On Monday afternoon, Kansas City Chiefs' general manager Brett Veach went on a conference call with local media to discuss the team's 2018 draft class.
2nd Round (No. 46 overall) - Breeland Speaks – DE/Edge – Ole Miss
3rd Round (No. 75 overall) – Derrick Nnadi – DT – Florida State
3rd Round (No. 100 overall) – Dorian O'Daniel – LB - Clemson
4th Round (No. 124 overall) Armani Watts – S – Texas A&M
6th Round (No. 196 overall) – Tremon Smith – CB – Central Arkansas
6th Round (No. 198 overall) – Kahlil McKenzie – OG – Tennessee
Here are some highlights of what was discussed:
Veach broke down what he likes about fourth-round pick Armani Watts:
"Armani is a guy that had really, really good game tape. He's a physical player. You can get into the strong safety, free safety stuff, but we do so much high-low stuff with our free safeties so they have to be interchangeable. He can play down low because he is physical, he is tough, loves to hit, but he also has very good instincts and ball skills and he's very good at anticipating routes. I don't know if you guys saw the Arkansas game at Texas Stadium this year, he won the game the game in overtime just by anticipating a red zone throw there.
"So, the guy has tremendous feel back there, so we think over time he can certainly develop into a starting safety."
Next, Veach broke down the first of their two sixth-round picks, cornerback Tremon Smith:
"Smith is a small-school corner from Central Arkansas. I believe the kid was a quarterback coming out of high school and kind of got overlooked because he was a smaller kid that played like a triple option type-deal, and he goes to Central Arkansas and they throw him at cornerback from day one. The guy had tremendous production—really has a nose for the football.
"Elevating from Central Arkansas up to the next level will be an adjustment, but the guy ran 4.3, he's got really good hips—change of direction—all of the physical attributes that you look for in a corner. So, we really like his skill set and we think he has a chance to develop into a player."
Finally, Veach broke down Tennessee's Kahlil McKenzie, who is making the transition from defensive line to offensive guard:
"This kid is going to look like a first-round pick," Veach said of McKenzie coming to OTAs. "He's an impressive looking player. He's a draftable talent just as a defensive lineman and he would certainly be on an NFL roster this coming fall if he just played defensive line, but when you watched him at his Pro Day, and I know (area scout) Pat Sperduto spoke about this after we drafted him, but he had such a good workout at the Pro Day at guard. It looked natural to him.
"I don't know exactly how long this will take because he hasn't played offensive line a long time, but as far as his size, his athletic ability—he has all of the traits. If you didn't have any background, you didn't watch any tape, you looked at just the Pro Day works, the size of this guy and how he moves and how he adjusts—you would probably put him right at the top of your list.
"So, that's kind of what we're dealing with here—a tremendously talented kid that may take some time but we're certainly excited to take on that project."
One of the more entertaining storylines from the draft is the fact that McKenzie is the son of current Raiders' general manager Reggie McKenzie.
"I did see some of the pictures with the Raiders gear in the background when he got drafted," Veach laughed. "I have a tremendous amount of respect for his father. I think he's a great evaluator, great person, certainly, he's been doing this a long time. I did call him after we drafted Kahlil and was kind of poking fun at him saying I hope you guys know that your son is going to be lining up against you guys and taking it to you for four quarters. He was just extremely happy that he was in Kansas City. I think as a father you want to know that your son's in good hands, and certainly, with Coach Reid and Coach (Andy) Heck, he'll be in good hands here."
Veach said the plan wasn't necessarily to select defensive players with their first five picks:
"Certainly, we knew we had to get better (on defense). And really, I spoke about it just before the draft, you look at the Philadelphia Eagles and having that depth—we just wanted to acquire players that would make our team, would compete, would produce, and fill out that depth. I can't sit here and say that I went into the draft and just wanted to draft defense, defense, defense. I knew we had to better on defense and I knew that we had to get tougher and I kind of said that the night before.
"I knew one thing that I really wanted to make sure I left the draft with is someone who could affect the passer, and that's where Breeland (Speaks) came into play. You looked at where we were at 54 and Breeland was a guy that we had targeted at 54. Then when the names start peeling off and you saw what was behind Breeland on our board, there was really no one that matched his skill set, and that's why we were aggressive to get him and that is why we made the move."
Veach spoke about which guys he thinks could step in and play right away:
"We think [Speaks] is a guy that can come in and play and help us on all three downs. Derrick Nnadi is a guy that from the first time he stepped on the field at Florida State, he played. I think he started 38 of 39 games, so that guy went from high school right to Florida State. Obviously, this guy will be able to come right in and play for us and help us out.
"Dorian O'Daniel, we have a vision for him so we know when we go into our sub stuff, he will be able to come in there and be able to be utilized as a coverage backer. He can match up on some tight ends, play in the passing game, has range, had speed and then all four phases of special teams. And then Armani Watts is a guy that we just think it will be a matter of grasping the checks and adjustments and being able to call the show back there, but he is another guy that will be able to come in here and play of special teams and work in with Dan Sorensen, Eric Murray, and those guys."
Veach spoke about how he feels about the roster right now:
"I'm excited about the roster…I don't think again ever as an evaluator, you're ever happy or keep your eyes closed. If there are opportunities to get our depth better or to acquire players that will help us, we'll do that. We did that in August last year and if something happens during the course of training camp where we can make a deal or do something with the team that will help us, I think we'll pursue that.
"Happy? Yes. Content? No. That'd be the best way of saying it."