West Notes: Veach, Mahomes, Raiders, 49ers

Andy Reid credited recently hired GM Brett Veach of alerting him to the likes of DeSean Jackson, LeSean McCoy and Fletcher Cox during the duo’s time together with the Eagles. The new Chiefs GM’s latest pet project was a player who figures to have a big say in whether the franchise can challenge for a Super Bowl title in the years to come. Reid said Veach was “all in on” Patrick Mahomes during the franchise’s draft preparation and brought the Texas Tech prospect onto he and then-GM John Dorsey‘s radar.

If he brings you (a player) and he’s that sold on him, you better take a look at him,” Reid said, via Terez Paylor of the Kansas City Star. “He’s brought to me (guys) like DeSean Jackson, LeSean McCoy and Fletcher Cox — all these guys, and it was early, before anybody really had a beat on it. And (back then) … I’m going, ‘Wow, he’s got kind of a knack for this thing.”

The Chiefs have brought in several cornerstone players during Dorsey and Veach’s time as top execs, with Travis Kelce, Marcus Peters and Tyreek Hill becoming first-team All-Pros in 2016. Mahomes recently commandeered Kansas City’s backup quarterback job.

Here’s the latest out of the Western divisions.

  • Viewed as the AFC West favorite despite the Chiefs’ sweep in this rivalry last season, the Raiders have seen their backup quarterback picture clear up to some degree in recent days. Jack Del Rio said (via Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle) said E.J. Manuel has outperformed Connor Cook so far and is in the No. 2 spot behind Derek Carr. A former Bills first-rounder, Manuel signed a modest one-year deal with the Raiders early in free agency.
  • The Raiders’ current depth chart has two recent Day 3 draft picks as starters at the non-rush linebacker spots, with second-year sixth-rounder Cory James stationed as Oakland’s first-team weakside ‘backer and fifth-round rookie Marquel Lee in the middle. Lee’s spot may be less certain, per Tafur, who adds the Raiders will likely look to the waiver wire to add another inside linebacker if the Wake Forest product falters. The Raiders signed Perry Riley midway through last season, and the former Redskins starter became a quality performer for the Silver and Black. Still a free agent, the 29-year-old Riley would seemingly be an option. Reggie McKenzie said the 2016 starter was a consideration, but that was back in May. The Dolphins passed on Riley as a Raekwon McMillan replacement, choosing to sign Rey Maualuga instead.
  • The 49ers entered camp uncertain if they had one starting-caliber guard on their roster, let alone two, Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com notes. Brandon Fusco will play right guard, but the 49ers are on the lookout for outside help opposite the longtime Vikings cog, Maiocco reports. Zane Beadles is penciled in on the other side, with Joshua Garnett sidelined due to knee surgery.
  • Jimmie Ward will return to safety this season after a lengthy cornerback experiment, but the 49ers have yet to see him work at that spot during camp. Maiocco reports the 49ers expect the fourth-year defensive back to be cleared this week. He suffered a hamstring injury during San Francisco’s conditioning tests.
  • Maiocco adds recently signed corner K’Waun Williams is in position to function as the 49ers’ top nickel back. He’s in the lead over 2016 third-rounder Will Redmond for that job. Neither Williams nor Redmond played last season. A torn ACL during his final college season led to Redmond missing 2016, and a controversial injury ended Williams’ time with the Browns. Cleveland’s two-year slot corner was not on a team last season but participated in a lengthy visit tour before deciding on a one-year, $765K deal with the 49ers.
  • The Seahawks will have a decision to make on Luke Joeckel‘s position after starting left tackle George Fant tore his ACL Friday night.
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