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Predicting the 3 All-Rookie Team Players for the Chiefs

I can see these 3 guys making the 2023 All-Rookie team

(Photo: Associated Press/Charlie Riedel)

Football is back. With NFL’s 2023 season ready to begin, the last of the preseason accolades are rolling in here at Chiefs Focus. After trading Tyreek Hill in the 2022 offseason, general manager Brett Veach knew it would take more than Patrick Mahomes and Chris Jones to get back to the Super Bowl in a loaded AFC. The 2022 draft class would be a major factor, and the play of those 10 youngsters led to the second Super Bowl win in four seasons for the Chiefs. In 2023, the Chiefs struck gold with more players from getting a hometown star that lit up quarterbacks in the Big 12 to an unknown running back from Tulsa with 4.41 speed.

Every year the NCAA presents their Preseason All-America team. Keep in mind that this isn’t necessarily a reflection of what players have done to this point even though the season has yet to begin. That’s part of it, making predictions but an even bigger part is who we think who will be the best rookies on the field this season, based on the players selected in the 2023 Draft, the roles they will play and expectations. With that being said, here are the 3 Chiefs rookie I can see making the Pro Football Writers Association’s All-Rookie Team.

Rashee Rice, WR:

Reigning MVP Patrick Mahomes will again have his pick of talented receivers to throw to this season, but the 6-foot-1 204-pound Rashee Rice is in a different breed than the rest. He’s explosive, runs great routes and  makes big plays. Last season at SMU, Rice caught 96 passes for 1,355 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2022, making him one of only three FBS players to tally at least 1,300 receiving yards last season. He also led the FBS with 112.9 receiving yards-per-game, earning Second-Team All-America recognition for his efforts. Rice will prove he will be tough to cover for years to come. What’s made him so dangerous besides his jump ball ability is his ability after the catch, where his 33 receptions on screen passes ranked ninth among all players, and his 19 broken tackles ranked 23rd in 2022. I predict Rice will catch 66 passes for 928 yards and 7 touchdowns in 2023.

Deneric Prince, RB:

The Chiefs added a big-time playmaker to their running game by not selecting a running back in the 2023 NFL Draft, but signing Tulsa running back Deneric Prince. As a senior, Prince recorded 813 all-purpose yards and six touchdowns in eight games. He ran the 40-yard dash at the 2023 NFL scouting combine in 4.41 seconds, helping him earn an athleticism score of 89, the highest among all draft-eligible running backs via Next Gen Stats. He’s already stood out among observers and teammates, has exceeded early expectations in his ability to catch the football despite Tulsa’s lack of usage of Prince in the pass game and is likely the team’s primary kick returner like Pacheco in 2022. Prince could become the 5th undrafted rookie running back in NFL History to rush for 1,000 yards in a season joining Dominic Rhodes, LeGarrette Blount, Phillip Lindsay and James Robinson. I predict Prince will rush the ball 242 times for 1,147 yards and 9 touchdowns in 2023.

Felix Anudike-Uzomah, EDGE:

After leading the Wildcats in sacks (8.5) and tackles for loss (11.0) winning Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, Felix Anudike-Uzomah is poised to be dominant for his hometown team as a rookie. He has the burst, explosiveness and length to absolutely wreak havoc this season for the Chiefs and will scratch the surface of how good he can be. The Chiefs lost two talented players up front from their Super Bowl championship team even with Charles Omenihu’s suspension, Anudike-Uzomah is the kind of game-changer who helps fill that void. He threatens the edge with outstanding bend and footwork against opposing offensive tackles. Anudike-Uzomah is also loose and fluid in the open field for a player of his size. The Lee’s Summit, MO native now improves the talent up front on the defensive line and gives the Chiefs another legitimate threat rushing the passer. He will play meaningful snaps in 2023, which means his production and dependability will only go up. I predict FAU can break Derrick Thomas’ rookie sack record with 10.5 (0.5 more than the actual record).

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