One key area that was asked about was the right tackle position, and Veach’s response opened the door for an intriguing camp battle that should involve three players. “I think they’ll be a degree of mixing and matching,” the Chiefs GM began. “I’m sure it’s safe to say that as we sit here today, [Jawaan] Taylor will be able to go out there and run left tackle with the ones.”
He went on, discussing the opposite bookend: “And then I think we’ll have a good competition between [Lucas] Niang and as you mentioned, Wanya [Morris]… and then [Darian] Kinnard I think has some flexibility too. So, I think all three of those guys will bounce in there.”
Veach added that he trusts [offensive line] coach [Andy] Heck will do a “great job mixing and matching” — with Kinnard and Morris also getting looks at guard — but at the end of the day they’ll “let the [starting] competition speak for itself” during training camp.
‘Hot-and-Cold’ Wanya Morris May Not Be Day 1 Starter With Chiefs
Some analysts are already predicting that Morris will win the right tackle job, but the scouting on the rookie makes that somewhat hard to believe.
Bleacher Report draft expert Brandon Thorn noted that “Morris has a hot-and-cold element to his game with glaring lapses in technique and clean losses.” Having said that, there is “plus power” and “athletic ability” for Coach Heck to harness, as he’s done in the past.
It may not happen right away, however.
NFL Network’s Lance Zierlein projected Morris as a swing tackle to start his pro-level career, reasoning: “Morris is an athletic pass-setter with a strong inside hand but lacks a desired level of core strength to effectively push back against rush bullies. He’s very average at getting to positioning for back-side cut-off blocks in the run game and struggles to stay connected to sustain blocks due to inconsistent hand placement and drive strength in his lower half.”
The same traits that made Morris a five-star college recruit entice now, but the 22-year-old will have to work on his consistency if he wants to line up in front of Patrick Mahomes II. At the moment, this appears to be Niang’s job to lose.
‘Trader Brett’ Veach Speaks on Chiefs’ Draft Day Deals
Veach traded up a few times in the 2023 draft, including Morris’ selection, and reporters asked the Chiefs GM to speak on that philosophy.
“Yeah, it’s just identifying the board,” Veach replied. “It’s one of those things where we’re spending a ton of time on this board — I mean, we’re spending a countless number of hours — and we do that because this is the process and when we identify talent, we’re able to look at that board and know that when we’re in a certain range, we really like this guy and below this guy there’s a big drop-off. So, when we get aggressive [via trade] it’s because we spent all the time watching these guys and we feel like the drop-off, potentially, could be the last guy that we value in regard to a guy coming in and helping us in year one.”
Veach concluded that “when you identify” that talent, “you got to trust your board” and “all the work that you put in” prior. “If you believe in a guy, you can’t risk losing [them].”