At the recent NFL scouting combine, general manager Brett Veach teased what was ahead for the Kansas City Chiefs when he said it would be "fun" surrounding new starting quarterback Patrick Mahomes II and his big throwing arm with talent.
Only Veach and perhaps a select group of others could have known then just how much fun the Chiefs would soon be having in that pursuit.
Veach, as it turns out, was referring to free-agent wide receiver Sammy Watkins, who agreed to contract terms with the Chiefs before the signing period began. Watkins, one of free agency’s top available receivers, is big and certainly fast enough to chase down Mahomes’ long throws.
The Chiefs were already a good way there in being able to suitably accommodate Mahomes, with fast wide receiver Tyreek Hill, tight end Travis Kelce and running back Kareem Hunt. The Chiefs had the makings for a strong offensive team even before adding Watkins.
With him, the Chiefs have potentially the best group of offensive skill players in the league. That’s not all. If the Chiefs can get their offense on a roll, it could stay that way for some time.
Watkins will turn 25 in June. Hill just turned 24. Mahomes will be 23 later this year. Among the bunch, only Kelce can be considered a senior citizen in football terms, and he’s only 28. Other than Hill, each is under contract with the Chiefs for at least three more seasons. Hill has two years remaining on the deal he signed as a rookie in 2016.
The Chiefs saw enough from Mahomes in practice and games last season to believe he will be ready in 2018 to be the captain of a powerful machine. There would be no sense in letting him settle into the job, but a lot in trying to become a team that is prepared to win a scoring battle every week.
It might come to that. The Chiefs have some holes to fill on defense, even after agreeing to contract terms with former Cowboys linebacker Anthony Hitchens. They’ll probably turn to the draft to address their remaining defensive needs, and that might get tricky. The Chiefs don’t have a first-round pick, having sent it to the Bills last year in the trade that allowed them to move up to get Mahomes.
But this looks to be a long-term project for the Chiefs. They’re only getting started. If they can’t solve all of their defensive problems in what remains of free agency and the draft, they can get to the rest next year when they’ll have not only a first-round pick but also two in the second.
In the meantime, they look more than capable of winning any scoring battle they find themselves in.