This Thursday night marks the beginning of the NFL Draft, the first for Brett Veach in his tenure as Kansas City Chiefs general manager.
While we can’t know with 100 percent certainty what a Brett Veach draft looks like for the obvious reason that he’s never run one before, the past eight months or so have provided us with some ideas.
I joined 610 Sports’ Jay Binkley and Henry Lake, as well as The Kansas City Star’s Terez Paylor Monday night to discuss all things Veach leading up to this point.
Veach recently held his predraft press conference, and three quotes stood out to me that may paint a picture of what to expect from him this draft weekend.
“I have a group of guys up there who are worried that I’m going to be too aggressive, so I’m glad I have those guys. Everyone does this, and we’ve done this the last five years, you go through mock drafts just like you see online. We kind of just play that game ourselves in regards to what do we do if, or what about if this guy slides. I think every scenario had me trading up and my guys were like, ‘We have a lot of good picks here.’ I think I’ll have a good group of guys helping me out there.”
Trading up, every scenario!
Though this is a surprising quote, I’m not necessarily sure Veach’s nature here is all that surprising. We’ve seen and heard about aggressiveness from Veach since he took over as general manager in July of 2017.
The first thing Veach said he did as general manager was call about linebacker Anthony Hitchens and wide receiver Sammy Watkins. They are now Chiefs. Veach signed cornerback Darrelle Revis, stole kicker Harrison Butker and moved on from two of the most well-known linebackers of the past decade. He traded the starting quarterback and one of the best cornerbacks in football.
Of course, he’s trading up every time. Hold ‘em back!
This will be a different draft than the ones under John Dorsey.
“I don’t know if I can put my finger on anything, but I know as a staff we continue to evaluate ourselves and evaluate the draft and the pockets of players and where they go and being smart about things. One thing I’ve probably noticed over the last three or four years is when you see a guy, get him. You don’t always have to acquire picks. Sometimes I think the draft equity is the most valuable asset you have, but also another valuable asset you have is your ability to evaluate talent and be confident in guys. That’s where I think my aggressiveness comes in. Sometimes if you trade back there, are guys on the board that you feel better about? I think we’ll operate with that mindset.”
Former Chiefs general manager John Dorsey loves his draft picks.
Remember what happened when Dorsey didn’t like how the board played out back in 2016? The Chiefs traded their first-rounder to the San Francisco 49ers in order to acquire more picks.
We’ve already watched Veach trade a fifth-rounder for a former first-rounder in offensive lineman Cam Erving and a fourth-rounder for linebacker Reggie Ragland in maybe his best move to date as Chiefs GM.
“Every evaluator is different just by their personality and how they see things,” Veach also said during the same presser.
A mindset in mind.
“I think you saw it with our free agency approach and with Anthony Hitchens and back to Reggie Ragland. We are looking for guys that bring a temperament with them. Tough football players, guys that love the process. Guys that want to be a member of the Kingdom.”
I wrote an article about Veach and the word “mindset” back in late March. The short of it is this—during the Hitchens opening presser, he used the word eight times.
Veach’s mindset for what the Chiefs are to be in 2018 exists right now, before a player’s name is to be called on Thursday or Friday. And the aforementioned quote is the gist of it.
We don’t yet know who the future Chiefs will be, but what we do know is that they will match that mindset.
This segment was from a longer version of an hour-long predraft podcast featuring Binkley, Lake and Paylor, which you may find at this link. It’s a great listen that will get you prepared for this weekend.