CHIEFS GENERAL MANAGER BRETT VEACH
OPENING STATEMENT:"It was a unique first round for many reasons. First off, it was the first time I had the chance to sit there as a GM. I was telling Ted on the way down that I've been doing this for a while and I don't think I've ever been a part of a team, and maybe I have because the years kind of run together, but I'm not sure if I've been on a team that doesn't have a first round pick. It was a lot of waiting, but we're certainly excited for tomorrow, having a two and two threes."
Q: Anything in particular surprise you about the first round that you can share?
VEACH: "It's crazy because every year you feel like there's a handful of, kind of curveballs, and you're actually kind of excited about that because the more curveballs that are thrown, the more guys that you value higher are on the board. Another thing that we talked about that the board kind of went off how we thought. There were a couple there at the end that kind of put the numbers back to where we need them, but for the most part I'd say the first 20-25 picks were kind of like clockwork."
Q: Now that the first round is done, do you think it's an accurate characterization to say that this draft has more worthy second and third round players than maybe first round players?
VEACH: "All drafts, and I think I said this last press conference, they're unique in their own way in regards to where those players and the positions that you feel the depth is. Every year it's different. Some years you feel like second round all day we're going to get this position and it's like that every year. I think the draft in general is always deep in rounds two or three. It's just a matter of what positions that you deem them to be deep in."
Q:What's the process that you'll go through with your staff tonight to reset now that the first round is over and what does it look like tomorrow before the draft starts?
VEACH: "Our guys are up there right now. We kind of had some initial thoughts and now you start doing the mock second round. Your mind goes to the teams that are on the clock the first 5-10 picks and you're always hoping that teams value players differently than you do. You don't want teams to value players just like you do because that means that all the good players are gone. Our crew is up there right now, so I'll leave here and we'll just do this whole process that we did for the first round for the second round. Our minds play out where these guys are going to go, where it makes sense for some of these guys that we like, what teams might have those guys in mind as well and see where we need to be. We're happy. We have a two and two threes, so we have good picks and we can get good players staying put and we have some ability to move around too."
Q: How much was there predicting who's interested in guys going in the second round?
VEACH: "That's part of the process the whole time. As far as the second round there are so many things that could happen that you don't really get into that second round like we'll do right now. We'll go upstairs and we'll really, in detail, go through that process. But there are so many curveballs that can be thrown in round one. I was hoping for a few more of them. There were some, but not as many as I would've liked. We'll do that game and we'll review our notes now for the guys that are left on the board. The teams that are picking, how many picks they have and who was at the pro days and team needs. Our pro guys do a great job of keeping tabs of what teams need and where they're likely to focus their interest in. So we'll do that process now, but it will be in more detail right now."
Q: How tempted were you to trade into the first round?
VEACH: "I was. We made calls."
Q: On a scale of 1-10?
VEACH: "I'm always a 10. If you were to ask me what were the odds of me getting into round one I would've said very low. It didn't mean I wasn't going to try. We certainly had dialogue from 27-31, 32ish we had dialogue. Again, it has to make sense for us both now and in the future. So when you're talking about multiple picks or when you're talking getting into '19 picks it's something we weren't interested in doing."
Q:It never got close?
VEACH:"No, it never really got close."
Q: Was there enough surprise how the first round was developing that gave you caution to not be as aggressive as you said last week you might be?
VEACH: "Yeah there was. I think tomorrow is always an interesting day because there's always the guys that we thought or the teams thought would go in the first round. It's always a handful of two or three guys, and those two or three guys I think everybody sees the same. Then after that, then it gets crazy and it goes in different directions. Then you can see the distinction between boards. Not so much in the first 15, I think everybody has a consensus of 15, 20, maybe 25 players. But once you start getting into the tenth or the eleventh pick of the second round then it kind of gets wild. That's where your board needs to be really tightened down."
Q: Where do you think that group is as far as guys you thought were maybe taken tonight?
VEACH: "A handful, four or five. It wasn't many. But again, those guys that we value, it goes back to how teams utilize their draft chart and what they feel their needs are. You never know anybody else's team more than your own. So we can sit here and say this team needs this, this and this, but they may have a guy on the practice squad or they may have a young guy that really didn't play much, was a sixth, seventh lineman or was a backup running back that really flashed and they feel good about this guy. Well they didn't play so we don't know that and we may think it's a need but really they feel good in that position and they're going to go somewhere else and that kind of throws you off a little. So that's still a little bit of a guessing game."
Q: Since you've been here you've had success in the second and third rounds in getting starters – is that the objective here?
VEACH: "For sure. I think that's always your mindset. I mean you want guys that can step out and play and I think that our guys are up there looking for guys that would have a bunch of talent that you would want to develop those guys in two or three years. I think we have a really good group of guys that we feel if we're able to acquire them, would come in right away and help us next year."
Q: Do you have the mentality that those guys you take at those rounds should be starters?
VEACH: "Yeah, your expectations are always for the guys to come in and compete for a starting job or at least see a lot of playing time and certainly the higher you pick the more confident you feel on those guys coming right in and stepping in. Last year is a little different because you have a quarterback and you had a plan for that, but as far as traditionally picking guys in rounds one, two or three, you're very hopeful that those guys will come in right away and play or be a part of a steady rotation. Like you said, you get into a sixth or seventh, then you might throw some darts on the wall there and do a lot of homework on these guys, but know that there's a lot of qualities and attributes that you like that really translate to success. But certainly if you're picking in the top two, three, four rounds you're looking for guys to come in and help right away."
Q: First pick is still a ways off, but you still feel like the guys you want at 54 you'll have?
Q: Will somebody be there at 54 that you're looking at right now?
VEACH: "Yeah. We feel pretty good about where the board is and how the numbers worked out. They never work out exactly, you try to have kind of a ballpark in your mind about how the numbers are going to work out and where you're going to need to be in regards to probability of guys being there. We're right around that number. You'd always like to be on the plus side of that and be really good. But we're good, I don't know if we're really good, but we're good and feel good whether we stay, move up or move back. I think that there are always different scenarios that could play out, but I think we're positioned to capitalize however it does play out."
Q: How much communication do you have with other teams in the next 15 hours about moving around?
VEACH: "There will be some initial dialogue tonight. Tomorrow at 8 or 9:00, those teams that want to trade down will start shopping their offers. That is how the game is played. They are going to call teams, try to get an offer then they will try shopping offers. Just have to be sure of what you want and where you want to go, and if you want to stay put, you have to have guys in place that you'll take or have back up plans ready to trade back and acquire more picks."
Q: How long is this night for you guys?
VEACH: "It'll go as long as it needs to go until we get up to pick 54. We will fill out our board. I think we already have a strong indication of how the first 10 to 12 picks will play out. We will have some dialogue for the rest of the picks until our pick. But if it takes 20 minutes, it will take 20 minutes and if it takes three hours, we will sit there until we have a consensus for sure."
Q: How much do the other teams in the division's draft affect what you do?
VEACH: "No, not really. I think we are focused on our team and what we need to do and what we need to accomplish. These teams, these divisions are all tough. I don't think, certainly Oakland and Los Angeles, you take notice of those teams when they are picking. When an NFC team is picking you may notice a player. You certainly know that Denver got (Bradley) Chubb, the Chargers got Derwin James, so they got some pretty good players there. But no, it never dictates what we do. We are going to take care of our business and improve our team in a way that we see. I don't think you ever get into, 'They do this, so let's do that.' No, that isn't our deal."
Q: Are you leaning one way on a position you want to draft based on how tonight developed?
VEACH: "No, I think we are just going to approach it that we want to get our team better. We are building our team for the short and long term. If all things are equal, we will lean towards where we feel this will help sooner rather than later. But they are going to have to be equal or close to being equal. Again, you aren't going to take that we have a fourth or fifth round value on just because—it wouldn't go that way. You can't pass up good players. I think I said this a few days ago. You may roll into a season and think you are good in a position and then you are injured and you really wish you had a guy you valued as a one or a two instead of going off and having a free agent or a street guy in that position. You are always going to stick to that philosophy."
Q: Without the first round pick, did you watch this first round differently than you did in the past and paid more attention to the AFC West teams?
VEACH: "I think some of those teams, not as much the AFC West teams, you look back at last year. A lot of teams had the chance to go up and get a (Patrick) Mahomes or a (Deshaun) Watson. Arizona moved up and these quarterbacks went quickly. It is always good to be a year early in your thought process in how you want to attack things, then to wait till you can't wait anymore. And that is being proactive. You saw those teams tonight. The quarterbacks went early. Teams moved up and didn't move up. Teams were prepared, even right there at the end with Lamar (Jackson) going. I feel good about our thought process last year, being a year early and not a year late."