Brett Veach Pre-Draft Quotes

Brett Veach Pre-Draft Quotes

OPENING STATEMENT: “Welcome, good to see everyone. Happy to be back (and) excited for the 2024 NFL Draft next week. I certainly want to thank my personnel staff and the coaching staff for all their hard work, certainly all year round but especially these last few months and weeks. We’ve been putting our final touches on the draft board and look forward to Thursday and hopefully adding some new talent to this roster. So, with that, I’ll open it up and take some questions.” 

Q: With this draft, in particular when it comes to the offensive tackle and wide receiver positions, what do you see at those spots and where do you see the most value in this class?

VEACH: “Yeah, I think the draft in general has some positional depth. Although it is funny, when we’re looking at the numbers and the general consensus is this is a deep o-line class or this is a deep d-line class or what have you, it’s not necessarily true for us I think sometimes because like for the tackle position I think once you get past pick 35 or 40 most of those guys are gone. So, if you’re picking in the top 10 it’s a great offensive line class. If you’re picking in the top 15, it’s a great offensive line class. If you’re picking 32 and 64, you’ve got a shot maybe here or there. So, I think that goes into the additional work we put in and putting a strategy together and what guys might be worth a move depending on how it all plays out and you know what other positions are going to provide top end value if say an o-lineman or receiver isn’t there. Do you go corner or do you go defensive line – I think that there are some interesting pockets there. I think the good thing is, like every year, there’s a lot of good players, and it’s just a matter of working on our board, our system, given the picks we have and the potential moves we can make.”

Q: We haven’t gotten a chance to talk to you since free agency started. What was your take on free agency this year with Chris Jones getting resigned and adding Hollywood Brown?

VEACH: “Yeah, so going into the offseason, a lot of work to do and always unique challenges depending on the year and what your cap situation looks like. When we left Vegas and had a chance to get together before the combine, we were just kind of outlying some different ideas and some thought processes and one of the things that I think was glaring to us was we were potentially looking at losing most, if not all, of our defensive line – Mike Danna, Chris Jones, Turk (Tershawn) Wharton, Derrick Nnadi.  So obviously a huge amount of concern there especially given how well our defense played last year – I mean it was one of the top units in the NFL and those guys have all played together in the system for a long time. Chris, right out the gate was our priority. (We) wanted to make sure we got him done. I think there was a little bit of a domino effect there. Had to move with LJ (L’Jarius Sneed), and we were able to bring Mike Danna back. I think being able to secure that front with Danna, Turk, Nnadi, and Jones was really important to us. Bringing back Drue Tranquill was important to us. So really focused on retaining as much of that defense from last year as we could. Then like every year, whether it’s free agency or the draft, if there’s an opportunity to add a playmaker for Pat (Mahomes), we’re always going to be looking for those options. (We) played it out so to speak at some other positions. I think we were lucky that Hollywood’s situation played out the way it did. I think he’s going to be a great one-year addition for us and he’s going to set himself up nicely moving forward. I think we’re excited and like I said, every year is different and unique. I think with the resources we had available, we maximized what we can do this offseason.”

Q: You mentioned the offensive line in particular and the depth at the position this draft. Would you ever envision yourself moving into the top 15 for a non-quarterback position?

VEACH: “I can envision myself, got to get the owner’s approval on that (laughter). No, I think it changes every year. I think we have a pretty good plan this upcoming week. Every situation is unique, I mean we’ve had conversations in the last few years about guys that we consider top five, top six prospects if they were to fall into the teens and got (Chairman and CEO) Clark (Hunt) and (Head Coach) Andy (Reid) involved and those situations just didn’t work out. So, I think that I certainly could see something like that. A lot of things have to in fall into place for that to happen, so it would have to be probably a specific guy or two and then probably getting into a landing spot that’s not expected and then if he does get into that landing spot that’s not expected the team is willing to work with you on a trade that makes sense. So, certainly can see it. A lot of things have to happen and fall in place to see an outcome like that, but I always think anything is possible.”

Q: What do you think of the wide receiver class in this draft?

VEACH: “I think it’s one of the deeper classes. I think the good thing about the wide receiver position – this is typically every year – is they provide depth really one-five and there’s always pockets of players – I think there is a large group of receivers in the first 50 picks that we have great grades on. Then I think there’s another pocket right behind that, I think that is a positive. I think corner, there’s some depth middle to later on in the draft. O-lineman as I mentioned in the opener, it’s really good early, so there will be a late run on those guys but it tails off a little bit. I think it’s a better defensive line class than what we’ve seen in the past. I think there’s some good mid-round depth there. Linebacker, running back, is probably a little lighter than years past. O-line, receivers, corners are good hot spots throughout the draft and that’s a good thing because we could use one of each of those.”

Q: What are the last few days leading up to the draft like as far as setting up potential trades?

VEACH: “We’ll see, typically the Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday right before the draft is when the teams do all their call checks and make sure all the phone numbers are working for all the teams. We’ll get an email list of draft day phone numbers, so we typically do a run through and check with all the teams. Once we do that, it usually kind of spins into some casual dialogue, hypothetically if you were looking to move up or move back – those types of scenarios. I think we’ll do a good job of getting out in front of this and talking to some teams and seeing where their mind is in terms of value of their boards or what boards they are working on. A large part of this is just making sure we’re all on the same page in regard to what draft boards you’re working from because as you know there’s tons of boards, each team has their own boards and a combination of other team’s boards and historical boards they use. We typically reach out to those teams early in the week, make sure the phones are working, exchange some ideas and make sure we’re on the same page in regard to what boards we’re working off of.”

Q: In light of what is going on with Rashee Rice, does it make you more cautious of player’s past history when drafting them?

VEACH: “We spend a great deal of time on all these players and I think we have to look at each individual case independently and just work through it. I think maybe subconsciously it factors in a little, but I think when we stick to our process and trust the guys we have around us – we have a great coaching staff, we have a great personnel staff, we have a great security team. We really lean on those guys, at the end of the day I trust the guys around me, they spend a lot of time working on the player and his ability to come in here and be a good person, be a good teammate. We try to stick to what we’ve done in the past – there will always be some things that factor into ultimately what we decide to do with a guy. Sticking to our process – we’ve done this now for a little bit here, over the long run it’s provided us a good blueprint to work off of.”

Q: Have you found that since you started winning championships that teams are less willing to work with you on trades?

VEACH: “Yes and no. I think if a team – if it can benefit them, I think they are always going to pick up the call and be willing to work. I don’t think a team is going to diminish their ability to do something they really want to do just because it’s the Chiefs. I do think though that the ability to deal with certain teams – I mean it’s always been understood that if you’re going to deal with a team in your division that there’s going to be a little bit more of a premium, I think just some of the AFC teams in general that are consistent playoff performers – I mean the Buffalo’s, the Cincinnati’s, the Baltimore’s – it’s probably a little bit harder to deal with those teams. Even if they do pick up the phone, I think some of their asking prices are a tick higher. I think we get hit with a little bit more of interest. I think there is always a way to make a deal, but yeah, some of the teams will probably up the price a little bit.”

Q: How valuable is it for you to visit with players before the draft?

VEACH: “It’s extremely helpful, when the guys come in here for the visits, they are here all day. They will start in the training room, they will go through another comprehensive MRI and meeting with (Vice President of Sports Medicine and Performance) Rick (Burkholder), they get a chance to meet with all of our coaches. At the combine, there is a chance to spend some time with all these kids, but it’s maxed out at like 15-17 minutes, you get a chance to get a brief intro, a little bit of an idea of their background. You get into some football, but it’s not very long. So, I think just having the whole day, getting to know the person, understanding the person more, talk through things, talk through football, talk thorough their upbringing all that kind of stuff is extremely important to us. Typically, we go through our system and guys we either feel one way or the other, guys we are not interested in is one category, guys that we feel really good about, we know this guy, it’s not going to do us any good. We don’t typically deal with those guys. Then you have a handful of guys that you just – when you were at the combine you feel like those 15 minutes just wasn’t enough and you wanted some more information. Then there is another series of guys that didn’t get invited to the combine, so you like them to some degree, but you have no medical on them whatsoever. Those guys have to come in because there’s just no medical on them. (There are) different combinations of why we bring guys in, but they are super beneficial for us.”

Q: With the unknown status of Rashee Rice how much does that effect who you might take in the draft?

VEACH: “I don’t know if it does just because I think we have a lot of needs. It’s one of those things that you go into every draft, you can look at our roster and short of quarterback, maybe linebacker – I think there’s needs on the offensive line for sure, guard/center depth, competition at left tackle. Receiver there is a need, cornerback we just lost (L’Jarius) Sneed, we do have some young guys, we do have Nazeeh Johnson coming back but corners are hard to find. We could probably throw safety in there too because I think we really like Chamarri Conner and (Bryan) Cook and (Justin) Reid. It’s one of those scenarios where there’re a lot of positions that would make sense for us and again, you start at the o-line, d-line and receiver positions. It’s a long season and depth is super important to us and also guys contracts do run out. Anytime you (can) get a player who can come in here and challenge for a starting position right away, I think you go in that direction.”

Q: How likely do you think a trade up is in the first round?

VEACH: “Just weighing the options. On one end, I think there’s 16-18 guys this year that we have as first round grades, you factor in some quarterbacks there and some teams that go in different directions that are contradictory to what our board has. You figure probably 16-18 names, four quarterbacks, maybe five quarterbacks, there could be window there where we have an opportunity to get a guy then it’s just weighing the cost. If it is a corner, an o-lineman or a receiver, we’re probably going to give up the opportunity to take that other position later in the draft. Is one guy that you have a first-round grade on better than two guys that you have maybe a second and third round grade on? It’s just weighing that formula for us. That’s where it comes down to the value of that guy that falls, if he’s one of those guys that you really have as a top 10, top 12 pick I think you do it, like Trent McDuffie’s situation. I think if it’s one of those guys we’ll certainly be aggressive and hopefully we can find a trading partner but I also think there’s some depth in round two there. There are opportunities to add players who come in and push for starting positions in rounds two and three as well.”

Q: How many guys do you have on your draft board?

VEACH: “I wrote that down, I knew someone was going to ask me that because I never know. I just see a bunch of names up there. I don’t count them, I sort of just move them around, I have them in pockets. I was walking in here and I said, ‘Someone is going to ask me exactly how many guys I have on the board.’ It’s 221, which is a lot but I – you’d have to come in here and be with me one day to see how I process this because I have guys in the sixth or seventh round on my board but I always know that we’ll never get to the sixth or seventh round. The total number of players on the board is 221, but in my mind there’s kind of like a line right there and those guys in six and seven we keep on the board because that’s where I want to work down on free agency, so I know where I’m going as soon as the draft is over. The guys that we have on the board at sixth and seventh, again, we’ll have plenty of numbers, but we’ll never get to them but that’s my free agency board and that’s kind of how we work through that.”

Q: What do you think this draft class will be remembered by?

VEACH: “I’m not sure what it will be remembered for, obviously it’ll depend on where these players go and how successful they are and what teams strategize to do different things. One interesting perspective that I did find kind of going through this is just the NIL effect. Typically when you’re working through the fourth, fifth, sixth round there’s always interesting prospects and small school guys, but I think what you’re starting to see is these fourth, fifth, sixth round prosects are a little older because they’re staying and some of these underclassman that get third, fourth round grades, they have the opportunity to stay in school and so I don’t know if these drafts and this will be a trend – they won’t be as deep as they used to be. If you’re a junior and you have a third or fourth round grade and you have an opportunity to stay in school and make money you’re going to go back and potentially stay in school. What happens is I think the drop off from rounds three, the cutoff line I think that availability of young guys with potential that came out early, maybe they should’ve – (if) they would’ve stayed, they would have been a first or second round pick, well those guys are staying now. I think the drop off numbers are a little bit more extreme this year and the players are a little older, so we have to work a little bit harder to find some young guys with the upside that you really like. That, to me, I found challenging. When we were going through the board it was one of those things that I just instinctively thought and I checked with our guys and they were like, ‘Yeah these guys are a lot older.’ Again, when you have a ton of underclassmen that put their name in and decide to come out, that makes every draft deeper, when guys are staying in, it’s going to make every draft a little tougher to work with on the backend.”

Q: What are your expectations for Skyy Moore and Kadarius Toney this upcoming season?

VEACH: “We’re obviously hoping both (Kadarius Toney and Skyy Moore) continue to improve, progress and are able to be consistent playmakers for us. I know Kadarius has obviously had a long history of injury issues but he is probably our most talented wideout. Again, it doesn’t do anyone any good unless you stay healthy, but the kid has always worked hard here for us and I know he’s been down there with Pat (Mahomes) and I think it’s just a matter of him staying healthy. If he can do that, he can really do a lot of great things in this offense. That’s one of the things – there’s a lot of speculation about KT, but I don’t think we ever stopped believing in him. I think people around the building like him. It’s the injury bug, hopefully he gets some luck on his side and can stay healthy and can be the player that he was in (The University of) Florida and the player that we’ve seen in spurts here. (I’m) just hoping he has good offseason and has a little luck on his side and can stay healthy. With Skyy – Skyy has always been a mentally tough kid and he’s still – you know he had that knee injury last year, so to some degree, just these guys being on the field, staying healthy and then making plays when their number is called. The great thing about both these guys are they’re two guys we really like as people and they’re smart and they work hard. Now it’s just a matter of them putting themselves in positions to earn consistent playing time and then make plays when their number is called.”

Q: Is Wanya Morris ready to be an every down starting left tackle if that’s what you need from him this year?

VEACH: “That’s a good question. I think we were really happy with Wanya’s (Morris) development last year and think he showed some signs early on in OTAs that we were really excited about. (He) continued that growth and maturation process during training camp. Middle of the season there he got an opportunity there, some good, some bad. I think Wanya would tell you this, I think if you look at his body of work last year, I think on one end you’re happy that he was able to come in at the pro level and be competitive, it wasn’t perfect but it also was solid play that I think is a good foundation to build and grow on. He has to come in here with the mindset that we’re going to look to bring in competition and he’s got to come in here and win that position and I think it’s his job to come in and be prepared to win that position. I think it’s our job to go out there and find competition for that left tackle spot. Again, I think that there’s a lot of promise in there and there’s a lot of ability, but certainly I think it’s our job to bring in some competition there and make him earn that and work for it.”

Q: How important is it for you to have a versatile left tackle who can play for multiple seasons?

VEACH: “We put a lot of stock on flexibility. As mentioned, you even saw that last game of the regular season when we played the o-line – coach had those guys playing different positions. Creed (Humphrey) played guard, the tackles swapped positions and stuff like that. It kind of illustrates exactly what we think of positional flex and in-game situations. You never know if it’s going to be a right guard, a left guard, a center, a right or left tackle that goes down. Positional flexibility does heavily weigh into it, there’s a lot of guys that are – a lot of o-line coaches would tell you if you can play tackle, you can potentially play any position across the board. I think that’s why (the) tackle is so premium; you have to protect the quarterback’s edge and the blind side but also typically those tackles are athletic enough to slide inside and sometimes even play center. We saw that with (former Chiefs center) Mitch Morse a few years ago. He was a tackle in college and he ended up being a really good center, so position flexibility is super important to us. It is a quarterback league, and you have to protect him and you have to get after him and those tackle positions are always going to be important because they protect the most important player on your team. If we get an opportunity to get one of those guys, for sure, I mean it’s always on your mind just like D-end and DT. Again, hopefully the numbers work out and there’s a window of opportunity for us, but I do think that there are a lot of good players in rounds two and three so we just need a little patience and a little luck I guess.”