Chiefs GM Brett Veach on the NFL Draft and the importance of free agency
One position priority was filled for the Chiefs with this week’s trade for defensive end Frank Clark. Another one remains on the defensive side.
And perhaps now at wide receiver as the Tyreek Hill story continues to unfold.
Look for the Chiefs to strongly consider the secondary when they likely enter the draft in the second round.
The second and third rounds will be conducted Friday with the Chiefs holding overall selections 61, 63 and 84 after trading their first-round pick, No. 29 overall, as part of the Clark deal.
Chiefs general manager Brett Veach was thinking secondary when he met with media members last week.
“I don’t think there’s been a position group we’ve looked at more than the safeties and the corners this year,” Veach said.
Part of the reason: New defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo has coached the secondary more than any other position.
Also, there’s a need. The Chiefs signed standout safety Tyrann Mathieu in March. He joins a position group that includes Dan Sorensen, Jordan Lucas and Armani Watts.
At corner, Bashaud Breeland has been added, joining returning players Kendall Fuller, Charvarius Ward and Tremon Smith among others. But the Chiefs are still looking for help.
“We certainly need to get better (at cornerback),” Veach said. “We need to get younger. Same thing with safety ... I think that we’ll be looking in all those areas, but I feel good about where we start the season before the draft.”
In the first round, two safeties — Maryland’s Darnell Savage and Mississippi State’s Johnathan Abram — were selected. The only cornerback taken was Georgia’s Deandre Baker.
That leaves among safeties players like Florida’s Chauncey Gardner-Johnson and Delaware’s Nasir Adderley remain on the board, as do highly rated cornerbacks Byron Murphy of Washington, LSU’s Greedy Williams and Temple’s Rock Ya-Sin.
Wide receiver may have become a stronger consideration for the Chiefs after the events of the previous two days involving Hill.
After the conclusion of the first round, Chiefs general manager Brett Veach said Hill “at this time and in the foreseeable future” would not take place in any team activities. Hill had been with the team during the first phase of organized team activities, mostly conditioning and film review, which started last week.
Hill’s 3-year-old son told his mother that Hill had punched him, according to a recording obtained and aired Thursday evening by KCTV-5. In the recording Hill and Crystal Espinal, the boy’s mother, talked about an injury to the boy’s arm. The Star reported on March 15 that a source familiar with the situation said an incident at Hill’s home left the boy with a broken arm.
The Star reported last week that Hill’s son recently was removed from the custody of Hill and Espinal.
Hill could be facing a league punishment for violation of the NFL’s personal conduct policy. Or the Chiefs could release Hill, as they did with running back Kareem Hunt last season when video surfaced of Hunt kicking and shoving a woman.
Either way, the Chiefs could be in the market for a wide receiver in a year when it might not have been anticipated.
The only wide receivers chosen in the first round were Oklahoma’s Marquise Brown to the Baltimore Ravens at No. 25 and Arizona State’s N’keal Harry to the New England Patriots at No. 32.
The Chiefs didn’t draft a wide receiver last year but took at least one in the previous three drafts: Chris Conley in 2015, Demarcus Robinson and Hill in 2016 and Jehu Chesson in 2017. Robinson and Hill are still with the team.
Among wide receivers that could be available where the Chiefs are expected to draft: Iowa State’s Hakeem Butler and Missouri’s Emanuel Hall.
At the moment, the Chiefs wide receiver depth chart includes Hill, Robinson, Sammy Watkins, Gehrig Deiter, Sammie Coates and Marcus Kemp. In recent media interviews, Veach and head coach Andy Reid mentioned the progress of Byron Pringle, who signed as an undrafted free agent from Kansas State last year but was injured in the final preseason game.