Photo courtesy of Sports Illustrated.
Super Bowl LVIII is here and the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs are set to battle it out on February 11th. The 49ers finished the season 12-5 in 2023, while the Chiefs finished 11-6.
The Chiefs are defending Super Bowl Champions and selected 31st in last year’s draft. The 49ers finished 13-4 in 2022-2023 and did not have a draft pick until the 3rd round. So how did both of these teams draft in 2023? Which players helped lead them to the Super Bowl this season? Draft Nation is here to go over each pick and what they did to help.
Kansas City Chiefs
RD-1- Pick 31- DE- Felix Anudike-Uzomah- Kansas State
Anudike-Uzomah played in 17 games sparingly for the Kansas City Chiefs, who were set all season long with Mike Danna and George Karlaftis at edge. Anudike-Uzomah finished with 14 tackles, 0.5 sack and 1 forced fumble. He is expected to take over at defensive end next season when Mike Danna leaves via free agency.
RD-2- Pick 55- WR- Rashee Rice- SMU
Rashee Rice got better and better as the season went on and became a key part of the Chiefs' offense. Rice grew into Patrick Mahomes' favorite outside target, snaring 79 passes for 938 yards and 7 touchdowns. He played in 16 games, starting 8 and will get some votes in the offensive rookie of the year race. He appears to be a huge part of the Chiefs' future.
RD 3- Pick 92- OT- Wanya Morris- Oklahoma
Morris played in 14 games, starting 4 when starting tackle Donovan Smith went down with an injury. Morris showed enough ability this season to look like the future left tackle for the Chiefs, who appeared to hit on another draft pick at #92.
RD-4- Pick 119- S- Chamarri Conner- Virginia Tech
The Chiefs added to their stellar draft by selecting Conner in round 4. Andy Reid is not afraid to use rookies and it usually pays off for him. Conner played 17 games, starting 7 and was a playmaker in the secondary, totaling 36 tackles and 1 interception.
RD- 5- Pick 166- LB- B.J. Thompson- Stephen F. Austin
Thompson was on the active roster all season but only played in 1 game, collecting 2 tackles.
RD- 6- Pick 194- DT- Keondre Coburn- Texas
Coburn played in 1 game for Kansas City before being cut and signed by the Tennessee Titans.
RD- 7- Pick 250- CB- Nic Jones- Ball State
Jones got some action on special teams in 9 games and collected 4 tackles.
San Francisco 49ers
RD-3- Pick 87- S- Ji’Ayir Brown- Penn State
Ji’Ayir Brown has played 15 games and started 5, mostly seeing action in some nickel packages. He has been a solid contributor for the 49ers, finishing with 35 tackles, 4 passes defended and 2 interceptions. Brown substituted late in the season for the injured Talanoa Hufanga and will be the starting strong safety in the Super Bowl.
RD-3- Pick 99- K- Jake Moody- Michigan
Jake Moody was a solid kicker for the 49ers, missing only a couple big kicks later in the year. He played 17 games and went 21-25 in field goals and 60-61 on extra points.
RD-3- Pick 101- TE- Cameron Latu- Alabama
Latu suffered a meniscus injury in August and did not play in any games for the 49ers.
RD-5- Pick 155- CB- Darrell Luter, Jr.- South Alabama
Luter suffered a hyperextended knee, which landed him on the physically unable to perform list. Later in the season, he was activated and collected 7 tackles in 7 games. The 49ers are loaded at the cornerback position, making it hard for a rookie to crack the lineup.
RD- 5- Pick 173- DE- Robert Beal, Jr.- Georgia
Beal was also injured from training camp and exhibition games. He finally was activated later in the season and played in 4 games and had 7 tackles and a sack.
RD- 6- Pick 216- LB- Dee Winters- TCU
Winters is a hybrid-linebacker who has the capability to become a core special teams player. He played in 15 games and totaled 10 tackles and 1 pass defended.
RD-7- Pick 247- TE- Brayden Willis- Oklahoma
Willis, the 2nd tight end taken by San Francisco. He dressed in 9 games and had no stats, other than a tackle on special teams.
RD- 7- Pick 253- WR- Ronald Bell- Michigan
Ronald Bell has played in all 17 games and has contributed on special teams. He hauled in 6 catches for 68 yards and 3 touchdowns. On special teams, he returned 10 punts for 70 yards.
RD- 7- Pick 255- LB- Jalen Graham- Purdue
Graham’s time was limited in his 4 games, and he collected 1 tackle for San Francisco.