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With free agency beginning in less than two weeks, the list of positions that the Kansas City Chiefs need to address this offseason has been well-established. One position you probably haven’t given a second thought to is offensive tackle — and that’s a good thing.

The Chiefs have been very fortunate with their starting offensive tackle duo. Left tackle Authentic Eric Fisher Jersey and right tackle Authentic Mitchell Schwartz Jersey are among the best duos at the tackle position in the NFL — mainly because of their availability. Before Fisher’s injury that sidelined him for half of 2019, the two tackles had played in every game during the first three years they were teammates. Fisher’s injury also showed how valuable he is to the team’s success. The offense’s ineffectiveness at times early on in the season can be directly related to the poor play of backup left tackle Cam Erving, who won’t be returning next season.

Schwartz will turn 31 this summer, and Fisher will begin the season at age 29. While the age should not disturb the team’s immediate plans, the two players’ contracts give reason to evaluate the future of the position.

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Fisher has two more seasons remaining on his current deal — but the team can cut him with minimal consequences next offseason. He would save $11.5 million in cap space just as he reaches the benchmark age of 30.

Schwartz also has only a couple of seasons left on his contract. There is no reason to consider cutting that off early, especially at a $10 million cap hit in 2021 — the sixth-highest among right tackles in the NFL. The Chiefs may consider extending him a season or two, depending on how long he wants to play.

To sum it up, it’s possible that neither player is on the Chiefs in 2022. If that is the case, there needs to be a plan for those positions now.

Other positions may not need to be evaluated as far out as this. Offensive tackle is unique in that it is rarely solved instantly with a high draft pick. Transitioning from college to the NFL is typically harder for tackles than most other positions. It may take time to add enough strength to hang with some of the NFL’s best defensive ends. Fisher is a good example: It took him multiple seasons to live up to the expectations of being the first player selected in the 2013 NFL Draft. He was looked at as a bust for his first few years — and now he’s a staple of a championship-winning offense.

The point being, the Chiefs need to be looking for young talent to groom sooner than later if the plan is for them to start in 2022. The evaluation process should begin by looking at the players currently on the roster.

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The player that would most likely be the backup tackle next season is offensive lineman Martinas Rankin. He is recovering from a patella injury that ended his 2019 season early — but he should be ready for the beginning of 2020. While Rankin does have the capability at tackle, I believe his efforts will be utilized more at one of the guard positions.

That leaves two offensive tackles on the team that are far from familiar faces. Tackles Authentic Greg Senat Jersey and Authentic Jackson Barton Jersey were both in their first year with the Chiefs in 2019.

Senat was originally drafted by the Baltimore Ravens late in the 2018 draft. At Wagner University, Senat initially was a basketball player — but decided to play football for the last two years of his career. He started all 22 games that he was a member of the football team at offensive tackle. Unfortunately, Senat has been placed on the IR in both of his NFL seasons — including this past year where the injury was undisclosed. At 6 feet 6 and over 300 pounds, Senat’s basketball background gives him a unique athleticism at the tackle position. He will have a chance to compete for the backup tackle position as the Chiefs move on from Erving.

Kansas City Chiefs Practice
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His only current competition is Barton (No. 68 seen above). Barton entered the league as a seventh-round draft pick by the Indianapolis Colts in 2019. The Chiefs poached him from the Colts’ practice squad in November and had him on the active 53-man roster all the way through the Super Bowl. He was a two-year starter at Utah University and earned first-team All-Pac 12 as a senior left tackle. Measuring in at 6 feet 7 and 310 pounds at the NFL Combine, Barton brings length and size to the field.

In an ideal world, one of these two players would develop into a starting tackle some time over the next couple of seasons. Realistically, it’s likely that neither reaches that level. There’s a reason most high-level offensive tackles were drafted early. If there is any reason to believe a prospect could turn into a legitimate starter, NFL teams won’t let them slip far down the draft board.

The 2020 NFL Draft class is a perfect showcase for this. Four offensive tackles could reasonably be picked in the top 10. Georgia’s Andrew Thomas, Alabama’s Jedrick Wills, Iowa’s Tristan Wirfs and Lousiville’s Mekhi Becton have all been identified as potential long-term starters.

The Chiefs aren’t in a position to spend any draft capital to trade up for an offensive tackle — but they need to do their homework on potential late-round prospects. Some names to remember:

Matthew Peart from the University of Connecticut measured in at 6 feet 7 and 318 pounds and almost 37-inch arms. That length, combined with his 30-inch vertical and 113-inch broad jump makes him an intriguing developmental pick.
Charlie Heck from North Carolina may sound familiar. That’s because he is the son of Chiefs offensive line coach Andy Heck. Charlie Heck stood out at the combine because of his 6-foot-8, 311-pound measureables. He started three seasons at tackle in college and has good bloodlines.
Terence Steele from Texas Tech University also has some ties to the Chiefs. Steele was a four-year starter at tackle for the Red Raiders — including his redshirt freshman year when he protected Chiefs quarterback Authentic Patrick Mahomes Jersey. Steele has the length at 6 feet 6 with 35-inch arms but would need some time to develop as a player.
The Chiefs only have five draft picks in 2020 — for now. There are positions more worthy of being selected with one of those slots. Still, the team needs to consider investing in the future at offensive tackle sooner rather than later.

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Based off the 4.43-second 40-yard dash he ran at the NFL scouting combine a few years ago, Sammy Watkins should win most races against the other Kansas City Chiefs veteran wide receivers, particularly with Tyreek Hill not competing because of his suspension.

But Watkins wasn’t winning the receiver sprints at a recent workout, prompting quarterback Patrick Mahomes to call him out for a lack of effort.

“It was a good thing because the next day I came in first just about almost every rep,” Watkins said. “[Mahomes] looked at me like, ‘Yeah.’ I was like, ‘Yeah, I got it, bro. I’m on it.’

“He’s the leader now. He kind of got on me a little bit, but that’s what we need from a guy that leads this team.”

Mahomes and the Chiefs need the best version of Watkins at least as long as Hill, who has been suspended indefinitely while authorities investigate his role in a child abuse case, remains out.

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Hill’s absence leaves Watkins unchallenged as the Chiefs’ No. 1 wide receiver. Their other top wideouts include Demarcus Robinson and rookie Mecole Hardman, their top draft pick.

Watkins was Kansas City’s third-leading receiver behind tight end Travis Kelce and Hill last season in his first year with the Chiefs and Mahomes.

“Their chemistry is good,” Reid said of Watkins and Mahomes. “For both of those two, everything is a little bit easier — all the verbiage, sorting it out and getting to where you’ve got to go. For Sammy, the routes are familiar and he kind of knows how to set them up and Patrick knows what he’s going to do against different coverages. So that’s been positive.”

Watkins’ first season with the Chiefs was most notable for a foot injury that prevented him from playing in six games. He caught 40 passes for 519 yards and three touchdowns.

Those numbers aren’t horrible considering Watkins was learning a new system and Mahomes also had to feed Kelce and Hill, among others. But they aren’t what the Chiefs expected when they signed him to a three-year, $48 million contract.

For that money, the Chiefs expect Watkins to produce big numbers and win his wind sprints, among other things.
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He recently promised on his Twitter account that he will have his best season and said he’s “sacrificing everything” to become that kind of player.

“My time,” Watkins said when asked what he’s sacrificing. “You can easily come here and do the right things, but are we doing the right things at home as far as watching film, eating the right things, taking care of your body. As a young guy, you can just … eat everything, hamburgers and everything. As I get older, I’m kind of like, man, my weight fluctuates up and down. I’m trying to really have a balanced meal plan and get the right rest and come here every day and put all my energy and my soul and my spirit into what I do.”

Watkins, the No. 4 overall pick of the 2014 NFL draft by the Buffalo Bills, won’t turn 26 until June 14, but his five NFL seasons leave him as the veteran among Chiefs’ wideouts. Other than Hill and Watkins, only the 24-year-old Robinson has significant NFL playing experience.

Watkins said that unlike last season, he’s planning to share his experience with the Chiefs’ many young receivers.

“You come to a team and you kind of sit back, try to observe,” Watkins said. “Now I’m just open with love and just trying to learn and continue to get better and every day bring that leadership mentality, speaking up in meetings. … I’m just really trying to focus on being a little more outspoken in trying to speak up for myself and do the right things.

“I’m a quiet guy, kind of humble. I kind of sit back and observe, I think. I’ve got to push past that. I’ve got to be that leader and speak up. … It’s been a great challenge.”

The Chiefs would settle for having Watkins fulfill his immense potential. Mahomes said he likes what he has seen of Watkins in offseason practice, one bad day of running sprints aside.

“He’s slimmed down,” Mahomes said. “He’s running really fast. He still has that power that you see every Sunday. For him to be out here working hard and you see it every single day, just stacking on top of each other, you know he’s primed and ready to go out there this season.”

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It speaks to all that is new in the Kansas City Chiefs secondary that many of the defensive backs approached safety Ron Parker this week for help in learning their responsibilities on defensive calls.

Parker signed with the Chiefs on Sunday.

The Chiefs have a lot of defensive backs who, in Parker’s words, are “trying to figure this thing out.” Of Kansas City’s 10 defensive backs, four have arrived in the past month and three in the past week. Three are rookies. Counting Parker as new, the Chiefs have seven defensive backs who’ve joined in the past six months.

So Parker, by virtue of spending the past four seasons as a starter for the Chiefs, qualifies as a tutor even though he was released by Kansas City last winter and spent training camp and the preseason with the Atlanta Falcons before being cut again.

“From the time I walked in, the guys have been asking questions and it seems like they’re trying to figure it out,” Parker said. “They’re trying to get it right now and there’s no time to wait.”

The Chiefs can’t afford to wait any longer for their secondary to come together. The regular season begins Sunday against the Chargers in Los Angeles.

The Chiefs have won eight consecutive games against the Chargers because they’ve defended against quarterback Philip Rivers so well. Rivers in those eight games has thrown 13 interceptions with six touchdown passes. His passer rating is a feeble 66.

Since then, the Chiefs have traded their No. 1 cornerback, Marcus Peters, who had four of the six interceptions against Rivers over the past four seasons.

The Chiefs also might be playing without either of the safeties who were starters when training camp began. Dan Sorensen is out with multiple leg injuries. Eric Berry missed practice yet again Wednesday because of what the Chiefs are calling a sore heel, raising questions about his availability for Sunday.

“When I’m playing with Eric, I can just look over there [to communicate],” Parker said. “I don’t have to say [anything]. We just make eye contact and we just know what each other is doing. With other guys, we have to communicate more, of course, because we haven’t spent as much time being on the field together.”

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Parker is likely to start against the Chargers whether Berry plays or not. At least he knows his way around. Three of the defensive backs who figure to play a lot Sunday — cornerbacks Kendall Fuller, Orlando Scandrick and Tremon Smith — will be playing for the Chiefs for the first time. Smith is a sixth-round draft pick. Four members of the Kansas City secondary have played against Rivers as members of the Chiefs.

“This secondary is solid,” Rivers said. “They’ve had some change. You’re not really sure what’s going to be what and where they’re going to be, but it’s still a talented group.”

“I know there’s been some negativity [about the Chiefs from the preseason], but I’m watching the tape and knowing the players and what that roster is about and what that coaching staff is about, and we know what Kansas City we’re going to get on Sunday.”

The Chiefs were dismal defensively in the preseason. Their starters allowed at least one touchdown pass to each of three backup quarterbacks. They might have been saved further embarrassment in the fourth game, when they didn’t play.

Since then, they’ve released their third cornerback, David Amerson.

“We’re rolling a lot of people in,” coach Andy Reid said. “We’re just trying to find what we can get away with on the defensive side, see who we’ve got and what they do best. Some of these are new faces. … You’ve got [to have] an idea and find out what you’ve got and how to use them and what their strengths are and try to play to their strengths.”

No matter their personnel, the Chiefs have been successful at getting Rivers off his game. He threw three interceptions in each game against the Chiefs last season, accounting for six of the 10 interceptions he threw all season.

For that, Rivers gave credit to the Chiefs and defensive coordinator Bob Sutton but said, “It’s also been a lack of what we’ve done in the sense we haven’t taken care of the football. It starts with me.”

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Former Mississippi State quarterback Tony Shell can curl his tongue into the back left corner of his mouth and remember the time Derrick Thomas hit him 30 years ago. It was the last Saturday in October, overcast and damp inside Davis Wade Stadium, and Shell made the mistake of not wearing a mouthpiece when Thomas, Alabama’s once-in-a-generation pass-rusher, tracked him down in the backfield, lowered his head and delivered the crushing blow.

Thomas’ helmet met squarely with Shell’s face mask, cracked the quarterback’s tooth and added yet another memento to what would go down as an unforgettable season.

“When it happened,” Shell said, “the hit, I saw a spark.”

Jeff Francis knows the feeling. The former Tennessee quarterback’s injury came at the hands of Thomas two weeks earlier, inside Neyland Stadium, and he still feels it today. Francis tried to escape to his right — “That didn’t work well,” he said sarcastically — and Thomas was on him in the blink of an eye, pulling Francis down to the ground, landing on his shoulder and creating a separation in the area of the collarbone that never fully healed.

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“He was just quick as a cat,” Francis said.

Not every hit from Thomas required medical attention, of course. Former Texas A&M quarterback Lance Pavlas said he was happy to escape with nothing but a “hurt ego” when Thomas sacked him a season-high five times in the final game of the regular season. And even then Pavlas’ confidence was lifted when Thomas was later inducted into both the Pro Football and College Football Halls of Fame.

Thirty years ago this fall, Thomas first etched his name in the history books when he recorded 27 sacks, a mark that still stands to this day.
Derrick Thomas could be the greatest pure pass-rusher ever to play college football. Courtesy of Crimson Tide Photos/UA Athletics
His death in 2000, at age 33 after a car crash, would rock the sport, but his legacy would live on as perhaps the greatest pure pass-rusher ever to play college football. Picture Von Miller or Jadeveon Clowney or another other modern-day edge rusher. You can trace them all back to Thomas, who could line up anywhere — standing up, his hand in the dirt, it didn’t matter — and get to the quarterback.

In an effort to capture exactly what it was like to play against him, ESPN spoke to eight of the 10 quarterbacks he sacked in 1988. Each of them had a story to tell about the weakside linebacker from Miami, the son of an Air Force captain and the pioneer of a new breed of defenders.

Three of those sacks came against a once-undersized, dual-threat quarterback out of Southwestern Louisiana (now the University of Louisiana). Brian Mitchell would go on to become a three-time All-Pro selection and Super Bowl champion as a running back and return specialist, but first he had to get his bell rung by Thomas on a breezy day inside Legion Field in Birmingham.

“People always ask me the hardest I’ve ever been hit in my life and I tell everybody it was by him in that game,” Mitchell said. “We were constantly worried about Derrick. I remember dropping to the left and then I set up to throw the ball and I got hit and I was hyperventilating. I jumped up and started running to the sidelines. I started at the 35-yard line and ended up at the 50 because I was a little dazed.”

Mitchell remembers getting back to his apartment on campus after the game and asking his girlfriend, “Is there a little bruise on my back?”

“She said, ‘Little bruise?! It’s damn near half your back!'” Mitchell recalled. “I had never taken a hit like that.”

Thomas had what can only be described as a presence.

It wasn’t his size that impressed you. At 6-foot-4, he checked in at a relatively trim 230 pounds.

It wasn’t his voice, either. He might have been taken one pick ahead of Deion Sanders in the first round of the 1989 NFL draft, but Thomas wasn’t flashy like “Prime Time.”
Teams tried to devise a game plan against Thomas, but nothing seemed to slow him down. Allen Steele/Getty Images
“He was intimidating because he went about his business,” Mitchell said. “There are some people that do a lot of talking on the field. Some people, like Reggie White, they’re the nicest people in the world but still you have to respect what they can do. Derrick was kind of more on the Reggie White-type situation where he didn’t do all the talking, he just made play after play. That’s where his intimidation came from, the fact that you knew what he was capable of. And I think you fear and you give more respect to the guy that doesn’t say a lot. They do what they’re supposed to do and they go back to the huddle. That’s the guy you can’t figure out. The guy that’s doing a lot of talking, they give you a way of countering what they do. But he didn’t do any of that. He kept you guessing.”

What struck former Ole Miss quarterback Mark Young most, though, was Thomas’ intensity and just how “fierce” he was. It was like he was a man among boys, Young said. He had so much confidence, everything looked easy.

“Just the way he carried himself, the charisma he had,” Young said. “I’ll equate it to Tiger Woods. Tiger Woods, you know 10 years ago when he was dominating, when he walks onto a golf course, especially in his prime, it was like he walked out there and carried this aura about him, this charisma about him that, ‘I’m better than you. I’m the best on the field.’ That’s what it was. He’d line up and it was like, ‘You can’t block me.’ It was like he could call his shot. ‘I’m going to come at this angle right here, I’m going to use this move on you, and you won’t be able to stop me.’ And he was just that dominant.”

Teams tried to concoct a game plan for Thomas. They tried keeping a running back or a tight end in to chip him at the line of scrimmage. They would try sliding an extra offensive lineman over to help. Maybe they’d try both, and even those triple-teams didn’t work all the time.

Not everyone warrants that kind of attention, but former LSU quarterback Tommy Hodson said Thomas definitely did.

“I just remember we always had to account for him all the time and have two people blocking him,” he said. “But obviously we didn’t do a very good job because he had three sacks.”

Texas A&M, for its part, tried to get rid of the ball quickly. But, as Pavlas said, “If you held onto it just a little too long, he’d be there.”

Temple, meanwhile, tried to steer clear of him by having former quarterback Matt Baker run the triple option. The problem? Alabama caught on to the Owls’ motions, taking the pitch back away.

“So you imagine yourself: It’s you against him,” Baker said. “It was not a good feeling. I remember a couple of times, even when you tried to use some athletic ability to fake him or anything of that nature just to get him off balance — again I go back to the redirect he had, you just couldn’t. He would size you up and put you down. I remember one time he just smoked me right in the chest and just rung my bell a little bit. Todd McNair, who was my running back and played for the Chiefs for a while as well, I remember him coming to the sideline and saying, ‘Hey, he knows what we’re doing.’ They were taking him away. Then it was me against Derrick Thomas. Now who is going to win that battle? It was like getting hit by a truck, it really was.”
Texas A&M quarterback Lance Pavlas is sacked by Thomas in 1988, a familiar occurrence for QBs facing the Tide that season. AP Photo/David Breslauer
If there was a common refrain from opponents, it was just how impressed they were with Thomas’ quickness. To be that big and that fast and that strong was almost unfair.

As it turns out, he was so unique that he’s credited with creating the position of edge rusher.

“I think he was kind of the prototype,” Pavlas said. “He was kind of the cutting edge of what the outside linebacker was becoming. He was a tremendous athlete, great quickness. He had a unique agility that you saw only on offensive players.”

Said former Auburn quarterback Reggie Slack: “He was one of the players that made that position one of the new glamour positions. … For an offensive coordinator or an offensive tackle and quarterback to go into a game and know that the guy coming off the corner there like Derrick Thomas, with all the skill set he has, is definitely something you had to be concerned about.”

It’s silly, really. Twenty-seven sacks in a single season? That just doesn’t happen.

Central Michigan’s Joe Ostman and Arkansas State’s Ja’Von Rolland-Jones finished Nos. 1 and 2 in sacks per game last season, respectively, and they combined for 27 sacks. The closest anyone has come to Thomas’ mark in the past decade was in 2014, when Washington’s Hau’oli Kikaha and Utah’s Nate Orchard each had 19.

Ironically, some of the quarterbacks ESPN spoke to didn’t even know they were part of what’s viewed as one of the game’s most unattainable records.

“We don’t get caught up in stats, but that’s phenomenal,” Hodson said. “Twenty-seven sacks? I did not know that.”

But even the sacks don’t tell the full story.

“I just remember we always had to account for him all the time and have two people blocking him. But obviously we didn’t do a very good job because he had three sacks.”
Former LSU quarterback Tommy Hodson
To be clear, what you’re about to read isn’t a typo. This is Thomas’ actual stat line from the 1988 season: 88 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, 27 sacks, 44 quarterback pressures and two blocked kicks.

“Forty-four pressures?” Baker said. “Oh my Lord. That is just astounding.”

“Um, well, that’s just astonishing,” Shell said. “I lived it, but to think about that, nobody does that kind of stuff.”

“I think that sums it up,” Baker said. “Derrick Thomas, the best.”

To a man, no one who played against Thomas was surprised when he was drafted fourth overall by the Kansas City Chiefs in 1989, made the first of nine Pro Bowls as a rookie that season and led the league in sacks a year later.

Mitchell, who was drafted in the NFL a year after Thomas, said that to this day he’s never seen anyone quite like him. Asked if he reminded him of anyone in particular, Mitchell had to name a few of the game’s greats.

“Dwight Freeney with a Von Miller with a little Reggie White in him,” he said. “The thing about Derrick was he was as quick as those guys, he had that spin move like a Freeney, but he was powerful enough to go through you. I don’t think one person really lives up to what he was in my book.”

When Thomas was left paralyzed from the chest down following a car crash in late January 2000, it sent shock waves through the NFL and college football. Two weeks later, at 33, he died of a pulmonary embolism.

Slack got the call from a friend in tears. Like so many others, he couldn’t believe it. Baker, for his part, said he was “totally taken aback” when he got the news.

“It was one of those situations where when you hear it you can’t believe it,” Mitchell said. “I’ll be honest with you, I was a fan of Derrick Thomas. When you get to the pros, you’re at the peak of your career, but there were still guys I looked up to and loved watching play, a lot of guys I played in college. And he was definitely one of those guys I watched and wanted to see have success. And then when I heard he was no longer with us, it was a somber moment. For me, as much as I try to be Mr. Tough Guy, I can be emotional and I cried.”

According to the Associated Press, Thomas’ funeral lasted more than five hours and featured 11 speakers, including Hall of Fame linebacker Lawrence Taylor. Among the floral arrangements at the service was a bouquet that read “Bama 55.”

All these years later, Mitchell said he remembers Thomas being a genuine person.

“Down-to-earth, fun-loving,” he said. “But when he got on the football field, he knew how to flip that switch.”

People can talk all they want about Clowney and Myles Garrett and whoever the next so-called star pass-rusher is. But to those who played against him, there has never been and nor will there ever be another Derrick Thomas.
Ask Hodson and he’ll tell you that if they put Thomas in today’s pass-happy SEC versus the run-heavy conference it was then, he would have had even more sacks — “no doubt,” he said.

“He could do whatever he wanted to do and we couldn’t block him,” Young said. “I hate to say that with my buddies on the front line, but he was just that dominant. I remember one time he drilled me in the back. … He just drilled me. He had such power, but he was just an incredible athlete. His speed, his quickness, and then power. And his ability to cover. Like I said, out of all the guys I played against — unbelievable, unbelievable defensive guys — and Derrick Thomas is No. 1 of all time for me.”

Said Pavlas: “I am proud I got the chance to play against him and probably added to his sack total quite a bit. But at least I got the chance to play against someone that special.”

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — We won’t know for some time whether Brett Veach’s maneuvers will make the Kansas City Chiefs better or help them break out of the playoff rut they’ve been stuck in for more than two decades.

For now, his efforts deserve some applause.

Veach, who took over as the Chiefs’ general manager last July, completed his sixth trade this week. He’s on quite a pace, almost a trade for every month on the job.

The latest move will alter the course of the franchise, for better or worse. The Chiefs sent quarterback Alex Smith to Washington in exchange for cornerback Kendall Fuller and a third-round draft pick.

That’s not a bad haul for Smith, considering he’ll turn 34 in May and is heading into the final season of his contract. The Chiefs, who are missing a first-round pick because of last year’s deal for quarterback Patrick Mahomes II, needed an extra draft choice. They aren’t looking at Fuller as a throw-in, but perhaps the bigger piece and a likely starter.

Throwing out Veach’s two minor deals — the Chiefs last September traded a couple of reserve linemen for conditional seventh-round picks — he’s unloaded Smith, backup linebacker D.J. Alexander, a fifth-round pick this year and a fourth-rounder in 2019.

All were, for the Chiefs, expendable parts. Smith had his best season last year, but the Chiefs needed to move him to make room for Mahomes. Alexander was a good special-teams player, but the Chiefs saw him as a liability on defense. The draft picks were middle-rounders.

In return, the Chiefs received Fuller, Washington’s third-round pick, linebackers Kevin Pierre-Louis and Reggie Ragland and offensive lineman Cam Erving. Ragland, like Fuller, will probably start next season. Pierre-Louis showed last year he has value and next season has a chance to be a regular, depending on other moves the Chiefs make. Erving might never be more than a backup, but he’s a former first-round draft pick and worth the look.

The pick from Washington isn’t a premium choice, but the Chiefs have done good work in recent years in the third round. The Chiefs have found tight end Travis Kelce and running back Kareem Hunt in the third round since Veach has been involved in the process.

It’s a concern the Chiefs are trading draft picks, particularly in a year when they don’t have a first-round choice. But they received one from Washington and will probably get a compensatory choice as well. Overthecap.com, which does a good job of projecting comp picks, suggests the Chiefs will get a sixth-round pick for losing quarterback Nick Foles in free agency last year.

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Veach’s explanation for making some of these moves was a good one.

“We’re always going to value draft picks and we’re always going to build through the draft,” Veach said last year after trading for Ragland and Erving. “They’re just unique situations where if you can acquire younger players on their rookie [contracts] that you like, you have to look at [them]. You’ll have opportunities to recoup some picks in regards to those compensatory picks. We’ll get some of those back.

“If you’re able to get Reggie up and running … that’s potentially a 2018 [second-, third- or fourth-round pick] that you’re not using on [an inside] linebacker,” Veach said. “That’s a trade-off. Now there’s a gamble because the kid has to get back to where he was. But if you believe in the kid and the player on tape and you believe in your training staff and the information that you’ve been given … those are gambles that we’re willing to take.”

It will be interesting to see the other moves Veach makes in the next couple of months. Given his record since he’s been in charge, rest assured they’re coming.