When the Chiefs like a player in the draft, they go up and get him.
Last year, that player was quarterback Patrick Mahomes, whom the Chiefs drafted 10th overall after a move up that saw them trade away two first-round picks and a third-round pick. This year, the player the Chiefs wanted was former Ole Miss defensive lineman Breeland Speaks.
The Chiefs didn’t have a first-round pick this year because they traded it away to get Mahomes last year. Their first pick was in the second round, 54th overall, and Chiefs General Manager Brett Veach said that as he gathered intelligence on the draft, he realized Speaks would be gone before the Chiefs’ second-round pick, No. 54 overall.
“He’ll never be there by the time we pick in round three, so we might have to pick him at 54. Then we realized he likely wouldn’t be there at 54,” Veach said, via Josh Norris of Rotoworld.
Veach said he loved Speaks and urged coach Andy Reid to study him closely. Reid ended up watching every snap Speaks played and loved him too. So the Chiefs decided to package a second-round pick and a third-round pick in a deal to move up to 46th overall, and that’s where they got Speaks.
Most studies of the draft have indicated that trading down is generally the safer move than trading up: The draft is hard enough to predict that you’re better off if you have more picks, rather than packaging picks to target one player. But the Chiefs do things differently. They think Mahomes is their franchise quarterback of the future, and Speaks will be a big part of their defense.