Kansas City Chiefs general manager Brett Veach held his annual pre-draft press conference on Thursday, which also marked his first availability since making two early-April acquisitions:
- April 1: In a trade, the Chiefs received defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah from the Cleveland Browns for safety Eric Murray.
- April 4: The Chiefs signed cornerback Keith Reaser after the AAF dissolved.
First, here are Veach’s comments on the trade for Ogbah:
“The Ogbah trade was a trade I think worked well for both John (Dorsey) and I,” Veach said. “When [the Browns] did the (Odell) Beckham trade, I think the safety (Jabrill Peppers) was involved in that, right? I think they let a safety go, so they were short on numbers and needed depth, and with us going to a 4-3 scheme, looking for a longer, taller defensive lineman, I think we could have used some depth as well. So I think that was a rare case where we both benefitted—them getting a depth-level safety and us getting a depth-level defensive lineman.”
Ogbah came to Kansas City motivated to make the most of the final year of his contract.
“I’m in my contract year, so I have that in my back pocket,” Ogbah said Monday. “I’m out here to give it my all and compete against the best. They brought in a lot of guys at my position so I’m just out here coming to compete.”
As far as the safety position goes, the Chiefs’ most significant offseason signing was undoubtedly Tyrann Mathieu, and Veach sounded comfortable letting Murray go with the rest of the group in house.
“I think having Dan (Sorensen) back and certainly the Honey Badger (Mathieu), I think (Jordan) Lucas is a guy that flashed last year and showed he could do some great things, and we’re really excited about Armani (Watts). He looked great coming in here for the offseason, and he’s another guy who we think could take a big step.”
As the Chiefs roster stands now, Mathieu and Sorensen appear to be the starters, with Lucas and Watts providing depth. Watts had core muscle surgery last October and should be 100 percent entering this season.
The Reaser signing
The Chiefs also brought back Keith Reaser after he showed out in the short-lived Alliance of American Football league. The Chiefs were the last NFL team Reaser played for before they released him with an injury settlement last September.
“It was unfortunate [Reaser] had that quad injury last year,” Veach said of Reaser. “I think he was a guy that was probably going to make our 90-man roster. He was a guy that we liked coming out of Florida Atlantic and he got hurt, didn’t go to the combine, and those guys are a little bit tricky in the draft because you don’t know if they’re going to get drafted at all or how late they’ll fall and putting a value on those guys is sometimes difficult.”
The 49ers took Reaser in the fifth round of the 2014 NFL Draft, and he spent three seasons in San Francisco before his release from the team in 2017. The Chiefs added him to the practice squad later that year.
“He flashed a little and looked like the old Reaser that was at Florida Atlantic, and then the Denver game when [Patrick Mahomes] started when Alex (Smith) was still here (Week 17 of 2017), [Reaser] started and had a pretty good game. We were excited about him and then he got hurt, but I think if he would have stayed healthy, he would have made our 90-man roster, and then he goes to the AAF and was one of the best players there. That’s a testament to him just to continue to work and we thought it made sense and he was familiar with us and we were familiar with him.”
Veach explained that though it didn’t last, the AAF was useful in getting Reaser back to the Chiefs.
“It was good to get that tape on Keith because he’s been hurt and he’s been out and just to see him out there performing at the level he did was good,” Veach said. “There have been a number of teams to make some acquisitions from that league. We have some guys that are still on our board from that league, but now we’re getting number-wise where I think as a GM you don’t want to put a kid in a bad situation.
“We have a 90-man roster and I don’t know what our exact number is, but once we get to a certain point, we’re going to factor in the draft selections and then typically what we add [are] undrafted free agents. So the last thing we want to do is bring five more guys in and then after the draft add too many guys, and then you’ve got to tell these guys, ‘Well we’ve got some younger guys, so you guys got to hit the road.’”
Veach added that the Chiefs would continue to add players they are confident will make the 90-man roster ahead of training camp.