Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid talks with reporters...

Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid talks with reporters during an AFC coaches availability at the NFL owners meetings, Monday, March 25, 2024, in Orlando, Fla. Credit: AP/Phelan M. Ebenhack

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Chiefs general manager Brett Veach tends to stick with the well-worn mantra of taking the “best player available” when the NFL draft rolls around.

However he also is willing to acknowledge that sometimes specific needs might make that a challenge.

There are couple of very specific needs as Kansas City prepares to make its selections beginning April 25.

The Chiefs won their second consecutive Super Bowl, and third in five years, despite a wide receiver group that struggled with drops, poor productivity and seldom provided a big play. In fact, the Chiefs had to swing a midseason trade with the Jets to bring back Mecole Hardman, who is hardly a No. 1 option, just to give their wide receiver group some depth.

The Chiefs thought they had begun to address the deficiency when they signed “Hollywood” Brown in free agency, pairing the injury-prone speedster with Rashee Rice, a breakout star a year ago. But Rice is facing felony charges in connection with a chain-reaction traffic crash in Texas, and nobody quite knows how much — or if at all — he will be able to play this upcoming season.

So, wide receiver is back to being the biggest need in the draft for Kansas City.

"I think much like any position, we're always looking to get better," Veach said. “We put a high priority on the depth in our roster, so we’ll attack that much like we do all positions and try to get the very best players we can.”

Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid throws out the...

Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid throws out the first pitch before a baseball game between the Kansas City Royals and the Minnesota Twins Thursday, March 28, 2024, in Kansas City, Mo. Credit: AP/Charlie Riedel

Given the Chiefs are due to pick last in the first round, it helps their cause that wide receiver is among the deepest positions in the draft. Three are expected to go in the top 10 and six or more could go before the first night has concluded.

The other priority for Kansas City is left tackle, where Donovan Smith hit free agency and the position largely remains vacant.

Wanya Morris was shaky when he got opportunities to play as a rookie, and he may need more seasoning before he is tasked with protecting Patrick Mahomes' blind side. Lucas Niang is another option, but he has struggled to stay healthy.

Other positions where the Chiefs could add some depth including running back, tight end and defensive back.

“Every team’s process is a little bit different and unique. We have ours and there’s always a chance to refine and tune things,” Veach said. “Again, I think in this league because of such a long season — I’m talking a 20-game season, it’s a marathon, you have to attack every position with a mindset of having that depth because it’s not a matter of if, but when, players go down.”

NEEDS

Wide receiver and left tackle are not the only needs. The Chiefs also could use more help at running back, even after bringing back Clyde Edwards-Helaire on a prove-it deal, and perhaps another tight end to groom for post-Travis Kelce life.

DON’T NEED

The Chiefs chose to keep one of the league's best defenses intact, re-signing All-Pro defensive tackle Chris Jones to a mammoth deal along with five other regulars. So after drafting heavily on defense the past few years, the Chiefs are largely good on that entire side of the ball, though they might take a late flier on a pass rusher or defensive back.

PICK ’EM

The Chiefs have the final pick in each round after winning their second straight Super Bowl and third in five years, so unless they make a trade, their initial selection will be No. 32 overall. They have late picks in each of the rounds except for the fifth, where a trade with Dallas last year moved them up and they also have a compensatory selection.

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