clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Brett Veach on 53-man roster: Versatility key in decisions

Kansas City’s general manager wants to let talent play itself out.

NFL: Preseason-Cleveland Browns at Kansas City Chiefs Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Just days after many of the players on the fringes of the Kansas City ChiefsChiefs' roster went all-out during Saturday's preseason finale against the Cleveland Browns, they will have to wait and see if they will be one of the 53 players who will start 2023's regular season as members of the team.

Perhaps the only people whose anxiety will rival theirs will be the ones making the decisions: Kansas City's general manager, Brett Veach, and head coach Andy Reid. Neither of them is looking forward to the very tough task they must complete by 3 p.m. Arrowhead Time on Tuesday.

"This is the toughest day, when you have to make the cuts," Reid admitted to reporters after the game on Saturday. "Because these guys have busted their tails through the OTAs -- and then through training camp. Then they all can't be here, unfortunately."

However, this will not be the first time for either Reid or Veach. In his sixth full offseason, the young GM has developed some rules for roster building.

"Once we get down to the final cuts, it's position versatility and special teams that come into play," Veach explained to Ari Wolf and Trent Green during the broadcast of Saturday's game. "Looking for guys at certain positions is one thing, but we really are committed to keeping the best players and letting that play out."

NFL: Preseason-Cleveland Browns at Kansas City Chiefs Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Regardless of experience in the system, past performance or development potential, Veach wants the most talented players for his team -- which places a lot of importance on individual position battles.

Heading into Saturday's game, one of those battles was at the bottom of the running back depth chart. Rookie Deneric Prince and veteran La'Mical Perine each had chances to prove themselves -- but once again, Perine was noticeably more impressive.

"I liked what I saw," said Reid of the New York Jets' fourth-round pick of 2020. "He did a nice job, played really well. Good balance. We know he can catch well, and he seemed to see everything pretty clearly."

Wide receiver Justyn Ross also continued his impressive preseason on Sunday, hauling in a first-half touchdown catch while Veach was on the air with Wolfe and Green.

"Last year, our training staff did a great job bringing him back and giving him the time he needed," recalled Veach of Ross' recovery from foot surgery. "I think halfway through OTAs, you really started to see it click.

"He started to get that confidence and that self-belief back. It continued on through training camp. So we're certainly expecting big things from Justyn this year."

NFL: Preseason-Cleveland Browns at Kansas City Chiefs Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Veach's expectations align with many roster projections that predict the Chiefs might keep up to seven wide receivers -- including Ross, who might step into a role similar to the one that injured tight end Jody Fortson has filled in recent seasons.

Veach isn't afraid to put first-year players in important roles.

"We learned last year that we're in a position now where we're going to rely heavily on these young guys to come in and help us," he noted. "It's a long season. Last year, we had a group of talented players come in and get better and better and better. By the end of the season in the AFC Championship and Super Bowl, those guys [were] making big plays.

"I think early on, we've seen that there are a bunch of these guys that can come in and help us right away. We also know it's going to be a long season, we just hope our coaching staff does a tremendous job -- like they do -- and keeps getting these guys better and better."

If players like Ross, Perine or rookie wide receiver Rashee Rice become notable players for the Chiefs, it would just be the latest wave of newcomers that Veach has acquired to help the team in both the short term and long term.

It's likely because Veach values talent over everything else when building his roster.

NEW: Join Arrowhead Pride Premier

If you love Arrowhead Pride, you won’t want to miss Pete Sweeney in your inbox each week as he delivers deep analysis and insights on the Chiefs' path to the Super Bowl.