KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Chiefs ended the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft by keeping a great talent at home.
Kansas State and Lee’s Summit High alum Felix Anudike-Uzomah was picked 31st overall by his hometown team on Thursday night.
Anudike-Uzomah has many memories of going to Chiefs games and training camp practices; he remembers watching a 6-8 Chiefs team beat the reigning Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers to end their undefeated season in 2011.
He also has memories of going to training camp to watch tight end Travis Kelce.
And now he will be donning the jersey he has watched his whole life.
“It’s coming full circle, which is crazy and it’s unbelievable that I’m in this position, that I’m a Kansas City Chief. So definitely gonna celebrate with my family and everything else,” he said.
Surrounded by family and friends in Lee’s Summit on Thursday night, the 21-year-old shared his special moment with fellow K-State teammate Deuce Vaughn, who is expected to hear his name called at running back during the draft.
Enjoying his anonymity before being selected, the 6’4″, 255-pound defensive end and Vaughn toured the draft at Union Station.
“Nobody knew who I was. It was funny. I went to go see the big crowd. I have a picture of it actually. It’s so real. I had a picture of it and, uh, nobody knew where it was. I was just saying, what’s up to everybody,” he recounted.
“Everybody’s like, ‘what’s up, what’s up, what’s up?’ So if I go back now, they’re probably like, ‘whoa, no way.’ So I got the experience. It was very genuine.”
The former Wildcat earned third-team AP All-American and Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year honors with team highs of 11 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks this past season helping lead KSU to its first Big 12 title in over a decade.
Motor, relentless effort and production were some of Anudike-Uzomah’s traits that general manager Brett Veach pointed out.
As the draft unfolded, the Chiefs had options to trade up or trade down into the second round. Veach said the price to trade up was too steep and some teams would not trade with the defending Super Bowl champions.
Ultimately, they stuck it out at 31st overall and gave a promising edge rusher a chance to play for the team he grew up watching.
“We love his ability to rush the passer and play the run. He does both very well,” head coach Andy Reid said.
“You’re picking right there at 31 and you try to take the best player that’s available to you on the board, and he was that guy, and so we feel very comfortable bringing him into our program.”
“Anytime you can add a premium position, one of the youngest players in the draft and have that to work with for a long time is something we’re excited about,” Veach said.
Vaughn’s father Chris, who is a scout for the Dallas Cowboys, gave Anudike-Uzomah advice about if he was ready to go to the NFL. Felix took that advice and made up his mind that if he played well in 2022 that he would enter the draft.
Now he has a storybook opening to the start of his NFL career.
“Tomorrow I’m gonna probably wake up and check my phone and make sure that I’m still on the Kansas City Chiefs,” he said.
“It’s honestly surreal and I’m glad to be a part of the Chiefs. I’m proud to be part of a winning culture. Glad to be a part of Andy Reid and everything else. And I thank Veach so much for even having me on the Kansas City Chiefs.”