The first night of Brett Veach’s first NFL Draft as a general manager was a unique experience for him.
Not only was it his first time in the captain's chair for a draft, but it was also the first time he can remember being associated with a team that did not have a first-round pick.
For a man with supreme faith in his scouting ability — and the proven guts to back it up by trading for what he wants — the four-hour experience on Thursday for the first round, when his Chiefs made no selections, was a master class in patience, even though he did cop to talking to a few teams at the bottom of the first round.
“I was (tempted),” Veach said. “We make calls. But if you were to ask me, what were the odds of getting into round one, I would have said they were very low. But that doesn’t mean I wasn’t going to try.
“We certainly had dialogue from 27 to 32. But it had to make sense for us, both now and in the future. It never got close.”
Like most years, Veach said, there were a handful of curveballs this year in the first round. This is a good thing if you don’t have a first-round pick, because the more curveballs — i.e. players selected higher than you think they will be — that are thrown, the more good players will be left for you when you pick.
“I was hoping for a few more of them,” said Veach, whose Chiefs own a second- (No. 54 overall) and two third-round picks (nos. 78 and 86 overall).
“There were some, but not as many as we would have liked.”
Fortunately for the Chiefs, however, there appears to be plenty of depth in at least a handful of positions where they undeniably need help.
“We feel pretty good about where the board is,” Veach said. “I think we’re positioned to capitalize on however it does play out.”
At cornerback, Iowa’s Josh Jackson, Louisiana State’s Mike Hughes, Colorado’s Isaiah Oliver and Auburn’s Carlton Davis are essentially consensus top-60 picks who remain on the board, while edge rush also offers a bevy of high-upside choices, where upwards of 10 players have consistently been included in many pundits’ top-100 lists.
Defensive line is not as deep, another major need, though a handful of intriguing options — headlined by Stanford strongman Harrison Phillips and raw-but-gifted Fort Hays State project Nathan Shepherd — remain.
The same can be said for safety, where Stanford’s Justin Reid headlines a group of five or six players who could have their names called Friday.
Of course, the Chiefs also won’t be shy about selecting an offensive player, if forced to. Some intriguing tight ends remain on the board, as well as a handful of strong, powerful offensive linemen.
With the second-round set to start at 6 p.m. Friday — giving teams at the top and middle of the round all day to shop their picks — it should make for a frantic, but fun, day of calls and strategic huddling for the Chiefs and Veach, who almost certainly won’t be shy about moving up some in the second after being forced to sit out of the fray on Thursday.
“It was a lot of waiting,” Veach said, “but we’re certainly excited for tomorrow.”