Just over a week away from their home opener against Cleveland, the Kansas City Chiefs have settled on a final roster and are ready to compete in 2021. After returning nearly every starter from 2019 last year, the team has turned over a fair amount of their roster in the offseason. They’ve brought in a supremely talented group of rookies and free agents to help compete for another Super Bowl.
The mastermind behind the Chiefs’ new look is general manager Brett Veach, who has called the shots in Kansas City’s front office since 2017. Speaking to reporters after the team’s roster cuts, Veach seemed enthused by the progress made by the Chiefs’ fourth-string tight end Jody Fortson, and trade acquisition at cornerback Mike Hughes.
Beginning with Fortson, Veach said he had developed well through the entire offseason process, earning his way to the 53-man roster with grit and a commitment to improvement.
“We saw the Jody Fortson of the spring, not the Jody Fortson of camp,” Veach explained of Fortson’s journey to the team. “I think it just doubles down on that mindset of just continuing to add players. At the time before training camp, if we can make the 90th player better than we have on our roster, just continue to do that because these guys do grow and develop at different rates, and if you have a conviction about a guy or you follow a guy’s process during college and early on in his career.”
He continued, speaking of his acquisition of Mike Hughes’ in May after a trade with Minnesota, and the team’s desire to constantly add talent to keep the competition fresh.
“You have an opportunity to go out and get guys like Mike Hughes,” he said of the former first-round pick. “He was a guy we liked coming out. That opportunity was there. We took it. Jody, we didn’t know, but we allowed him to continue to grow and develop. So, it really just doubles down on the mindset that you can never have enough good players and that continues from our 90 to our 53, now even into the practice squad. We’ll continue to watch guys and if we can get better on the practice squad guys, we’ll make moves there.”
The mentality Kansas City brings to its craft of player acquisition has been a strength in recent seasons. As they try to avoid the dreaded hangover that seems to plague championship teams after a loss in the Super Bowl, contributions from relatively unknown players could prove crucial for the sustained success of the Chiefs in 2021.