The Kansas City Chiefs’ 2023 draft class has received mixed reviews, but analysts appear to be pretty hyped about one late-round pick in particular.
The Athletic’s draft expert Dane Brugler led the charge, calling seventh-round cornerback Nic Jones a prospect “who could surprise” at the NFL level.
“The Chiefs have an impressive recent track record of hitting on Day 3 cornerbacks, like L’Jarius Sneed, Joshua Williams and Jaylen Watson,” Brugler noted. “And Jones could be next in line. Still a young player, the Detroit native isn’t an elite size/speed athlete, but he uses his long arms to be disruptive at the catch point and stays controlled in his coverage movements. He has yet to play his best football.”
Last year, Watson was a huge factor for the Chiefs — especially early in the season after Trent McDuffie’s injury. Could Jones have a similar impact in 2023? At the very least, the potential sleeper gives KC great depth in a secondary that’s getting younger and younger every draft.
Chiefs CB Nic Jones Battled Back From Torn LCL ‘Like It Was the Super Bowl’
After waiting two years to start at Ball State, Jones’ opportunity was unfortunately taken from him by an LCL tear in 2021. Steve Helwick of SB Nation’s “Hustle Belt” detailed the moment of adversity with quotes from the young CB.
“All that progress came to a sudden halt when Jones tore his LCL in early October and missed the remainder of the season,” Helwick wrote. “The opportunity he patiently waited two years for suddenly diminished.”
Continuing: “Although he received an extra year of eligibility from the COVID-19-shortened 2020 season, Jones felt time was running out to prove NFL worthiness. After all, his career was limited to nine starts — two in 2019, one in 2020, and six in 2021. On top of that, he was faced with overcoming an injury and learning how to run and cut at a high level again.”
“The hardest part wasn’t the physical development,” Jones told Helwick during the interview. “It was the mental maturation. I had to slow down. I put a clock on my college career for so long — I wanted to be in and out in three years. After I got hurt and just rehabbing it back come January and February, I’m not even thinking declaring for the draft this coming November or December. I’m just thinking about how healthy I can get for spring ball in March. I approached every day like it was the Super Bowl.”
That’s the type of mentality that general manager Brett Veach and head coach Andy Reid look for in the draft.
Chiefs Sign UDFA CB Montrae Braswell
Kansas City also inked an undrafted cornerback by the name of Montrae Braswell out of Missouri State. Remember, Veach targeted undrafted wide receiver Ty Scott from MOSU on April 29 as well.
Missouri State Football congratulated the two success stories on Twitter, voicing: “Congrats to Bears NFL free agent signees Montrae Braswell and Ty Scott, both set to begin their pro careers with [the] @Chiefs! #OutHitOutHustle.”
NFL Draft Buzz listed Braswell at 6-foot, 190 pounds and projected him as a UDFA — which he was.
“In 2022 as a senior Braswell saw action in 11 games while playing 716 snaps,” they outlined. “He logged 38 tackles, 5 assists, and made 9 stops. In coverage Braswell had 5 pass breakups, no interceptions, and surrendered a QB rating when targeted of 110.4.”
According to NFL Draft Buzz, his strengths are his football awareness, balance and patience in space, length, athleticism and “natural ball skills.” They also noted that he’s “very good in zone coverage” with “great on route recognition” and “click-and-close ability.”
Braswell’s number one weakness appears to be press man coverage, as NFL Draft Buzz scouted that he “fails to maintain inside technique.” They also added that the Missouri State product “needs to develop a better understanding of route combinations and better overall vision.”