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Late-Round Picks Made the Difference for the Chiefs Last Season

The 2023 NFL season ended with the Kansas City Chiefs winning their second consecutive Super Bowl title. Winning three Vince Lombardi Trophies in the last five seasons makes them the latest NFL dynasty. However, their success can be attributed to the players who heard their names on the third day of the NFL Draft or didn’t hear it at all.

An interesting stat shared by MLFootball says that Day 3 selections and undrafted players participated in 48 percent of all snaps last season. Based on this number, Chiefs starting running back Isiah Pacheco falls into place because he was a seventh-round selection. Meanwhile, wide receiver Justin Watson is a fifth-round pick, and Nikko Remigio went undrafted in 2023.

Tight ends Blake Bell (4th round) and Noah Gray (5th round) are both third-day selections, while Jody Fortson was undrafted in 2019.

In the offensive line, they found Trey Smith in the sixth round, while Mike Caliendo was an undrafted free agent in 2022. Meanwhile, defensive linemen Mike Danna, Neil Farrell Jr., Malik Herring, B.J. Thompson, Charles Omenihu, and Tershawn Wharton were either undrafted or were selected as early as the fourth round.

Drue Tranquill is a fourth-round pick. His fellow linebackers, Cole Christiansen, Jack Cochrane, and Cam Jones, were undrafted in the 2020, 2022, and 2023 drafts. As for their secondary, only Justin Reid and Trent McDuffie were selected before Day 3 out of all their defensive backs.

In special teams, long snapper James Winchester is undrafted, while placekicker Harrison Butker is a seventh-round selection. While players like Patrick Mahomes, Creed Humphrey, Travis Kelce, and Chris Jones are instrumental to their success, the Chiefs couldn't complete the championship mission without those who waited longer for their NFL dream to come true.

-Lance Fernandez

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