Much has been made about the fact that general manager Brett Veach and the Kansas City Chiefs selected nearly all defensive players over the weekend in the 2018 NFL Draft.
The only offensive player selected, offensive lineman Kahlil McKenzie, is a transition project after he played defensive tackle at Tennessee.
Other than McKenzie, the Chiefs selected two defensive backs, two linebackers and a player in Derrick Nnadi they plan to keep at defensive tackle.
From afar, one would wonder if it was the Chiefs’ intention all along to go full defense, but Veach said that wasn’t the case during a conference call with the local Kansas City media Monday morning.
“I can’t sit here and say that I just wanted to go into the draft and draft defense, defense, defense,” Veach explained. “I knew we had to get better on defense; I knew we had to get tougher and I kind of said that the night before. I knew one thing that I really wanted to make sure I left the draft with someone that can affect the passer, and that’s where Breeland (Speaks) came into play.”
The Chiefs traded from No. 54 up to No. 46 in the second round to take Speaks, their first pick of the draft.
“Breeland was a guy we had targeted at 54, and then when the names start peeling off and you saw what was behind Breeland on our board, there was really no one that we thought matched his skill set,” he added. “That’s why were aggressive to get him and that’s why we made the move—just because we knew the odds of Breeland being there at 54 were not very good. Very low in our opinion.”
Veach said the closest the Chiefs probably came to selecting a true offensive player was the fourth round, but they had safety Armani Watts rated very high and were unwilling to pass him up.
“We didn’t anticipate Armani Watts falling that low, so had Armani Watts been selected with a third-round pick or an early fourth when we were on the board, that pick could have very well been on offense,” he said. “Then you get to the situation where Armani is still there and we’re at (round) 4, (pick) 124, we can’t pass this up now. This guy’s a really good player and we had some really good grades on this guy.”
Entering the draft, the Chiefs intended to get better defensively, but the eventual results of nearly all defensive picks were unplanned.
“We knew we wanted to get better on defense, but we also were very aware of where the values were and to not bypass good players.”