NFL Draft: Chiefs GM Brett Veach confirms Washington’s Trent McDuffie as one of 18 ‘first round’ targets

When you’re the goalkeeper of 12 picks in the NFL Draft (as the Kansas City Chiefs were when the first round opened Thursday night), it’s nearly impossible to imagine and play out every corner. Led by CEO Brett Veach, the Chiefs sought to do just that.

It turned out that they failed. And that was a very good thing.

“With our first pick, it’s funny because every year we go through what we think [is] every scenario possible, and we didn’t discuss McDuffie’s scenario,” Veach laughed during his press conference after the first round.

The “McDuffie scenario,” as the CEO described, was Washington cornerback Trent McDuffie slumped into the 1920s — and to be more precise, to pick number 21. Before the draft began, Veach had revealed that the Kansas City personnel department had 18 real first-round players. McDuffie was one of them.

Believing that a player of his caliber would not be available on pick 29, Veach called the New England Patriots, who were willing to trade 21 for 29, one of the Chiefs’ two third-rounders and one of their fourth-rounders. . Veach has summoned his man.

“If you make a move, you’re going to do it for a man you got in it [first-round] range, so we were able to do that,” Veach said. “I think the fact that we were aggressive to some degree shows” [and] gave you a tip on what you thought of McDuffie. We definitely thought he was one of those players, so we took that step.”

Veach called the 21-year-old to let him know the good news. It was more than just the player waiting to hear it.

“My family is huge,” McDuffie said, speaking to local Kansas City via Zoom media after round 1. “I feel like we’re the closest family ever, so during the draft I wanted to make sure my aunts, my uncles my grandparents – just everyone was there, everyone who supported me during my football career growing up could enjoy this moment with me.When I got the call, I saw Kansas City Chiefs, and I thought, ‘Wait a minute. Let me get out.’ Talking to Coach Reid, talking to Spagnuolo, talking to the Hunt family, and all of a sudden my family starts screaming. And I’m like, ‘Wait a minute. What am I missing here? What’s happening?’ I ran in and of course my name appeared on the screen and everyone started screaming.

“I thought, ‘Give me a minute, coach. This could take a minute or two. If I get a chance to talk to you guys, I’ll let you know.’ Honestly, it was just such an exciting moment – just being able to spend that time with my family, so it was great to be a part of that.”

Veach confirmed that the Chiefs never sent McDuffie to Kansas City for a visit, simply because it’s not necessary when it comes to some prospects. McDuffie said the Chiefs hosted him for an informal interview at the Scouting Combine, but that was it.

This team saw no chance of him being there near number 29…or even in the range of 29.

“I think we were determined to be selectively aggressive, and if a player like a Trent McDuffie was there, ‘Hey, let’s make a move and get him because he’s really good,’ said Veach. “Probably I wouldn’t have been there at 29. We were surprised he was there when we selected him with the New England pick, but I think that was our mindset, and we just followed the plan .”

The Buffalo Bills were number 25 and Veach felt the Chiefs should get ahead of them if they wanted to secure McDuffie.

†[Derek] Stingley and sauce [Gardner] went high, and we had a group of corners there,” Veach began. I only knew some team needs that were directly in front of us, and I believe Buffalo took a corner shortly after, and I believe he traded a spot as well.”

The Bills originally had the number 25 pick, but switched to 23 to take on Florida’s Kaiir Elam.

“We knew it was coming,” explains Veach. “We had called teams – choice before and choice after I believe – from New England trade, just to put ourselves in the position. The way the board fell and knowing that we are choosing here very late in this draft, and the chances of a guy like McDuffie at 21, let alone 29, were very low, so we thought it was the right time to take that step.”


Modeling his game after a famous name

McDuffie comes in at 5 feet 11 and 193 pounds, which some say is average or a little below par for a first-round cornerback. But press on that aspect, head coach Andy Reid didn’t seem too concerned.

“He’s big enough and he’s played against big receivers and done a good job,” said Reid. “We thought his mate was fine there.”

As a three-year starter in Washington, McDuffie amassed 94 tackles (71 solo), with eight defended passes, including two interceptions. Self-described as a defensive defender, more than just a cornerback, McDuffie mentioned a name during his first media chat that would be very familiar to most Chiefs fans.

“I almost see myself as a Tyrann Mathieu type,” he said of the 1.80m-9 All-Pro, “someone who will be able to go in and just play a bunch of different positions and just help the team however I can. That’s something very important for me to move forward, it’s just going in with the mentality of ‘While I can get on the pitch – however I can help this team’, I’m going to give it all put on to do it so I know this organization has a great defensive mentality so honestly very excited to be a part of this team.”

McDuffie had modeled his football career after the former Chief since the days when he looked up to him as a college player.

“Growing up, shooting, watching Tyrann Mathieu at LSU – he was one of those guys where he wasn’t the greatest,” continued McDuffie. †[Mathieu] wasn’t the fastest, but he would always make a game. And that’s something I always try to do in my game – just be that person who’s going to blink on the screen. You know? Just be that guy who is always around the football because I am a footballer and I want to create the best opportunities for my team. So just watching Tyrann Mathieu and watching him become a leader, how he practices, how he plays games – just the tenacity and the heart he gave is something I can look at and try to model my game.”

The Mathieu-esque aspect of his playing must have been translated into the film.

“Trent is a man who can get here on day one,” Veach said. “He has the right wiring, extreme knowledge of the game, three-year-old player, three-year starter, and it was definitely a position we wanted to tackle.”

McDuffie joins a corner room that Charvarius Ward lost to the San Francisco 49ers this offseason – so definitely needs more depth. With the second best corners after L’Jarius Sneed, Rashad Fenton and Deandre Baker, a rookie starting as an outside corner on Day 1 sounds like it could be the Chiefs’ expectation.

Given the lack of prior communication with the Chiefs, it all came as a surprise to McDuffie. Still, the call was well received.

“When I got that call, it was like, ‘Whoa! Kansas City? This is dope

One of the voices on the other side was defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo.

“Of course he just said to me, ‘Congratulations. Happy to have [you].’” McDuffie recalled. ‘We didn’t talk too much, because – of course – the evening went crazy. But I want to meet him [Friday]† I’m excited to sit down, get to know this defense, learn how to help the team. And I mean, move forward, shoot. I’m ready to go tomorrow… I’m just ready to play football right now.

“The design is finally done, I finally have the team, so I’m ready to just jump out, join the team and build those bonds.”

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