It was this pick that put the 2021 draft class over the top for the Kansas City Chiefs.
Given the success at the very top of the draft, from the instant impacts of Humphrey and Bolton to the addition of Brown to the line as the new left tackle, the Chiefs were already looking at a successful draft class. After all, any time a team adds three starters from a single draft class, it’s a solid haul of rookies.
However, it was the sleeper pick all the way into the sixth round—and the very last pick of the Chiefs draft—that helped Veach draw such rave reviews overall. That’s because Trey Smith has been every bit of the mauler and game-wrecker that fans hoped he might be at the pro level.
Many teams took Smith off of their draft boards entirely with his medical history in college—including blood clots during his sophomore season at the University of Tennessee—but a clear med check from K.C.’s training staff allowed them to take the chance on Smith. In return, the Chiefs got an instant starter at right guard and another key addition to a remade offensive front.
Smith has already been called one of the top 20 interior linemen in the NFL after a single season, and if there’s any player who should make a great leap in his second year, it’s Smith. He was a man among boys at the highest levels of college where he felt quite at home in the trenches in Knoxville. Now that he has a body of experience against the AFC West and the best efforts of other NFL teams, Smith should be chomping at the bit to let his instincts take over instead of mentally processing so much week after week.
It’s quite possible the Chiefs have the best 1-2 players at left guard, center, and right guard by the end of the year. It’s been a long, long time since the Chiefs had the sort of line that so obviously imposed their will, but they seem on the verge of that sort of era once again.