The second day of the NFL Draft has been good to the Chiefs during the Andy Reid era.
Without a pick in the first round this year, and no move made to trade up on Thursday, the Chiefs hope to keep moving in that direction when the second and third rounds unfold on Friday.
The Chiefs have a total of three picks in those rounds, one in the second — No. 54 overall — and two in the third, Nos. 78 and 86. The first pick in the third round came from Washington in the Alex Smith trade.
The idea in the early rounds is to find players who can start soon if not immediately, and the Chiefs have largely accomplished this over the past five years. Veach has been part of the process, coming with Reid from Philadelphia.
Ten players have been chosen by the Chiefs on Friday’s draft day over the past five drafts. Six have started at least half of the team’s games.
Tight end Travis Kelce, center Mitch Morse and defensive lineman Chris Jones are mainstays. Last year’s third-round pick, running back Kareem Hunt, became the NFL’s leading rusher.
Wide receiver Chris Conley and cornerback Steven Nelson, third round picks in 2015, have started more than half of their games. One who hasn’t, cornerback Phillip Gaines, has battled injuries.
Last year’s second-round selection, defensive lineman Tanoh Kpassagnon, appeared in 16 games, started one and falls in the project category.
There has been one bust in the group. Two years ago, the Chiefs spent their third-round pick on cornerback KeiVarae Russell. He never picked up the defense and that September became the first player taken in the first four rounds of the 2016 draft to get waived. He has since appeared in 13 games as a member of the Bengals.
Knile Davis, a third-round running back in 2013, couldn’t find many offensive snaps but delivered a huge moment for the franchise, his 106-yard kickoff return to open the only playoff victory in the Reid era, at Houston after the 2015 season.
But with those Chiefs' draft classes contributing to five winning seasons, four playoff seasons and two AFC West titles, the Chiefs have been mostly correct on personnel matters.
“The higher you pick certainly the more confident you feel in those guys stepping right in,” Veach said. “You get to (rounds) six and seven you kind of throw some darts on the wall and do a lot of homework on these guys.
“Certainly when you’re picking in the top three or four rounds you’re looking for help right away.”
Even the pre-Reid Chiefs found success in the third round. Of the 25 players on the roster who were drafted by the Chiefs, seven were taken in the third round, the most of any round. Before the arrival of the Reid regime, the Chiefs selected defensive lineman Allen Bailey, linebacker Justin Houston and punter Dustin Colquitt in the third.
Players taken in the early rounds stick around longer, for obvious reasons. They’re perceived as more talented, they’re given more opportunities and teams have more money invested in them.
So where will the Chiefs go when they’re on the clock?
The defense appears to have more pressing needs than the offense. Many mock drafts have the Chiefs selecting a defensive lineman or defensive back with their first pick.
Some players considered the best available Friday are Iowa cornerback Josh Jackson, Boston College defensive end Harold Landry and Penn State tight end Mike Gesicki.
A trade to move up might be needed to land one of those players.
But if the Chiefs hold their second round position, other possibilities like Georgia edge rusher Lorenzo Carter, Auburn cornerback Carlton Davis or Michigan defensive tackle Maurice Hurst could be available.
“Once you get into the 10th, 11th pick of the second round, then it starts to get wild,” Veach said.
Five years of drafting in the second and third rounds offer no clues. The Chiefs have split their 10 second- and third-round picks between offense and defense.
“We’re going to continue to add to both sides,” Veach said. “The one thing that you have to protect yourself against is being too comfortable at any position.”