The week began with John Dixon outlining some of the things we learned from the weekend’s NFL Draft — including that the Kansas City Chiefs’ pre-draft trade for Orlando Brown Jr. might have been Plan A all along.
After Thursday night — when offensive tackle Teven Jenkins unexpectedly remained undrafted after the first round — it was possible to wonder if the Chiefs had made the wrong move by trading their first-round pick for Brown. Could it be that it would have been smarter to stand pat for Jenkins — or another tackle who might be available then or when they picked in the second round?
But with the whole draft in the rear-view mirror, we can see that Veach did exactly the right thing. Jenkins, Liam Eichenberg, Walker Little, Jackson Carman, Samuel Cosmi and Dillon Radunz were all gone well before the Chiefs’ 63rd pick. To get any of them, Veach would have had to trade up to earlier in the second — and given his history, I would completely understand why he might be reluctant to do that. As my colleague Matt Stagner has already noted, the Chiefs got good players in almost all of their positions of need — and their ability to do that started with trading for Brown.
Meeting with the press on Monday, the Chiefs’ general manager explained how the team had decided to target their new tight end.
So the combination of aggression and patience paid off for Veach, with an even-picks swap being more ideal than the alternative. The Chiefs were able to nab their target and keep a draft class of six, which has seemed to be a sweet spot in recent years.
Gray should provide the Chiefs with a legitimate No. 2 receiving option at tight end for the first time since Demetrius Harris departed for the Browns in 2019.
“That was a guy, again as soon as we selected Josh Kaindoh (at No. 144), we had our eyes locked on,” he said. “We called Josh and we welcomed him to the Kingdom, and as soon as we got off the phone, we were back in the draft room, on the phone, calling every team to see how we could flop picks with them to get back up there and get Noah.”
We also brought you the media appearance of Kansas City’s new wide receiver, in which he said that his college experience has prepared him for playing with the Chiefs.
“Being at Clemson, you have great players around you,” said Powell. “You just have to learn how to prove yourself each and every day. I had so much more to show to everyone. What I displayed this season was not even scratching the surface yet. I’m ready to come to Kansas City and just grind. Many of my brothers are in the NFL that I played with in that wide receiver room, and I’m so proud of them. I learned a lot from them at Clemson. We just had this Clemson mindset to just dominate everything, every play, every possession. I’m looking to continue that and just bring this winning attitude to Kansas City, which they already have, so it’s the perfect fit for me.”
Then on Tuesday, John took another shot at projecting Kansas City’s offensive line for the coming season — with one of the biggest changes in the middle of the line.
Center: Creed Humphrey
Before, I thought Austin Blythe would edge out Nick Allegretti for the starting job. Now, I’m wondering if Blythe will edge Allegretti out of a roster spot.
The Brown trade gave the Chiefs the option to use the 63rd overall pick to select one of the draft’s best interior offensive linemen. In our consensus ranking of the draft’s top prospects, Humphrey was ranked third behind Alijah Vera-Tucker and Landon Dickerson. The Chiefs even got a bit of a break: the San Francisco 49ers took seventh-ranked Aaron Banks with the 48th pick, while the Green Bay Packers selected eighth-ranked Josh Myers at 62.
It’s hard to imagine that Kansas City isn’t already penciling him in as the starter. As a rookie, you can never assume he’ll win the starting job — but I have to think it’s his job to lose.
On Tuesday, we covered ESPN writer Bill Barnwell’s seven proposed trades that could move the reigning MVP quarterback from the Green Bay Packers — to of them to division rivals.
Barnwell has the Broncos ranked first with this fairly complicated trade:
Packers get: CB Patrick Surtain II, WR Tim Patrick, QB Drew Lock, 2022 first-round pick, 2023 first-round pick
Broncos get: Rodgers, CB Eric Stokes
Then, he has the Raiders ranked sixth with this deal:
Packers get: QB Derek Carr, 2022 first-round pick, 2022 second-round pick, 2023 first-round pick
Raiders get: Rodgers, 2023 fourth-round pick
These trades sound like behavior we have become accustomed to seeing from two AFC West rivals: in the case of the Broncos, acquiring an aging superstar after being unable to find good quarterbacks in the draft — and in the case of the Raiders... well... simply doing Raider things.
On Wednesday, we learned that Denver Broncos tackle Ja’Wuan James had sustained a season-ending injury while away from the team facility — which could allow Denver to void his contract.
It is not known how much the union emphasized the contract risks players would be taking by conducting workouts outside team facilities. And it’s possible that the Broncos — as well as other teams that will soon be in similar situations — might choose not to enforce their right to void James’ deal.
If teams do nothing in these circumstances, it could set a precedent that the union could claim as a victory. As Conley noted — and Mahomes and Hill inferred — players may not be contractually obligated to do workouts outside their team facilities. Most, however, feel it is something that teams (and fans) expect.
But if teams exercise their rights to void player deals, it could take a lot of the energy out of the union’s boycott; some players may decide that participating in it just isn’t worth the risk to their livelihoods.
Then the Chiefs signed two veteran free agents. One was former Notre Dame wide receiver Chris Finke; the other was a former Broncos safety.
Parks will be 27 years old in July. He has played five seasons in the NFL; he was drafted by the Denver Broncos in the sixth round of the 2016 NFL Draft and remained on the team through the remainder of his rookie contract. As an unrestricted free agent in the 2020 offseason, Parks signed a one-year deal with the Philadelphia Eagles. He played in six games for them before the team released him following their Week 12 contest. He was claimed off waivers by the Broncos for the remainder of the season.
The 6-foot-1, 194-pound safety recorded 31 tackles, three tackles for loss and a sack in 2020. For his career, he’s totaled four interceptions, 13 passes defended, two forced fumbles, seven tackles for loss, and two sacks. His best statistical season came in 2018, when Parks nabbed an interception, defended four passes, forced a fumble and totaled 41 tackles.
There was another veteran signing on Thursday.
A five-year veteran, the 27-year-old Correa was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in the second round (42nd overall) in the 2016 NFL draft.
An outside linebacker at Boise State, the 6-foot-3, 241-pound Correa has been used both as a linebacker and edge rusher in the NFL. According to Pro Football Focus, the Ravens used him almost exclusively on the defensive line as a rookie — but in his sophomore season, they almost always lined him up in the second level of the defense.
The Ravens traded him to the Tennessee Titans in 2018. Over two and a half seasons there, Correa was used primarily as an edge rusher, but sometimes lined up in the box. Traded to the Jacksonville Jaguars in late October, he played in three games before ending his season on injured reserve with a hamstring injury. The Jaguars released him in February.
Then on Friday, we covered an ESPN article summarizing what NCAA coaches thought about the 2021 NFL Draft.
“For a while, everybody wanted big receivers, but here’s what you saw in this draft: Speed matters,” an SEC head coach said. “Tyreek Hill is a problem, and it may be a direct response to the Tyreek Hills of the world.”
A Big 12 coordinator added: “In space, what’s it matter if they’re 6-4?”
A Power 5 head coach said the New York Giants’ first-round pick of Florida’s Kadarius Toney (6-foot, 193 pounds) shows how the focus has shifted.
“Kadarius was a Wildcat guy. Kadarius was, ‘He’s in the game, get ready for fly sweep, or get ready for a trick play,’” the coach said. “He was an elite guy that way. But for a guy like that to go in the first round, I hadn’t seen that before. That’s the Tyreek Hill effect.”