More than a month after the Kansas City Chiefs made the franchise-altering move to trade wide receiver Tyreek Hill, the team's supporters were quite eager to hear a wide receiver called in the NFL Draft.
That energy was sustained all the way through Round 1 (as the Chiefs took two defensive players), spilling into Day 2 and Round 2.
That’s when the unthinkable happened.
With Georgia’s George Pickens still on the board, Brett Veach made the first trade-down of his general managing career.
“It was exciting,” Veach said with a smile in his post-Day 2 press conference. “I told Clark (Hunt) — everything checked off of my to-do list, and the only thing I left was a trade-down, so it was a special moment, and we took a little time to celebrate that.”
For the second straight day, the Chiefs found a trade partner in the New England Patriots, this time giving them their pick at No. 50 and moving back four slots to No. 54 while gaining a fifth-rounder.
“We were in the mindset that, if we can get a fifth-round pick and be active [Saturday] in between 4 and 7, that would be something we’d be interested in,” explained Veach. “It kind of worked out perfectly where we were cool with a small move — nothing crazy — and it just made sense.”
Three of the next four picks were receivers — the Patriots selected Baylor’s Tyquan Thorton, the Pittsburgh Steelers selected Pickens, and then the Indianapolis Colts selected Cincinnati’s Alec Pierce.
Left on the board was Western Michigan’s Skyy Moore, who the Chiefs took with pick No. 54.
“It was a nice setup for us to move down four spots, get that fifth-round pick [for Saturday] and then to get a guy in Skyy Moore that we obviously would have taken there at 50,” said Veach. “It worked out, and you have to hold your breath there. They’re going to begging me to trade back all the time now, so that’s a good and a bad thing, I guess, all at once.”
“I get paired with the best quarterback in football.”
Veach picked up the phone and called Moore, who was waiting to hear from him at quite the draft party.
“Skyy is unique,” said Veach, now describing the 5-foot-10, 195-pound receiver. “He’s smaller, but he plays big. He has longer arms. He was a running back that transtioned to wideout. It was funny watching his tape because it seemed like we were watching it forever until he dropped a pass. His ball skills are great. He can get off press coverage. He plays big enough where you can utilize him on the outside, utilize him on the inside, got great run after the catch, great kid. Smart. Pick up an offense real quick.”
Moore isn’t as fast as Hill, coming in just a tick slower with a 4.41 40-yard dash, but the Chiefs fell in love with his reliability, which seems to be a staple among their new pass-catchers.
The Chiefs also appreciate his ability to absorb instruction, a key as a receiver entering the Andy Reid offense.
“He’s dependable,” said assistant general manager Mike Borgonzi. “He’s going to run the right routes. He’s going to run them right, and he’s going to catch the ball. I think that’s the one thing you always stress with the wide receivers is — the first thing is catch the football. And that’s the one thing that’s stood out with Skyy is any opportunity — contested catches, he was catching the football. And for a guy who is undersized, he was fearless coming across the middle. So all the those things kind of stood out to us and we felt as though he’s going to be a really productive player in our offense.”
“Tyreek was just a super versatile, obviously super fast guy,” said Moore when asked about the inevitable comparison to the former Chief. “[He] just was able to be the spark for that offense when you needed it. I really honestly feel like I can come in and take that same role but just have my own twist on it. And be able to be the best teammate I can be.”
Moore’s best fit may be working in the slot, accumulating yards after the catch. In his final year in college football, he had 95 receptions for 1,292 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Veach believes he brings something different to the table than Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Mecole Hardman and JuJu Smith-Schuster.
“I think there are times that maybe you’re looking for something, but we have guys like MVS that has some size and speed,” explained Veach. “Mecole has speed. JuJu’s big, so I feel like we have a good combination, and now we just want to add the best player regardless of size or height — just guys that we feel are going to be able to come in and contribute right away. Certainly, Skyy’s one of those guys.”
Moore appreciates the room he is entering — not only because of his fellow receivers but also the quarterback. The Western Michigan product explained that he couldn’t be joining a better situation in the National Football League.
“I feel like he’s the best quarterback in football,” Moore said of Patrick Mahomes. “He’s the best quarterback in football right now. Like I said, it’s a blessing to just be able to be on that team. There’s 32 teams in the NFL, and I get paired with the best quarterback in football. It’s just a blessing.”
The funny thing is Moore never expected to hear from the Chiefs, as he was more aggressively pursued by the Buffalo Bills and Jacksonville Jaguars. Moore had spoken to the Chiefs at the Scouting Combine but didn’t necessarily feel he would land in Kansas City.
“It was really just the normal conversation,” he recalled. “It made sense. I always knew the pick would make sense. But it was never any special treatment from the Chiefs... they weren’t pressing me the hardest as far as the Zoom call or the visits and everything. I’d say now it’s a blessing to be a part of such a great organization.”
All along, the Chiefs wanted the player — a former running back who had shown nice progress the last three years as he learned the receiver position.
“It’s impressive to see what he’s done here in the past three seasons,” added Borgonzi. “He had a monster year last year...The one thing you just see with him — he’s dependable. He’s a really smooth route runner — gets in and out of his breaks really quick and he’s going to be a really good asset to this offense.”