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So, he used the entire draft to address them.
After using their first three picks on that side of the ball, Veach used the final day of the draft to select three more on Saturday.
Texas A&M safety Armani Watts went in the fourth round, cornerback Tremon Smith went in the sixth round and defensive tackle Kahlil McKenzie went two picks later.
They joined Ole Miss pass rusher Breeland Speaks, Florida State defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi and Clemson linebacker Dorian O’Daniel in filling out the Chiefs’ defense-heavy draft class.
« Listen, all drafts are unique in their own way in regards to those players and the positions you feel the depth is, » Veach said. « Every year is different. »
Evidently, there was plenty of talent available on defense this year 鈥?so much so that the Chiefs think one of their picks can play the other side of the ball.
McKenzie worked out at guard for the Chiefs at the combine, and is talented enough that they want to give him a shot there.
The Chiefs figure to be one of the most explosive offenses in the league next season, even with new quarterback Patrick Mahomes II. Reigning rushing champ Kareem Hunt, speedy Pro Bowl wide receiver Tyreek Hill and star tight end Travis Kelce join Watkins in giving coach Andy Reid plenty of options.
But there were numerous holes on an aging defense, one that was gutted by the Tennessee Titans in the playoffs last season.
The Chiefs moved on from erstwhile linebackers Derrick Johnson and Tamba Hali, released safety Ron Parker and even traded their top cover corner, Marcus Peters.
They made a couple of moves in free agency, signing linebacker Anthony Hitchens and defensive tackle Xavier Williams, but chose to primarily fill out a defense in need of a nasty streak through the draft.
« Your expectations are always for guys to come in and compete for starting job, or see a lot of playing time Josh Jackson Jersey Elite , and the higher you pick the more confident you are in those guys coming in, » Veach said. « You hope those guys will come in and play right away, or be part of a steady rotation. »
The Chiefs didn’t have a first-round pick, but Veach was high on the three defensive players he added on the second day. The trio of selections Saturday provides depth, special teams talent and massive upside.
Here is a closer look at the Chiefs’ draft class:
SPEAKING OF STARTING: Speaks probably has the best chance to get on the field right away, especially if outside linebacker Dee Ford’s recovery from a back injury takes longer than expected. Even then, Speaks is a better-rounded prospect and could soon find himself starting opposite Justin Houston.
« You want safeties and you want corners, » Veach said, « but you have to affect the quarterback. You can’t go out there and play 7-on-7. And we looked at it as the last chance to get a guy. »
RIVAL ROOKIE: McKenzie’s father is Reggie McKenzie, the longtime NFL linebacker and the current GM of the AFC West-rival Oakland Raiders. « I didn’t talk to the dad, » said Chiefs area scout Pat Sperduto, » but I’ve talked to the kid a bunch of times. It was kind of a chuckle when we took his son. »
DEFENSIVE LINE DEPTH: Nnadi also could slide into the rotation right away, and his development will be important in the near future. Allen Bailey, Rakeem Nunez-Roches and Jarvis Jenkins are free agents after next season, and Williams and Chris Jones hit free agency the following offseason.
THE LATE PICKS: Watts was a four-year starter for Texas A&M and could slide into Parker’s spot alongside star safety Eric Berry. He was a third-team All-American after making 82 tackles and four picks as a senior, and a name the Chiefs didn’t expect to fall to them.
Smith was a tackling machine at Central Arkansas, and at 6-foot and 190 pounds Quenton Nelson Color Rush Jersey , possesses the kind of size the Chiefs covet in a man-press cornerback. McKenzie is a mammoth, 320-pound defensive lineman who has the talent, makeup and lower-body strength to transition to offensive guard.
« We try to make it not complicated. Just watch the tape, » Veach said, « and these guys play hard. Sometimes you get cute. Every little test, agility test, bend and this and that. Just an old rule of thumb: Does he make plays? Does he play hard? And these guys do. »
Ricky Rubio waited seven years for a night like this.
Rubio, who never reached the playoffs in his first six seasons with Minnesota, had 26 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists for Utah’s first playoff triple-double in 17 years to help lead the Jazz to a 115-102 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday night.
”We were down by 10 … and I just changed my mentality, trying to be more aggressive and make some shots,” Rubio said. ”We made a run and it helps a lot when you’re making shots and it felt great.”
At one point, Rubio walked toward half-court with his arms outstretched, drinking in the deafening roar and subsequent ”RU-BI-O! RU-BI-O!” chants from the fans.
Donovan Mitchell added 22 points for Utah, which took a 2-1 lead in its first-round series with Oklahoma City.
Rubio has never been known as a knockdown shooter, but his recent accuracy has opened new opportunities for his playmaking.
”Ricky attacked,” Utah coach Quin Snyder. ”He attacked Mike McGlinchey Jersey , but with poise and he was making some shots. I thought he took good shots and it really stabilized our group.”
The Spaniard has previously recorded five triple-doubles in his career and has played in big EuroLeague and Olympic games, but different than the energy and pressure of the NBA playoffs.
”He was on, in so many ways,” Mitchell said.
Joe Ingles, who had 21 points, made two 3-pointers around two free throws to spark a 13-0 surge that ended on Mitchell’s 3 to put Utah up by 20 points in the fourth quarter. The big run was just par for the course in a series characterized by large runs by one team, then countered by the other.
Rubio’s triple-double was the first by a Jazz player in the postseason since John Stockton in the 2001 playoffs against Dallas.
”Having my name next to his name is an honor,” Rubio said of joining the Hall of Famer in making franchise history. ”I have huge respect for him.”
Paul George scored 23 points and Carmelo Anthony, Russell Westbrook and Raymond Felton each had 14 for the Thunder. Westbrook also had 11 rebounds and nine assists, just missing his ninth playoff triple-double but also had eight turnovers and shot 5 for 17.
Rudy Gobert’s dunk and pair of free throws capped a 9-0 run in the third quarter to give Utah an 84-70 lead. Minutes later, Rubio hit a running 28-foot 3-pointer to make it 89-75 entering the final period.
The Jazz changed coverages on Westbrook throughout the game and surprised the perennial All-Star with different players in his expected passing lanes.
Utah also outrebounded the Thunder 48-33 and seemed much quicker to the loose balls in the midst of a charged atmosphere. The Jazz’s hustle plays energized the packed arena festooned in the colors of Southern Utah – red, orange and yellow.
With Utah trailing 47-43, Rubio scored 10 consecutive Jazz points and his 3-pointer and subsequent three free throws gave Utah a 53-49 lead.
Rubio, playing just his third playoff game in his seven-year NBA career, had 19 at the half and the Jazz led 58-53.
The Thunder, shot 16 for 24 on field goals and 7 for 11 on 3s, to lead 45-33 on Westbrook’s layup with 7:26 left in the second quarter.
Asked if the Rubio might have an encore in Game 4 Authentic Jalyn Holmes Jersey , Westbrook defiantly declared that he would shut down any chance of that happening.
”Guarantee that!” Westbrook said.
Thunder: Oklahoma City was outscored 30-14 after Adams sat down with his third foul early in the second quarter. … Both Adams and Mitchell picked up their fourth fouls in the first half of the third quarter. … Adams finished with two rebounds. … The Thunder shot 14 for 28 from 3-point range.
Jazz: Utah started the game by converting nine of its first 10 shots, then missed eight of the next nine. … Royce O’Neale and George each got technicals for some pushing and words early in the fourth quarter. … Carlos Boozer had the last triple-double for the Jazz in 2008, but it came in the regular season. … Utah had 19 second-chance points to the Thunder’s eight.
Ingles, who was a primary cog in Utah’s offense as the Jazz got better and better throughout the season, was nearly invisible in the first two games against the defense of George. After only 16 total points and three assists in Oklahoma City, Ingles provided the offensive firepower down the stretch. ”I thought Joe just had a more aggressive mindset tonight,” Snyder said. ”Joe just threw himself into the defensive end as well. When you do that, your offense kind of comes more naturally.”
WESTBROOK OUT OF SORTS?
Westbrook didn’t take a shot in the fourth quarter, but said he doesn’t have any specific physical injury. Some of his eight turnovers happened when he was headed to the rim with Gobert looming. ”I’m getting in trouble jumping in the air and getting caught,” he said. Perhaps Gobert’s defensive presence is making one of the game’s most instinctive players think twice. ”I just try to make them think. Everyone in the league knows that I protect the rim. I know that they know,” Gobert said.
Rubio arrived at the arena Saturday wearing a sweatshirt with the `Friends’ sitcom logo. A team that emphasizes ”connectivity”, the Jazz moved in concert on offense and passes – even long skip passes – arrived in shooters’ sweet spots ready for launch. In the postgame press conference, Rubio joked that he knew he was close to a triple-double, but Ingles missed a layup on purpose to t.