In his first years as the general manager of the Kansas City Chiefs, Brett Veach has left something to be desired from his draft classes.
We are heading into the fourth year of Veach calling the shots as general manager, and while we have seen some small improvements from year to year in regards to player contributions, this season needs to see Veach's best NFL Draft yet to keep Kansas City at the top.
In a recent series for Arrowhead Report, Mark Van Sickle took a look at Veach's three draft classes for the Chiefs and looked at if the players were "studs" or "duds."
That was the topic of today's Roughing the Kicker podcast as Mark joined me to talk about the 2019 class. We also talked about Kansas City's 2018 NFL Draft selections on another episode, which you can find here.
The first draft class of Veach's reign did not pan out the way most had desired. Outside of defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi, the Chiefs' five other selections in the 2018 NFL Draft played a combined total of 1,104 snaps. Nnadi has played 1,506 snaps as a rotational defensive tackle. Not many good things can be said about this group.
In 2019 he took a small but much-needed step forward. While trading up for wide receiver Mecole Hardman when wide receivers DK Metcalf and Terry McLaurin were still on the board will always be a tough pill to swallow in Kansas City, the Chiefs were still able to get some solid contributors in this draft.
Players like Hardman, safety Juan Thornhill and late-round cornerback Rashad Fenton all helped move the team forward to an eventual Super Bowl win while finding their niche on the field.
Last season, Veach didn't quite maximize the value of his first first-round selection of his tenure as he took running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire at No. 32, but found the steal of the draft in fourth-round defensive back L'Jarius Sneed.
It's tough to wholly judge this class with only a year under their belt and third-round tackle Lucas Niang's COVID-19 opt-out, but this group is on the path of being Veach's best class yet.
While Veach has certainly turned a corner in recent years, drafting is going to be crucial for the immediate and future success of the team. It will be important for Veach to prove he can consistently draft quality contributors with Mahomes entering the prime years of his massive contract.
Finding young, cheap talent via the draft will be the main way this team can still remain atop of the league while Mahomes is in the meat of his largest cap hits. There can't be any more classes like 2018, and with his recent advances in drafting, there's no reason to think he can't come up with a good crop of talent this year.