With the 2022 college football season now behind us, we'll soon turn our attention to the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine and the pro-day circuit. This afternoon, we've got the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl set to kick off after a successful week of practice in Pasadena, California. You can watch the game on Saturday, Jan. 28 on NFL Network at 6:00 p.m. ET in the classic Rose Bowl Stadium.
Our annual draft prospects series returns for the sixth consecutive year. We've identified over 200 college prospects to keep an eye on ahead of the 2023 NFL draft, all of whom might be potential fits with the Kansas City Chiefs. Last season's prospect list included several of the Chiefs' 2022 NFL draft picks including George Karlaftis, Skyy Moore and Bryan Cook. Who will be next?
Our nineteenth group of prospects includes an underrated tight end from the Big 12, a hybrid defender from an FCS school, a field-stretching receiver and a defensive tackle who doubles as a red zone threat.
Baylor TE Ben Sims
Chris Jones-USA TODAY Sports
Sims has appeared in 24 games over the past two seasons at Baylor, with 64 plays from scrimmage for 618 yards and 11 total touchdowns. At 6-5 and 255 pounds, he has the versatility to align as in-line or operate out of the slot. He's quite good at gaining separation when isolated against linebackers and some safeties, but he's also got a willingness to do the dirty work and block in the trenches. Sims also played special teams at Baylor and could be a multiphase player in the NFL.
Former Chiefs TE Jason Dunn is coaching Sims down at the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl this week. Dunn told me that he's very much enjoyed coaching Sims and the National Team tight end group. Dunn says Sims is both "talented" and "a super good dude." He said that he showcased attitude, aggressiveness, ability, and athleticism all week long, which, "makes him a straight-A prospect in my book." Hard to argue with that type of player, especially in the middle-to-late rounds of the draft.
Sacremento State DB/LB Marte Mapu
Jon Austria/The Coloradoan
Mapu's play at the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl this week actually got him the call-up to the Senior Bowl next week. Playing at FCS Sacramento State, there will be questions about the level of competition he faced, but he seems to be answering those questions well so far. Mapu is undersized at 6-3 and 216 pounds and is considered a bit of a hybrid defender, playing anything from linebacker to nickel corner.
I'm told that Mapu looked really good in practice this week with coverage drops against running backs and tight ends. He's a very instinctive player, who recorded six interceptions over the past two seasons for the Hornets. I'm not really sure where the Chiefs would choose to play him, but he seems like the type of football player that you could develop into a contributor.
Southern Miss WR Jason Brownlee
Dominic Gwinn / Hattiesburg American
Listed at 6-2 and 201 pounds, Brownlee boasts a great blend of size and speed. In three seasons at Southern Miss, he has 135 receptions for over 2,000 yards and 21 touchdowns. He can stretch the field or work the middle with big yard-after-catch potential, but he'll also surprise with some acrobatic catches in traffic. He's one of those guys, who just manages to always be open even if he's covered well.
Kansas City has some issues to work through in the trenches in the 2023 NFL draft, so wide receiver might not be at the top of their list of needs. That said, you never want to go too long without adding weapons for Patrick Mahomes. If they're looking to get an impact player without paying a premium draft pick, it's hard to get much better than Brownlee.
Boise State DT Scott Matlock
Loren Orr/Getty Images
A 6-4 and 300-pound defensive tackle catching fades in the back corner of the end zone? Yeah, Matlock is a player cater-made for Chiefs HC Andy Reid. He's a versatile piece on the defensive line, playing 5-tech all the way down the line to nose tackle. In four seasons at Boise State, he's amassed 113 total tackles, 19.5 tackles for loss, 11.5 sacks, two passes batted, two fumble recoveries and one forced fumble with 32 games started under his belt.
Kansas City is going to have a big need for rotational interior defensive linemen next season and finding them in the latter rounds of the draft is going to be key. Matlock should be squarely on their radar, especially if he performs well in the game on Saturday.
Story originally appeared on Chiefs Wire
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