role-players en route to winning the Lombardi Trophy for the second time in four years. It's a list other teams should be taking a look at to copy the Chiefs through the draft.
Before I begin, Patrick Mahomes will not be featured in this column. He's already tracking toward becoming one of the best players in NFL history. And yes, he started as a prospect like everyone else, a young player whom no one wanted to put too lofty of a comparison. If I thought there was the next Mahomes in this draft class, I'd say so. Spoiler: There isn't.
Overwhelmingly big left tackle
- For Chiefs: Orlando Brown
- 2023 prospects to fit this role: Ohio State's Dawand Jones, Tennessee's Darnell Wright
The Brown trade was the first in some highly polarizing moves from Chiefs general manager Brett Veach, and while the former Ravens third-round pick hasn't been a dominant blocker, he certainly upgraded the vital position blocking one of the edges for Mahomes.
Now, at nearly 6-foot-8 and 345 pounds, Brown-sized blockers who are actually top 100-caliber prospects don't come around often. Jones fits the bill. He measured in at 6-8 and 375 pounds at the Senior Bowl, and his film is damn good. He has balance, power, and utilizes his length outstandingly, just like he did at Oklahoma.
Wright isn't quite as big as Jones or Brown, but at 6-5 and 342 pounds with a wingspan close to 83 inches, he's a mountain of a man, too. And he plays with deceptive athleticism and NFL veteran-caliber hand work when battling edge defenders.
Thick, super-experienced center
- For Chiefs: Creed Humphrey
- 2023 prospects to fit this role: Minnesota's John Michael Schmitz, Michigan's Olusegun Oluwatimi, Arkansas' Ricky Stromberg
Kansas City's second-round selection of Humphrey last year was as vital as any acquisition Veach has made since the Super Bowl loss to the Buccaneers. The three-year starter at Oklahoma has been rock-solid at center for Andy Reid's offense since the first week of his NFL career.
Schmitz from Minnesota probably won't test quite as amazingly as Humphrey did in 2021 but will actually be more experienced playing the center position at a Power 5 school. Humphrey logged more than 2,400 snaps with the Sooners from 2018 to 2020. Schmitz was right under 2,500 for the Gophers.
Oluwatimi has Humphrey-esque balance blocking for the run and pass. He's unshakeable. Plenty to like about how he wins the leverage and angle games on a routine basis. Stromberg's film is a little messier than the two centers from the Big Ten, but he often just gets the job done against big nose tackles or quick under tackles alike.
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Lightning-charged, later-round running back
- For Chiefs: Isiah Pacheco
2023 prospects to fit this role: Tulane's Tyjae Spears, East Carolina's Keaton Mitchell, Pittsburgh's Israel Abanikanda
When all is said and done, Spears will probably be picked much earlier than Pacheco was (Round 7). However, they're comparable running back prospects who aren't exceptionally big but run with so much speed-to-power conversion. We normally use that term strictly for defensive linemen, but it absolutely holds true with someone who runs like Pacheco. Spears is very fast in the open field -- he'll hit home runs in the NFL.
Much of the same is true for Mitchell, who's a touch smaller and initially projects to a secondary back role in the NFL. However, one cut and he's gone if there's space. Abanikanda, as an underclassmen, hasn't gotten much buzz. Yet. He snuck through small spaces to find daylight and hit a plethora of long runs during his illustrious career at Pittsburgh. He'll probably be available on Day 3 but absolutely can be a RB1 on a high-powered offense as a rookie.
Long, disruptive, athletic defensive tackle
- For Chiefs: Chris Jones
- 2023 prospects to fit this role: Georgia's Jalen Carter, Bowling Green's Karl Brooks, Texas' Moro Ojomo, Oklahoma's Jalen Redmond
I made the Carter-Jones comparison last week. It's too perfect. And it's only relevant for probably the clubs picking in the top 5. Carter moves like a defensive end but is powerful like a nose tackle and has a Jones-type long frame. Later in the draft -- remember, Jones was a second-round pick -- I love the upside of Brooks from Bowling Green, a 6-3, 303-pound hybrid who mainly won with great regularity as a stand-up rusher over the past two seasons. There is major juice to his game, and he deploys his hands like a sensei.
Ojomo is that crazy-long, inside-out rusher who prides himself on getting into blockers frames first then utilizing Jones-esque pass-rushing moves to win into the backfield. Redmond was asked to eat blockers more than anyone else in this group but flashed serious pass-rush ability because of his twitchiness when given an opportunity.