Deandre Baker was a late first-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft after the New York Giants traded up for him. After a solid rookie season, his NFL career was derailed after he and Quinton Dunbar were arrested in connection to a robbery in Florida. His charges would later be dropped but the damage was done since he was waived by the Giants in early September of 2020. He signed with the Chiefs in November of 2020 and appeared in two games that season before suffering a severe injury in Week 17 against the Chargers.
I don’t think it’s unfair to say that Baker’s NFL career has been disappointing, both in an on-field and off-the-field sense, for a former first-round pick. It’s also reasonable to say his tenure with the Chiefs has gone poorly. He was below average in coverage last year and struggled with tackling. He’ll have to fight for a spot on the active roster with Jaylen Watson and other reserves, such as DiCaprio Bootle and Luq Barcoo. This signing is not one that Veach will look back on with pride but there is still time for Baker to prove himself.
Mike Hughes was my favorite cornerback prospect prior to the 2018 NFL Draft so the fact that he flamed out in Minnesota after three seasons was a little unexpected. After the 2020 season, Hughes, along with a seventh-round selection in the 2022 NFL Draft, was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs in exchange for a sixth-round selection.
Hughes was a solid depth option for the Chiefs last season. While he isn’t a true #1 or #2 corner, he is an ideal depth corner who contributes on special teams. Although Hughes’ tenure in Kansas City was short, it did not lack excitement. He recorded the game-sealing interception against Baker Mayfield in Week 1 of last year’s opener against the Cleveland Browns. He also recorded a fumble-recovery touchdown on the very first play of the Week 14 game against the Las Vegas Raiders.
Hughes won’t be missed a ton, especially because the Chiefs brought in several rookies to help replace him and other departed defensive backs. Yet since Veach paid very little to acquire him, the Chiefs got solid value for a player that possibly could have been a summer cut for his original team.
Does Damon Arnette belong in this article? Probably not but Brett Veach thought it would be a good idea to sign him and decided to bring him in despite the legal issues that got him kicked off the Raiders in the middle of last season.
After signing in the middle of the 2021-22 playoffs, Arnette was arrested nine days after signing a reserve/futures contract in Kansas City. He was arrested on charges of assault with a deadly weapon, carrying a concealed weapon without a permit, and two counts of possession of controlled substances.
This is Brett Veach’s biggest miss when it comes to trying to revive the careers of former high draft picks. It took only nine days for the controversial signing to blow up in the organization’s face.
Lonnie Johnson Jr.
After attending the University of Kentucky, Lonnie Johnson Jr. was selected by the Houston Texans with the 54th overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. Outside of returning a blocked punt for a touchdown in the 2019 Divisional Round against the Chiefs, Johnson’s career hasn’t gone well. His coverage ability has been inconsistent and he’s also struggled with tackling for much of the time in Houston.
Johnson was traded by Houston to the Chiefs in exchange for a conditional 2024 seventh-round pick. He will reunite with former Texans teammate Justin Reid in Kansas City. Even though he is listed as a cornerback, I do not believe that Johnson will be just a cornerback in Kansas City. I believe that it makes sense for the Chiefs to also try him out at safety. In Houston, he spent the majority of last season, and the high majority of 2020, at the position.
Because Johnson hasn’t played a snap in Kansas City, there is still potential for him to be Brett Veach’s second successful reclamation project. But he was traded for basically nothing and the odds are against him working out.
What do you think of the players mentioned in this article? Are there any players available that you’d like Brett Veach and the Chiefs to take a chance on? Feel free to let me know in the comment section or on Twitter (@StrozinskyLucas).