Kansas City Chiefs trade up, take SMU’s Rashee Rice in 2nd round of 2023 NFL draft

The Kansas City Chiefs got aggressive in the back half of the second round of the NFL draft on Friday night, jumping eight spots to No. 55 overall in order to take wide receiver Rashee Rice from SMU.

Kansas City sent three picks to the Detroit Lions to facilitate the move. In order to get Nos. 55 and 194 (a sixth-round pick), the Chiefs sent Nos. 63, 122 and 249 to the Lions, the latter two picks coming in the fourth and seventh rounds, respectively.

The Lions then sent No. 63, the last pick in the second round, to the Denver Broncos.

After three productive years at SMU, Rice broke out in his senior season for the Mustangs. He caught 96 passes for 1,355 yards and 10 touchdowns, all career highs, on his way to earning first-team All-American Athletic Conference honors.

He posted six games with 100+ yards receiving last season, including 11 receptions for 193 yards against Maryland.

Rice was one of the best athletic testers among this year’s receivers, posting a 9.53 Relative Athletic Score, including an “elite” grade for explosion tests.

On his introductory Zoom call, Rice espoused confidence in his new team almost immediately.

“We’re going to win another Super Bowl, there’s no doubt about it,” Rice said.

While Rice compared himself to DeAndre Hopkins, Joe Marino of The Draft Network gave him Chris Godwin of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a pro comparison, and said he should be able to work out of both the slot and on the boundary.

“In [Year 1], Rice’s versatility and appeal to all levels of the field should give him the opportunity to be a top-four option for an NFL offense,” Marino wrote. “By year three, Rice has the makings of an impact starter that is a featured component of his offense.”

The Chiefs continue to rebuild their wide receivers room, which saw its top player, JuJu Smith-Schuster, leave in free agency. Four players return from the Super Bowl roster, including Kadarius Toney, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Skyy Moore and Justin Watson, with Watson receiving a new contract this offseason. Rice joins free-agent addition Richie James as the newest receivers in Kansas City.

It will be more than 32 picks until the Chiefs select again on Day 2. Their next scheduled pick is No. 95 overall near the end of the third round.