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Brett Veach has climbed the NFL’s general manager rankings over the years

Is the Chiefs’ head personnel man “underrated” at No. 2?

NFL: Combine Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Over the past six years, writer Gregg Rosenthal has ranked the league’s decision-makers in his general manager power rankings. As mentioned in Friday morning’s “Arrowheadlines,” Rosenthal was especially kind to Kansas City Chiefs general manager Brett Veach in this year’s edition, in which Veach took second place.

ROSENTHAL: Veach won a title while re-tooling. He made the correct call to replace a foundational player in Tyreek Hill last offseason with a raft of inexpensive draft picks to build the next five years of Chiefs squads. 2022 first-rounders Trent McDuffie and George Karlaftis impacted the team’s Super Bowl-winning campaign, while running back Isiah Pacheco was a revelation as a seventh-rounder. The Chiefs also let corner Charvarius Ward walk last offseason, then got significant contributions from rookies Jaylen Watson and Joshua Williams . Extracting cost-effective, excellent production out of the secondary has been part of Veach’s secret sauce.

This is all made possible by Patrick Mahomes, but Veach gets credit for drafting Mahomes in 2017 in the first place. Echoing how the Patriots built a dynasty around Tom Brady, Veach hasn’t been afraid to say goodbye to big names like Orlando Brown Jr., Eric Fisher, Tyrann Mathieu and Frank Clark. Veach has filled in the gaps with creative solutions, like trading for receiver Kadarius Toney last season, and forward-thinking picks, like the selection of linebacker Nick Bolton in the second round two years ago. And while Brown, again, is gone, 2021’s interior offensive line overhaul (featuring free agent Joe Thuney and drafted players Creed Humphrey and Trey Smith) has aged like fine beef.

Rosenthal ranked Philadelphia Eagles general manager Howie Roseman above Veach. Cincinnati’s Duke Tobin ranked third, followed by the Buffalo Bills’ Brandon Beane and Sean McDermott in fourth place and the San Francisco 49ers John Lynch and Kyle Shannahan rounding out the top five.

Veach’s climb has been swift — although he had been ranked No. 2 once before: in a special edition following the Chiefs Super Bowl LIV win. Though there was a critical difference, however: that year, Rosenthal listed Veach with head coach Andy Reid in parentheses, noting that were “multiple people who believe that ‘Big Red’ remains the biggest voice in Chiefs personnel, no matter his title.” 2023’s edition includes no mention of Reid.

Veach’s ranking over the years

  • 2018: not ranked — listed among “relative newbies” but complimented for Tamba Hali release and orchestrating trade of Alex Smith.
  • 2019: not ranked — listed among “relative newbies” with Rosenthal mentioning it’s hard to tell whether Veach or Dorsey deserves the credit.
  • 2020: No. 2 (listed with Andy Reid) — credited with finding Patrick Mahomes, adding Juan Thornhill in the Draft, trading for Frank Clark and keeping Sammy Watkins at a reduced price.
  • 2021: No. 10 — in a “draft edition” of the rankings, Veach was listed without Reid, noting his best pick, Mahomes, and his worst pick, Breeland Speaks. Veach was complimented for finding role players such as Rashad Fenton, Mecole Hardman and L’Jarius Sneed but dinged for not finding enough.
  • 2022: No. 6 — just as fast as GMs rise, they can also fall. In this edition, No. 5 to No. 1 went Tampa Bay (5), Green Bay (4), Pittsburgh (3), Los Angeles Rams (2) and Buffalo (1). An easy case can now be made that Kansas City is in better shape than all those clubs a year later. Rosenthal compliments Veach on Mahomes and signing Tyrann Mathieu but changes his tune on Clark, criticizing both that trade and the first-round pick of Clyde Edwards-Helaire.

My take

I understand Rosenthal wants to credit Philadelphia’s Roseman for using “every avenue,” and he is unarguably in the top five for finding quarterback Jalen Hurts and establishing a fantastic team around him.

But here’s the thing: Hurts needs a contract extension this offseason — something Veach took care of three seasons ago. In the results that followed, Kansas City finished with an AFC championship (2020), a loss in the AFC title game (2021) and a Super Bowl title (2022). What Roseman has done is impressive, but he has more to prove after the rookie quarterback contract.

The Chiefs wouldn’t have won the Super Bowl without Veach’s draft class of 2022 (which led to a six-sack pass rusher, three starting cornerbacks and a burst-on-the-scene round-seven running back). The general manager held up the Lombardi Trophy at Union Station, citing that is what a rebuilding year looks like — in my estimation, the best moment of parade day. Forget any bias here; Veach is objectively underrated at No. 2.

What do you think?


General manager Brett Veach should be ranked...

This poll is closed

  • 88%
    No. 1
    (1667 votes)
  • 8%
    No. 2
    (156 votes)
  • 3%
    Lower than No. 2
    (58 votes)
1881 votes total Vote Now

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