KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Two teams go into the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft on Thursday with 12 picks.
One of those teams, the Jacksonville Jaguars, understandably has acquired the draft assets to rebuild a struggling roster. The other, the Kansas City Chiefs, has played in four-straight AFC Championship games.
Kansas City enters the draft needing to replace the likes of wide receiver Tyreek Hill, safety Tyrann Mathieu and cornerback Charvarius Ward. But general manager Brett Veach doesn’t see the upcoming draft as a rebuild.
“When you have Pat Mahomes, I think we’re wired to go after it every year,” Veach told reporters in his pre-draft press conference Friday.
But it doesn’t mean trying to answer every move blow-for-blow, instead opting for longevity and consistency.
“And even though you may make moves and you may trade really good players; it doesn’t mean that there will be a counter punch in that we’ll try to be aggressive in another way,” Veach said. “I think you just have to be smart with what you do, and I think what’s needed to do that is Draft resources and cap space. Just because you trade away a great player doesn’t mean we’re in a rebuilding mode by any means. It just means we’re going to find a new set of resources and try to become aggressive.”
Kansas City heads into the first round with two picks — No. 29 and 30 overall — as well as two picks in the second, third and fourth rounds. With success in recent years has come splash moves — trading for Frank Clark and Orlando Brown, Jr., signing Tyrann Mathieu and Sammy Watkins.
Such moves can alter a franchise, just as losing players can.
“I always thought if you become a GM in this league and win a Super Bowl it is icing on the cake, a stress-free life, but it’s the complete opposite,” Veach said. “Every year you feel like it’s not good enough. I think in general, working in this profession, being in this league, everyone literally forgets what you did the year before. Every year it has to be something brand new and different. It motivates us and we are fortunate that we have guys that are wired to come in and compete every day.”