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From the moment he took over the Kansas City Chiefs
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KANSAS CITY Sheldrick Redwine Jersey , Mo. — general manager Brett Veach has been willing to go out on a limb, whether it was signing a big-name free agent or swinging a trade or releasing a well-known player.Now, he will finally have a chance to show what he can do in the draft.Veach was hamstrung last year by the decision in 2017 to trade away the Chiefs’ first-round pick and move up to 10th overall and select Patrick Mahomes.And while nobody is lamenting that decision after the quarterback’s record-breaking MVP season, it still left Veach without a first-round choice in his first draft — a big challenge when it comes to plugging holes in a roster.He will have the No. 29 choice this year after the Chiefs came within an overtime of beating New England and reaching the Super Bowl. But he also has an additional second-round choice from the trade of volatile cornerback Marcus Peters to the Rams, and that means ample opportunity to get creative.“The fact we have a one and two twos, and then a one and two twos next year, puts us in a position to be aggressive from now until the start of the season,” Veach said. “Looking toward not just next season, but for the next two, three Kaleb McGary Jersey , four, five years, if you’re not proactive in your approach, then you’re always chasing your tail.”Veach is one of the more open GMs in the league, willing to offer his opinion on just about any subject. But when it comes to discussing details, he’s as savvy and coy as a card shark.Then again, it doesn’t take a genius to realize help on defense will top his draft to-do list.The Chiefs fired coordinator Bob Sutton, ditched his 3-4 system and hired Steve Spagnuolo to put in a 4-3 scheme. They’ve already made a series of moves to create better fits for their personnel, but they still need help getting to the passer and in the defensive backfield.Fortunately for the Chiefs, this year’s draft is particularly deep in both areas.“I’m always looking for a smart, aggressive Kendall Sheffield Jersey , tough-minded defense,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid. “You don’t have to be the fastest guy, but effort becomes a huge thing for me. Toughness becomes huge for me. The ability to make plays, understand the game — that’s important.”So with that framework in mind, here are some areas of need heading into the draft:100 Gallery:View from the sidelines: NFL cheerleaders 2018Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports | Raj MehtaPRESSURING THE PASSERThe Chiefs signed Alex Okafor and traded for Emmanuel Ogbah, but they still need help. They hope Clemson DE Clelin Ferrell could fall to them late in the first round, and Montez Sweat of Mississippi State and TCU’s L.J. Collier are also possibilities.PLAYING CENTER FIELDThe Chiefs released longtime but injury prone safety Eric Berry and signed Tyrann Mathieu in free agency, but they may not be done at safety. Jordan Lucas and Daniel Sorensen have some experience and Armani Watts made great strides before a season-ending injury as a rookie, but quality depth remains important. Someone such as Maryland’s Darnell Savage might fit nicely.ON THE OUTSIDEKendall Fuller excelled in his first season in Kansas City, and Bashaud Breeland joined in free agency. But things are thin beyond those two, making cornerback arguably the biggest need in the draft. Georgia standout Deandre Baker John Cominsky Jersey , Greedy Williams of LSU and Rock Ya-Sin of Temple all have the kind of size and athleticism that the Chiefs value on the outside.WHAT ABOUT WIDEOUT?Tyreek Hill‘s uncertain legal situation — he was involved in a child welfare case — means the Chiefs could be on the lookout for a wide receiver in the middle rounds.HELP ELSEWHEREOffensive and defensive lines always seem to be a priority for Reid, himself an old-school O-line coach. The Chiefs lost center Mitch Morse in free agency and could use not only depth, but also a player with upside who could develop into a potential starter. Jim Schwartz inherited one of the NFL’s worst defenses and turned them into one of the best in less than two years. When coach Doug Pederson hired Schwartz to be the defensive coordinator in 2016, the Philadelphia Eagles were coming off three straight seasons ranked in the bottom four in yards allowed. Schwartz changed the scheme back to a 4-3 base and rebuilt the defense using many of the same players left from the old regime. He also brought a swagger that’s reflected in his players. Three-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, two-time Pro Bowl safety Malcolm Jenkins, defensive linemen Brandon Graham and Beau Allen, and linebacker Mychal Kendricks were part of the unit that struggled under former coach Chip Kelly and former defensive coordinator Billy Davis. But they’ve thrived under Schwartz because his system fits their skills. ”He always puts us in great position to make plays,” Jenkins said. Schwartz made an immediate impact last season, helping the defense go from 30th in yards allowed and 28th in points to 13th and 12th, respectively. This season, they ranked fourth in both categories and had the league’s No. 1 run defense. While Minnesota’s top-ranked defense got most of the attention Qadree Ollison Jersey , Philadelphia’s unit has been excellent in the playoffs. The Eagles have allowed only 17 points in two games – one touchdown drive was 18 yards following a fumbled punt. They dominated the Vikings in a 38-7 win in the NFC championship game last Sunday. Now, Schwartz has to devise a plan to stop Tom Brady and the Patriots in the Super Bowl. ”No player stands on his own,” Schwartz said. ”The NFL in general, but particularly the Patriots, you can’t scheme for one player. If you do, then they have plenty of other players that can make plays. You have to do a good job against their entire offense, and you can’t really make it about one person.” Schwartz began his NFL coaching career in Cleveland as a research assistant for Bill Belichick in 1993. After three seasons with the Browns, he spent three years as outside linebackers coach in Baltimore and then went to Tennessee. Schwartz served 10 seasons with the Titans, the last eight as defensive coordinator. He coached the Detroit Lions for five seasons, leading them to the playoffs in 2011. Schwartz was Doug Marrone’s defensive coordinator in Buffalo in 2014, worked as a consultant for the NFL’s officiating department in 2015 and came to Philadelphia after Pederson was hired to replace Kelly. ”I owe a lot to Bill Belichick. He got my career started Ed Oliver Jersey ,” Schwartz said. ”That’s the last thing that we’ll be thinking about in preparation. You think any of our players care that in 1993 I got hired as an unpaid intern? They are just going out and playing. ”We need to come up with a good plan. We need to execute. We need to keep in mind what we’re good at, keep in mind our matchups and all those different things. And if we do a good enough job at that, we’ll be able to come out with a victory.” Schwartz holds players accountable in meetings, singling guys out if they make mistakes. But he does it in a way where he doesn’t alienate them. ”He cares about winning. That’s what he’s all about, not himself,” defensive end Chris Long said. Despite Schwartz’s success in Philadelphia, he won’t be leaving for another head coaching job just yet. The New York Giants and Arizona Cardinals were interested, but Schwartz wouldn’t confirm whether he interviewed with either team. ”I think it’s not fair to our players or anything else to talk about anything else,” Schwartz said. — AP NFL website: