The process leading up to the 2018 NFL Draft is well underway as Kansas City Chiefs' General Manager Brett Veach, Head Coach Andy Reid and other members of the organization are in Indianapolis for the NFL Scouting Combine.
Also in Indianapolis is Chiefs Reporter BJ Kissel, who will be providing updates from the Combine throughout the week. Follow along @ChiefsReporter on Twitter.
Here's the transcript from Veach's press conference on Thursday.
Opening Statement:"I want to piggy back off of Coach's comments yesterday. I know there's been a lot of talk about Marcus and Alex in Washington and LA, but I really can't get into the moves we may or may not make until the 14th. I do look forward to talking to everyone on the 14th about the moves we may make. As Coach said yesterday, we keep an open dialogue with Clark Hunt, he is tremendously supportive of us. He believes in the vision we have both for the short and long term. I want to thank Clark for all his support. Lastly, I want to thank my personnel staff. I got named GM in July and really the first time I was with my staff was the very first day of training camp. We hit the ground running. I think we had a very proactive approach and we identified needs and we attacked those. We look forward to having that mindset as we get through the combine and the draft. With that, I will take your questions.
Q:How do you feel like you are personnel wise for the team?
VEACH:"We are excited. The group of guys we were able to draft last year, the moves we were able to make during the course of the season. We are tremendously excited about Pat Mahomes and his future with the Chiefs. We look forward to ushering in a new age of Kansas City Chiefs football."
Q:How much did that start against Denver confirm Mahomes' readiness?
VEACH:"It was something we all expected. From the day Pat stepped on the field, in the rookie mini camps, the OTAs, the training camps - he has always wowed us. He has a lot to learn yet I think he grew tremendously. But having watched him day in and day out just impress us, take to the studying, take to working the craft, he did a tremendous job. I think we knew when the Denver game rolled around that he would absolutely make plays and show all the things that he showed throughout this process."
Q:How does the discussion go when you plan on drafting a QB in the top 10?
VEACH:"I think it is more of a plan and a vision and really putting the quarterback in a position to succeed. I think we had a plan for Patrick and that was to come in, learn the offense and not go out there and play until you have a firm mental grasp of what you want to accomplish. All the physical tools are there. He is one of the best players I have ever seen. But you don't want to throw them out there too soon. You want them to be who they are and not really process too much, just play. Coach had a vision, and we brought him along slowly, and we are excited for the future."
Q:Do you have to have an established veteran star to take that QB in the first round?
VEACH:"You've seen other teams and other younger quarterbacks step right in and play. I don't think there is a right or wrong answer to that. I think it was just the philosophy that we had and that we believe in and that is what we stuck with.
Q:How does having Pat Mahomes at QB instead of Alex Smith affect your offseason?
VEACH:"I think what you do is you find out where your strengths and weaknesses are and you build around certain attributes players have. Pat's skillset is maybe a little bit different than Alex's. Maybe the players that you surround him with, maybe work more to his skillset. Again, he is an exciting player, has a long way to go, but I think it will be fun surrounding him with talent moving forward."
Q:Is Matt Nagy a good play-caller and what is his personality like?
VEACH:"I agree with that, and I smile when you talk about Matt. He is one of my best friends, we went to school together. Just to watch him grow as a person, as a coach. I was talking to Alex Smith during the course of the year and he said, 'One of the things I love about Matt is when he finally got the opportunity to be the coordinator, he didn't change who he was. He was the same person.' He didn't try to impress older players or veteran quarterbacks. He just stepped up there with a lot of confidence and I think the guys really buy into that. He will certainly be aggressive, he works his tail off and I am excited for him and I am excited for his family."
Q:What makes him tick as a football coach?
VEACH:"He is football all day. I like to take pride in that people from Pennsylvania are like that. But I think we are cut from the same cloth. Football is our life. From the day we were born, that is all we have dreamed about. It is all we talk about. He just has a love and a passion that you can relate to."
Q:How do you assess people in the draft and in your own locker room? What is that process?
VEACH:"Yeah, I think it is relationships and trust. A lot of the work having come up through the Eagles system scouting and having the opportunity to work in Kansas City, you build relationships. You build trust. You go into schools and you talk to coaches and they see you in there every morning at 6 or 7 a.m. and you build relationships with them and they trust you. They want the best for their players. And you trust your scouts. Now that I am in this position, having been there and done that as a scout, I have to step back now and I am very blessed to have a great personnel staff. When I am with them, I understand what they were saying. I trust them, I trust the information they give me, and we use that to fill guys in our locker room and get the culture right."
Q:What position is the hardest to transition from college to the pros?
VEACH:"I think all positions can be challenging depending on where they come from and what kind of system they were in. You hear a lot of talk about spread offenses, not a lot of power run game in the college game. But I think it goes back to the trust and relationships you have with your scouts and the coaches and the dialogue that is shared. The mentality that these players have, the work ethic. Do they want to be great, do they want to sacrifice? Certainly, they will need a baseline of physical attributes to be successful. But when you tie in the work ethic and mentality, the intelligence, that is a really key factor to if they will succeed."
Q:Is there a greater need now for outside receivers with Mahomes at quarterback?
VEACH:"Look, Pat has a cannon. Everybody wants fast receivers. But knowing you have a quarterback that really doesn't have a limit in how far he can throw is a good thing. They are highly coveted throughout the league, but I'm sure yes, we will be in that market."
Q:Is there a decision on Dee Ford's contract?
VEACH:"We are anxious for Dee to get back and get in the mix. I spoke to Rick Burkholder our trainer a few weeks ago and we have been in an open dialogue. He continues to progress from the back. There was a couple years ago that he was one three or four game span that he was on a tear. He started to turn the corner and had some setbacks. We believe in him and his ability to make a difference when he is fully healthy."
Q:What are you looking for when you sit down with these prospects at the combine?
VEACH:"Well, I think you want to get to know them. We spend all fall watching tape and analyzing their ability and how they will fit in our structure. You get to have a good feel of what they can and can't do, their strengths and weaknesses, but you really don't know the person. It goes back to the trust you have with your staff and you read the dialogue in the notes and get a feel. Then actually sitting down with them and spending time with them understanding how they tick, how they see things, how they read coverages or analyze offenses or defenses, really just want to tap into the person and see what they are all about."
Q:How did you evaluate Albert Wilson last year?
VEACH:"Albert has done a great job. He was an undrafted guy out of Georgia State and burst right onto the scene his rookie campaign. Then he had some injuries that held him back a little. He has worked hard in the offseason, got his weight down. You saw that last game in Denver, he kind of took off. He is a very tough player. He does everything from the slot to the outside, he can block, and he can return if you need him to. He is a very valuable commodity for us and certainly has done a lot for us the last few years."
Q:Do you have a favorite Matt Nagy story?
VEACH:"I can't share them. I do, but on the side I'll give you a couple."
Q:Can you talk about David Amerson?
VEACH:"Yeah, with Dave, certainly a tremendous talent coming out and has production at NC State. And if you follow his career from a skill standpoint, he is a 6'0 corner, he is long and athletic. He has really good hips and can mirror and match at the top of routes. He has been a little inconsistent, been banged up a little. It was just one of those things were the Raiders decided to move on and we evaluated his tape. We liked his skill set. I think there is still some development and growth he can reach and we think he will have a shot in some press-man coverage."
Q:Do you expect him to start?
VEACH:"I think he will add competition. I think we will bring in guys that will compete and show up every day and get after it. Certainly, he has shown the ability. I think a couple years ago he was among the league leaders in PBUs so he can play in this league. I think if he stays healthy and comes in with the right attitude he will have a great shot."
Q:Do you expect Albert Wilson to get looks around the league?
VEACH:"Well, Matt is in Chicago and he knows all about him. You get through this phase where you get through the common names and then you know them and you're studying them and then you get into your UFA meetings and you watch every single player that is available. I think when teams watch Albert they will understand how valuable he is and we certainly feel the same way. We would be super excited to get him back but we know we have to go through the process here."
Q:When you look at UFAs, how much do you factor in why they are available or why didn't their team re-sign them?
VEACH:"I think you weigh in everything. Most teams will look at the age and want to get guys on their second year. They want to stay young, stay aggressive. You look at every situation and every position group and if it makes sense from a structural standpoint, a schematic standpoint and also a cap standpoint. And it really is just the schematic standpoint and the cap standpoint along with the age, and if you get all those things pointing in the right direction, you go that route."