Chiefs move up in 2nd round to snag SMU WR Rashee Rice

TCU SMU Football
Posted at 8:12 PM, Apr 28, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-29 01:01:26-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — For the second straight year and third time in the last four seasons, the Kansas City Chiefs snagged a wide receiver in the second round of the NFL Draft.

After swinging a trade with Detroit to move up eight spots, the Chiefs picked SMU wide receiver Rashee Rice with the No. 55 overall pick. He has some familiarity with two QBs already on the roster, Patrick Mahomes and former Mustangs teammate Shane Buechele.

“I actually ran a couple routes with Pat, did a couple training sessions with him (in Dallas),” Rice said. “... It was great. You can’t complain about anybody like him. He made me feel like I was one of the best in the world, putting the ball exactly where it needed to be.”

Mahomes called Rice after Kansas City moved up to draft him, but the newest weapon on the Chiefs’ offense had media and coaches to talk to so he said he’d have to call back the two-time MVP and Super Bowl-winning QB.

“When I get off here, I’m going to call him back,” Rice said. “I’m real excited about that.”

Rice caught 233 passes for 3,111 yards and 25 touchdowns in four seasons with the Mustangs, including 96 catches for 1,355 yards and 10 touchdowns as a senior last fall.

“Explosive, fast-twitch kid, really good with the ball after the catch,” Chiefs Assistant General Manager Mike Borgonzi said. “He’s like a running back after the catch. He can play inside, he can play outside — so the coaches will find a way to get him involved in the offense.”

He isn’t a burner, clocking a 4.51-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, but he boasts a 41-inch vertical, which helps him win jump balls for contested catches deep downfield.

“Y’all getting a playmaker, y’all getting someone who really wants to be a part of the Chiefs program,” Rice said. “Chiefs Kingdom, man, we’re all going to win another Super Bowl. No doubt about it.”

Rice led the Football Bowl Subdivision with 18 catches more than 20 yards downfield, a testament to his ball skills.

“He’ll go up and get the football and once he catches the ball, he’s violent,” Borgonzi said.

The Chiefs traded their natural second-round pick (No. 63 overall), a fourth-round pick from the Tyreek Hill trade (No. 122 overall) and one of their seventh-round picks (No. 249 overall) to the Lions for the No. 55 pick and a sixth-round pick (No. 194 overall).

"Heading into this night here, we were targeting some wide receivers and Rashee was our guy, so we went up and got him. That was really it."

Rice — a 6-foot-1, 205-pound prospect from the Dallas-Fort Worth area — had nine drops last season, but he’s an aggressive blocker on the edge and plays with toughness.

“That comes from loving the game I’m playing,” Rice said. “There’s not only one part to the game. You can catch the ball, but when the running back’s got the ball in his hands you’ve got to block, too. I just do my job all around.”

Rice started his college career as a slot receiver at SMU, but moved outside for his final season and said he’s comfortable with either position.

Asked who he models his game after, Rice said, “I’d probably say DeAndre Hopkins just because we both attack the ball real aggressive and you never know what we can do with the balls in our hands.”

Rice played two seasons at SMU with Buechele.

“I talked to him the whole time during the draft process and ran routes with him as well,” Rice said, “He called me as soon as my name got called on the TV. That’s my guy. I know we’re going to have a great connection. We’re just ready to make some plays like we did at SMU.”