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KC Native Felix Anudike-Uzomah on Joining the Chiefs: "It's a Dream Come True"

Anudike-Uzomah went to nearby Lee’s Summit High School

If the excitement that took place in downtown Kansas City on Thursday night was akin to a Hollywood script, the grand finale was a masterclass in storytelling.

Indeed, three cosmic events converged as the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft concluded. Not only was the draft taking place in Kansas City, but the event's host – the Kansas City Chiefs – were picking last as the reigning Super Bowl champions, and on top of that, their selection was none other than a Kansas City native in defensive end Felix Anudike-Uzomah.

An alum of Lee's Summit High School and an admitted lifelong Chiefs fan, the moment was understandably a big one for the 21-year-old edge rusher.

"I got drafted by literally my favorite team growing up, so it's just definitely a dream come true," said Anudike-Uzomah, who attended his first Chiefs game when he was seven years old. "I remember me and my friends going up to training camp just to watch [tight end Travis] Kelce and the Chiefs play. It's coming full circle, which is crazy and it's unbelievable that I'm even in this position now. I'm a Kansas City Chief."

It's an undeniably wholesome story for a player deserving of this moment. Anudike-Uzomah was lightly recruited out of high school and didn't receive an offer from Kansas State until two days before early signing day. He committed on the spot, and after appearing in just six games as a freshman, the 6-foot-5, 255-pound pass-rusher erupted on the scene the following year.

Anudike-Uzomah racked up 14.5 tackles-for-loss, a team-most 11 sacks and an FBS-most six forced fumbles in 13 games in 2021, earning All-Big 12 honors. He then compiled an encore season as a junior, winning Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year in 2022 after tallying 11 tackles-for-loss, 8.5 sacks and two forced fumbles.

It was an immensely productive two years, and at just 21 years old, Anudike-Uzomah still has plenty of room to get better.

"He was one of the younger guys in the draft – I think he just turned 21 – and he's done nothing but grow and develop throughout the last couple of years," said General Manager Brett Veach. "We're excited for [Defensive Coordinator] Steve [Spagnuolo] and for [Defensive Line Coach] Joe Cullen to get their hands on him now and continue that growth and trajectory uphill, but again, anytime you can add a premium position and one of the youngest players in the draft, it's something we're excited about."

Veach explained that Anudike-Uzomah was the top player remaining on the Chiefs' board, and while they had offers on the table to trade out of the first round, he ultimately couldn't pass up the opportunity to add the former Kansas State star.

"He was the top guy [left on our board]. We did have some calls, [but] it's a situation where you have a guy that is clearly the top guy left, and the calls that we had were [moving us back to the] mid‐40s," Veach said. "So, we thought let's not get cute here. There's a guy we like [at a] position that we need, and we'll just go ahead and make the pick. We're certainly glad that we did."

Anudike-Uzomah brings a blend of power and speed to the Chiefs' defensive front, but perhaps his best quality is his flexibility and bend around the edge. Pro Football Focus wrote that Anudike-Uzomah was one of the "bendiest" defensive linemen in the entire class, which contributed to his ability to finish plays. In fact, of Anudike-Uzomah's 89 pressures over the last two seasons, 21 of them ended with sacks.

"[We're excited about his] motor and his relentless effort," Veach said. "Again, this guy had a ton of production at Kansas State as I mentioned, and he just turned 21, so a majority of this production was coming in a big time conference at 19 and 20 years old. I think there's a huge window for him to continue to grow and develop, and we're excited that we get him at this stage of his career with him being so young."

The Chiefs' relationship with Anudike-Uzomah grew throughout the pre-draft process, culminating in his presence at the organization's "local pro day" earlier this month, which invited prospects from the immediate region for an in-person evaluation at the Chiefs' facility.

"When you're picking right there at 31, you try to take the best player that's available to you on the board, and he was that guy," said Head Coach Andy Reid. "[He's] a great kid. I had a chance to hang with him here during our local pro day, and I enjoyed talking with him and visiting with him."

Reid went on to explain that he believes Anudike-Uzomah can come in and contribute right away, adding that he can play in both passing and running situations. He'll need to earn those opportunities, and there's a long way to go between now and the regular season, but at least so far, Anudike-Uzomah's career couldn't be off to a better start.

"Tomorrow, I'm going to probably wake up and check my phone to make sure I'm still on the Kansas City Chiefs," Anudike-Uzomah said. "It's honestly surreal."

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