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Host-city Chiefs white-knuckle 2023’s first-round pick: ‘We got to have a one’

Kansas City GM Brett Veach is keeping his 2023 first-round pick under lock and key.

Minnesota Vikings v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images

The Kansas City Chiefs continue their preparations for 2023’s NFL Draft Week.

Barely exhaling from a critical 2022 draft in Las Vegas, Chiefs brass spoke on turning the page to next season’s spring spectacle.

“We’re certainly extremely excited about the draft next year,” general manager Brett Veach told reporters via Zoom on Tuesday.

Veach said that Kansas City owner, chairman and CEO Clark Hunt is so excited about the “tremendous event,” that he proposed a makeshift war room in Union Station — which will be Ground Zero for the NFL’s Draft Experience.

“I think one of the greatest things that the [league] has done in recent years is moving the draft around and letting different cities host it each year,” said Hunt on Friday.

“I think Kansas City is going to do a tremendous job,” he added. “We’ve got a great setting, near downtown with Union Station. It’ll be fun to be where we were for the Super Bowl parade. That’ll bring back some good, good memories for this organization.”

Just the night before, Hunt’s Chiefs had selected two first-round defensive players for the first time in franchise history. Nielsen estimates nearly 10 million people watched the event on ESPN’s family of networks, with hundreds of thousands more taking part in the party along the Las Vegas Strip.

“The number of eyeballs that will be watching the draft over those three days will be tremendous,” concluded Hunt.

With that in mind, Kansas City is openly guarding next year’s first-round draft pick.

“The only thing Clark [Hunt] told me was you can’t trade next year’s one,” laughed Veach. Kansas City’s head honcho is known for making deals, flipping a 2021 first-rounder for Pro Bowl left tackle Orlando Brown Jr.

Veach and his staff executed a pair of trade-ups in the 2022 draft, including one that moved the Chiefs eight spots up in the first round to snag a possible Day 1 starter: Washington cornerback Trent McDuffie. But neither move jeopardized next year’s golden egg.

“I certainly went in with that mindset that I couldn’t move the one,” admitted the Chiefs’ GM.

“I said, ‘I get it,’” Veach said of his conversation with the team’s owner. “[But] I did remind him: Vegas is not using one or two. So you know... it’s been done just this year.”