From a fan and media perspective, the NFL is a star league. From an executive perspective, it’s a roster league. While all eyes are on the Chiefs trio of Mahomes-Kelce-Jones, the truth is that this championship required contributions from much less celebrated and sometimes much-maligned players and coaches.
Many are waiting with anticipation regarding what will happen with the "big" contracts of guys like OBJ and Frank Clark. And while that is interesting, most casual fans are missing out on some brilliant moves Veach has already made. So if you want to go deeper into understanding how to build a dynasty from the one GM who’s doing it today, here’s a taste:
- Potential QB2 Chris Oladokun. No one wants anything to happen to 15, but this guy looks like Mahomes in terms of style of play. Gunslinger with confidence.
- RB depth La’Mical Perine. This kid played at Florida and was explosive. He could be a younger McKinnon-type back.
- Speedster WR John Ross. Unfortunately remembered as the guy picked right before Mahomes, this kid can fly. He will take the top off a defense. If teams start to cheat up to take away Pacheco and the underneath game, Ross will make them pay.
- Backup IOL Austin Reiter. I know he’s not shiny and new, but Reiter can play all 3 positions on the IOL competently. I’d love to have Allegretti back but my hunch is he’s going to be starting elsewhere. God willing, we won’t need him because we have 3 stud starters. But if something happens, it sure is nice to know we’ve got a solid veteran waiting. This doesn’t mean the Chiefs can’t draft someone in what looks to me like a deep class for IOL, particularly at center, but it means they don’t have to. They can go BPA.
- Tackling-machine LB Cole Christiansen. I think the Chiefs might be set with their top 5 LBs, but this guy could be a special teams ace "Toub guy" who forces KC to carry a 6th LB. Now they might find someone they like better in the draft and I’m good with that, but this is luxury depth we’re talking about. If he shows out in camp and the preseason, he might even be a trade candidate for a team missing LB depth. That’s a big win.
- DTs Danny Shelton and Danny Wise. I love my hog mollies! These guys aren’t going to battle Chris Jones for DT1 status, but they give the Chiefs NFL-caliber bodies right now to go out and train/play. IF we lose Nandi and Saunders and Williams AND draft no one and get no FAs or UDFAs, we could play a game with these guys and be competitive (with Wharton also coming back and Danna going inside on passing downs). That’s brilliant GMing.
In addition to these additions, there are also some guys who’ve been "hidden" on the Chiefs roster, IR, and/or practice squad who could be key contributors next year:
- OT trio Prince Tega Wangho, Lucas Niang, Darrian Kinnard. PTW has a similar career path to Wylie. OT in college, hardworking backup for years while he develops, chance to be a starter. Niang was "the best" OT Chase Young faced in college. Kinnard was 1st team all-SEC. I think OBJ is back next year. I doubt Wylie is. I don’t care. We have 3 young guys who could start today if they had to.
- WR Justyn Ross. This kid was the best receiver on Clemson’s championship team as a true freshman. If he’s ready to rock, the entire NFL is going to regret passing on him in last year’s draft.
- QB2-in-waiting Shane Buechele. There’s a reason he’s been on the roster. Henne is retiring. It’s Buechele’s job to lose. There are rumors of bringing in Wentz or another veteran. Maybe that happens, but it doesn’t have to. Having Buechele and Oladokun means the Chiefs can bring someone in if there’s a good deal out there or pass if there isn’t. (Full disclosure I’d love to see the Chiefs grab Stetson Bennett or Max Duggan around pick 200, but again, that’s a luxury.)
- DB Nazeeh Johnson. Lost in the CB shuffle and buried for a time as a Safety on the depth chart, this kid contributed on special teams down the stretch and could be a depth piece Swiss Army knife/honey badger type. If he can be ready to back up all 5 DB spots and crush it on special teams, that’s a special player.