What Kind of Player Can Chiefs Expect to Find at No. 31?

What Kind of Player Can Chiefs Expect to Find at No. 31?
Fact Checked by Michael Peters

When the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs send up their pick at No. 31 while hosting the 2023 NFL Draft in their hometown, they will hope it’s a player who can extend their championship window.

With two titles in the past four years and three Super Bowl appearances for 27-year-old Patrick Mahomes, choosing wisely in the NFL Draft will keep the Chiefs atop the NFL.

Kansas City will be hosting the draft at Union Station from April 27-29, and it gets to pick No. 31 instead of No. 32 thanks to the Dolphins losing their first-round pick. So what kind of talent is normally available at that spot?

 
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BetKansas.com utilized Pro-Football-Reference.com to research the past 10 picks at No. 31 in the NFL Draft to see which players have become reliable players and which ones have not by using the site’s Approximate Value totals.

With no legal sports betting in Missouri, Kansas sports betting could get a boost from visitors who hop the border during this year’s draft.

While the Chiefs are at the back of the draft, Carolina holds the No. 1 pick. BetMGM Sportsbook Kansas lists Alabama quarterback Bryce Young as the overwhelming favorite to go the Panthers at -1400.

 

Best Picks at No. 31 in Past 10 Years

Year Player, Position Team Career Starts Approximate Value*
2013Travis Frederick, CDallas9660
2019Kaleb McGary, OTAtlanta6230
2014Bradley Roby, CBDenver6029

Worst Picks at No. 31 in Past 10 Years

Year Player, Position Team Career Starts Approximate Value*
2022Daxton Hill, DBCincinnati22
2020Jeff Gladney, CBMinnesota165
2015Stephone Anthony, LBNew Orleans2011
* — Pro-Football-Reference.com assigns an Approximate Value in an attempt to put a single number on the seasonal value of a player at any position for every player based on how they perform each season.

 
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Late First Round Features DBs

Defensive backs have been the most popular pick with three in that slot in the past 10 years, while two linebackers and two offensive linemen were taken. There also was one defensive end, one defensive tackle and one running back selected at No. 31.

Kansas sports betting apps expect Illinois’ Devon Witherspoon to be the first defensive back taken in the draft at -200 odds. Oregon’s Christian Gonzalez is second on the list at +150, while Joey Porter Jr. of Penn State is third on the board at +2000.

The Chiefs need protection for Mahomes, so going with offensive line help would be the way to go and the best players at No. 31 from the past 10 years have played that position.

Cowboys center Travis Frederick out of Wisconsin was drafted in 2013, and he’s the only player from that spot in the past 10 years to be named All-Pro and play in the Pro Bowl.

Frederick started every game he played, but he missed the 2018 season with Guillain-Barre syndrome and then he retired after 2019 at the age of 29.

Offensive tackle Kaleb McGary has been a steady presence for the Atlanta Falcons since they took him at No. 31 in 2019. He has started 62 of 63 games and committed just 15 penalties while being in for 95, 89, 100 and 100 percent of his team’s plays in those games. Just four of his penalties have been for holding.

Ohio State’s Paris Johnson Jr. is the oddsmakers’ pick as the best offensive lineman in the 2022 Draft — make sure to use Kansas sportsbook promos if you want to bet him at his current -175 odds.

 
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Pick From 2022 Yet to Blossom

While the final verdict may read differently, last year’s 31st pick didn’t start very well. The Bengals took defensive back Daxton Hill out of Michigan, and he spent most of his time on special teams. He played in 15 games, but he allowed seven completions on eight passes thrown his way, and he only played on 14% of Cincinnati's defensive plays.

The only skill player taken at this spot in the past 10 years has been running back Sony Michel out of Georgia. He was taken by New England in 2018. While he’s rushed for 3,243 yards and has 20 total touchdowns rushing and receiving, he only spent three seasons with the Patriots, and he was a backup for the Los Angeles Chargers in 2022.

There have been two cautionary tales taken at No. 31. 

Cornerback Jeff Gladney out of TCU had a strong rookie season for Minnesota in 2020, starting 15 games and making 81 tackles. However, he was released after being indicted in a domestic violence case. He was found not guilty of the charge, signed with Arizona, but he and his girlfriend died in a car crash in Dallas before he could ever play for the Cardinals.

The other is San Francisco 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster out of Alabama in 2017. He made 16 starts over two seasons before getting released for his second legal issue. After being cleared, he signed with Washington, got hurt and never played there. He’s currently with the Pittsburgh Maulers of the USFL.

 
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Author

Douglas Pils has been a sports journalist for 30 years in Texas, Arkansas and New York having worked for the San Antonio Express-News, the Associated Press, The Dallas Morning News and Newsday. He most recently ran the Student Media Department at Texas A&M for eight years.

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