2023 mock NFL Draft 2.0: Fallout from free agency wave and NFL Combine

The 2022 NFL Draft logo Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
The 2022 NFL Draft logo Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /
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Calijah Kancey, Pittsburgh Panthers, 49ers
Calijah Kancey #8 of the Pittsburgh Panthers (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) /

31. player. 866. . Defensive Tackle. Panthers . Calijah Kancey

On the clock: NFL Draft Pick No. 31: Kansas City Chiefs – Calijah Kancey, Defensive Tackle, Pittsburgh

Mock Draft 1.0 – Darnell Wright, Offensive Tackle, Tennessee

Chris Jones is elite, but the Kansas City Chiefs could use help next to him at defensive tackle. Calijah Kancey has turned heads more than almost any defensive player coming into the draft and has drawn some comparisons to Aaron Donald.

I’ve written before about my love of Kancey as a prospect. Not only did Kancey measure in at the combine bigger and heavier than expected (6-foot-1 and 281 pounds, both more than his collegiate measurements by an inch and a pound respectively) but he also shattered the drills and showed exactly what he can do.

Kancey had 31 tackles (including 14.5 tackles for loss) and 7.5 sacks this season for Pittsburgh. These stats weren’t a fluke either, as he had 33 tackles including 13 tackles for loss and seven sacks in 2021.

Sure, Kancey will get a bit of flak from those who don’t see him as tall enough to be a prototypical defensive tackle, but Donald had the same critics eating those words as he became one of the best interior defenders we’ve ever seen. Kancey, however, looks like a legitimate force who could prove to be one of the steals of the draft.