KANSAS CITY, Mo. — For the second year in a row, the Chiefs addressed wide receiver in the second round of the 2023 NFL draft, trading up eight spots to snag SMU’s Rashee Rice with the No. 55 overall selection.
Rice’s predraft schedule included not only a top-30 visit to Kansas City to meet with the team but also a trip to Dallas to workout with Patrick Mahomes. The quarterback has been hosting the team’s pass catchers for throwing sessions in recent weeks, and Rice was among the draft prospects stopping by for a visit.
“I actually ran a couple of routes with Pat, did a couple of training sessions with them,” Rice said. “He actually called me while coach was on the phone and I just put it on hold real quick. I talked to him, told him I would call him back whenever I can. So when I get off of here, I will call him back. I’m really excited about that.”
Rice said working out with Mahomes was a great experience.
“You can’t complain about anybody like him,” Rice said. “He made me seem like I was one of the best wideouts in the world putting exactly where it needed to be.”
After working with Mahomes and visiting with the coaching staff including head coach Andy Reid, offensive coordinator Matt Nagy and receivers coach Connor Embree, Rice was sold.
“It just felt like I was at home as soon as I got there and I knew it was the place that I wanted to be,” Rice said.
Rice put himself on the team’s radar with a breakout season last year for the Mustangs, hauling in 96 catches for 1,355 yards and 10 touchdowns in earning first-team All-AAC and second-team All-American honors.
While the 6-foot-5, 204-pound Rice doesn’t possess blazing speed — he ran a 4.51-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine — he does bring experience and versatility to Kansas City. Rice played 44 games over four seasons for SMU and played in both the slot and outside, excellent preparation for joining a Reid offense that places a premium on receivers who can fill multiple roles.
When asked with he believes he brings to Kansas City, Rice said Chiefs fans are getting a playmaker.
“(I’m) somebody that really wants to be a part of the Chiefs program, Chiefs kingdom,” Rice said. “We’re going to go win another Super Bowl, there’s no doubt about it.”
The Chiefs moved up to No. 55 by sending their second-round selection (No. 63 overall), a fourth-rounder (No. 122) and a seventh-round pick (No. 249) to Detroit. The Chiefs also received a sixth-round choice (No. 194) in return from the Lions.
The Chiefs now hold nine selections in this year’s draft, which includes a third-round selection (No. 95) on Friday night and six selections on Saturday.
Scouting Report on Rashee Rice
With his ability to frame his catches, Rice times his leaps and wins jumps balls, leading the FBS with 18 catches of 20-plus air yards downfield in 2022. Though he makes tough catches look easy, he is also guilty of dropping some easy ones and will freelance at will. Overall, Rice must prove he has NFL-level consistency (in all areas) to compensate for his average speed, but he is a ball winner with natural instincts after the catch. He can be a quality contributor early in his NFL career.Dane Brugler, The Athletic
Talented but enigmatic receiver with game tape that shows a lack of consistency and impressive ball skills. Rice has enough top-end speed to attack vertically but has a tendency for nonchalant running on intermediate routes and zone-beaters underneath. In one game you might see terrific ball-tracking and jump-ball victories followed by frustrating drops and a lack of physicality in fighting back on contested catches. The route inefficiencies can be cleaned up, but Rice must play with better consistency and urgency to find long-term NFL reps.Lance Zierlein, NFL Network