He worked out with Mahomes. After being drafted, the new Chiefs receiver got a phone call from him.

SMU wide receiver Rashee Rice (11) runs with the ball against Houston during the second half of...
SMU wide receiver Rashee Rice (11) runs with the ball against Houston during the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021, in Houston. (AP Photo/Justin Rex)(JUSTIN REX | AP)
Published: Apr. 29, 2023 at 11:17 AM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes spent some time before the NFL draft throwing passes to several prospects at his training base in Texas, and one of them was flashy SMU wide receiver Rashee Rice.

Turns out he will be throwing passes to Rice for a while.

The Chiefs traded up to get him in the second round Friday night, adding a physical and versatile talent to a rebuilt group of wide receivers. The Chiefs lost JuJu Smith-Schuster and Mecole Hardman in free agency, and Rice will be counted upon to help last year’s second-round pick, Skyy Moore, and Kadarius Toney form the backbone of this year’s group of receivers.

“I actually ran a couple of routes with Pat, did a couple of training sessions with him. He actually called me while coach was on the phone,” Rice said after the pick. “I’m going to call him back. I’m real excited about that.”

What was it like catching passes from the league’s MVP?

“It was great. You can’t complain about anybody like him,” Rice said with a big grin. “He made me feel like I was running the best routes in the world, putting it exactly where it needed to be.”

The Chiefs acquired the 55th pick along with a sixth-round selection from Detroit to move up from the No. 63 pick while kicking in fourth-round and seventh-round choices. That allowed the Super Bowl champions to leap other teams looking for a wide receiver and address one of their biggest holes on the offensive side of the ball.

“Wherever coach feels like I can make a play,” Rice said, “I’m there. It doesn’t matter to me.”

Later in the night, the Chiefs traded up again — sending No. 95 and a sixth-round pick to Cincinnati for No. 92 — and landed Wanya Morris, a bruising offensive tackle from Oklahoma who could become an immediate starter.

Rice was a four-year contributor at Rice, and he probably could have declared for the draft after his junior season, but the Mustangs were losing wide receiver Danny Gray and tight end Grant Calcaterra. The ability to step into a bigger role during his senior season, along with polishing his game, convinced Rice to spend one more season at SMU.

He proceeded to catch 96 passes for 1,335 yards and 10 touchdowns last season.

“I think it was worth it 100%,” Rice said. “I improved everywhere.”

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