National Football League
Chiefs GM Brett Veach on drafting Patrick Mahomes, not drafting DK Metcalf
National Football League

Chiefs GM Brett Veach on drafting Patrick Mahomes, not drafting DK Metcalf

Published Apr. 18, 2024 2:29 p.m. ET

Brett Veach has been the architect of the best era of Kansas City Chiefs football, with the team winning three Super Bowls in the past five seasons (2019, 2022 and 2023) under the general manager's watch. This all started, of course, when the Chiefs drafted superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

What did Veach and the Chiefs see in Mahomes in 2017, and what was their reasoning for sitting him for most of his rookie season? Veach, who credits his brother for getting him into NASCAR, discussed Kansas City's approach with Mahomes in his rookie year on the latest edition of "Kevin Harvick's Happy Hour."

"We knew Pat had a ton of talent, can make any throw asked of him, super athletic, smart, but [he] didn't have a lot of experience with some of the NFL blitz package stuff," Veach told host Kevin Harvick. "Alex Smith, on the other hand, was a veteran that has been there, done that, super smart. … It was just a great setup we had where we thought we can bring Pat in here and have him learn and see the game not only through Coach [Andy] Reid's eyes, but see it through Alex Smith's eyes. Understand the mental side of things, and then when he does have to play, he can just cut it loose because he's absorbed the system and the terminology for a year. 

"Now, we had that luxury, and we were able to do that because we had a Pro Bowl-caliber quarterback on the final stages of his contract. Some teams don't have that luxury."


Kansas City traded up to select Mahomes with the No. 10 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft out of Texas Tech. Smith was among the better quarterbacks in the NFL at that time, and he actually went on to have arguably his best season after the Chiefs selected Mahomes. Smith finished the 2017 regular season with a career-best 4,042 passing yards, 26 passing touchdowns and an NFL-best 104.7 passer rating, while also rushing for 355 yards.

The Chiefs traded Smith to Washington in the 2018 offseason, making Mahomes their new starter, and the rest is history. Mahomes threw for an NFL-high 50 touchdowns in his first full season under center (2018) and then led the sport in passing yards (5,250) and passing touchdowns (41) in 2022. He's a three-time Super Bowl MVP, two-time NFL MVP, two-time All-Pro and six-time Pro Bowler.

Veach became Kansas City's general manager in 2017 and has been part of the franchise since 2013, also serving as a pro and college personnel assistant and co-director of player personnel. He started his career working in various capacities for the Philadelphia Eagles from 2004 to 2012. 

Veach and Reid have worked in the same building since 2004, as Reid was the head coach of the Eagles from 1999-2012 before getting fired and taking over the Chiefs in 2013.

As for his draft misses? Veach identified Seattle Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf.

Brett Veach on Patrick Mahomes, draft strategy, biggest draft miss

"Sometimes you don't take guys and fans do the mock drafts, and they go through them years later and are like, ‘We should've taken this guy or that guy,'" Veach said. "But at the time, a player could've been off your board because you had character concerns or an injury concern. I think, looking back on DK, there were areas that we weren't sure on, but there were none maybe that should've prompted us to bypass [him]. I think that's one player that sticks out."

Seattle selected Metcalf with the No. 64 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft out of Ole Miss, and he has become one of the best receivers in the sport. A two-time Pro Bowler, the 6-foot-4 Metcalf has posted 1,000-plus receiving yards three times and finished with 10-plus receiving touchdowns twice.

Veach & Co. have had a lot of moving pieces this offseason, releasing wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling and trading cornerback L'Jarius Sneed to the Tennessee Titans. At the same time, the Chiefs have re-signed star defensive tackle Chris Jones, defensive end Michael Danna and linebacker Drue Tranquill, while adding former Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Marquise Brown, among other moves.

Kansas City has seven selections in the 2024 NFL Draft (Nos. 32, 64, 95, 131, 159, 173 and 221). 

[Want great stories delivered right to your inbox? Create or log in to your FOX Sports account, follow leagues, teams and players to receive a personalized newsletter daily.]

FOLLOW Follow your favorites to personalize your FOX Sports experience
Kansas City Chiefs
Patrick Mahomes
DK Metcalf

Get more from National Football League Follow your favorites to get information about games, news and more