Chiefs GM Brett Veach is a madman. A certifiably insane, brilliant madman.
This dude traded TYREEK HILL in the offseason. Veach's idea was to replace Hill's production on the aggregate and divy money to others that would've gone solely to Hill. But there's no replacing Hill's speed, quickness, and contested-catch combination. Right?
To answer that, Veach spins around in his leather office chair, lit cigar between his teeth, laughing at those who strongly criticized his Hill decision.
Because it worked out for Kansas City! Patrick Mahomes is averaging more passing yards per game now than he ever has in a single season. The Chiefs are rolling offensively and haven't lost since mid October.
But I'm not really here to discuss the Hill trade in depth. That's been done enough. To further prove Veach is genuinely a mad scientist, I present to some of his current practice squad and history of in-season acquisitions. Under his watch, let's name a few of players the Chiefs have signed or traded for in season: RB Le'Veon Bell, RB C.J. Spiller, RB LeSean McCoy, WR Josh Gordon, CB Darrelle Revis, EDGE Melvin Ingram, and former first-round CBs Mike Hughes and Deandre Baker.
Veach can't stop, won't stop adding established veterans to the roster, and he cranked the intensity this season by acquiring EDGE Carlos Dunlap in July and WR Kadarius Toney before the trade deadline. But, of course, he wasn't done. Before Week 13's monstrous showdown with the Bengals in Cincinnati, Veach signed RB Melvin Gordon, DT Brandon Williams and WR Bryan Edwards to the practice squad.
He's playing Madden on Franchise Mode except this is real life, and he's running the Chiefs.
Now, normally, I reserve The PSPR for players in their first, second, or third seasons. To pay homage to Veach's relentless aggression, I'm granting waivers to Williams and Edwards this week. Will they play against the Bengals? Probably not. Could they see the field in December or January. Don't be shocked when it happens. And don't be surprised when Gordon scores a touchdown in the playoffs.
Back-to-back weeks, no one elevated. I'm not frustrated. Because I'm keenly aware, that just like an NFL season, nothing comes easy at The PSPR. Every elevation is hard-earned. I love the challenge. That's fine. Before I begin, though, I must shout out PSPR alum Zonovan Knight, the No. 124 overall prospect on my final Big Board before the 2022 draft, who unceremoniously and unjustifiably went undrafted, for his 109 yards from scrimmage for the Jets in their Week 12 win over Chicago. You made me damn proud, Zonovan.
However, don't be shy to hit me up on Twitter @ChrisTrapasso to alert me about any PSPR members getting the glorious call this weekend.
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The expanded, 16-man practice squads are about the only good thing to come out of the pandemic, and they're here to stay in the NFL. Because of this, I run the Practice Squad Power Rankings parallel to the league. I write about 16 individuals every Friday, 10 officially in the rankings and six honorable mentions.
Here's to the Practice Squad Power Rankings flourishing this season and starting to cement its legacy in the hallowed halls of the internet's football-media industry.
10. Roderick Perry, DT, Browns
Outside of Myles Garrett, Cleveland's defensive front -- WOOF! Perry started his college career at South Carolina State -- which low-key has sent a bunch of quality players to the NFL -- before transferring to Illinois. While he didn't have monster stats with the Illini, Perry's play in the summer was enough for him to make Cleveland's practice squad as an undrafted free agent. At 6-foot-1 and around 300 pounds, he's the penetrating type to Browns need to generate any semblance of interior disruption for opposing quarterbacks.
9. Brandon Williams, DT, Chiefs
Williams spent time as arguably the NFL's best pure nose tackle, from about 2014 to 2017, when he devoured running backs on a weekly basis in the middle of the Ravens vaunted defensive line. The now 33 year old dealt with two bouts of COVID during 2020 in Baltimore and played a part-time role in 2021. He's a massive human at around 6-1 and 335 pounds.
8. Buddy Johnson, LB, Texans
With Christian Harris ailing, the Texans should turn to Johnson, a former Texas A&M star oozing with athleticism. Check his pro-day workout from 2021. He's a freak physically, and the Texans are at that point of the season where young players should get burn so team evaluators can decide who will be part of the future.
7. Fred Johnson, OL, Eagles
Johnson is a larger-than-life blocker from Florida. It feels like that program pumps out plenty of those types, doesn't it? Anyway, the 6-foot-7, 330-pounder with an incredibly long reach went undrafted in 2019 despite a quality final season with the Gators and popped up on the PSPR on occasion over the past few years.
Now, I know what you're thinking -- the Eagles don't need any offensive line reinforcement. Well, while that's undeniably true in regards to the starting unit, Johnson can be the consummate extra blocker to step onto the field in jumbo-package situations.
6. Emeka Emezie, WR, Falcons
I watched so much of Emezie in college. Why's that? Because he started showing out early at NC State, on those Wolfpack teams led by Ryan Finley, Jakobi Meyers, Nyheim Hines, Kelvin Harmon, and Jaylen Samuels. As a freshman, Emezie had 13 receptions for 163 yards with a score. After that, the 6-3, 220-pounder had over 45 receptions and 575 yards in four consecutive seasons, while catching 18 touchdowns.
5. Jayden Peevy, DT, Titans
Peevy doesn't provide as much positional flexibility as some of the other Titans defensive linemen, but he's similarly sized to Denico Autry and boasts high-end traits. At 6-5 and around 310 pounds, the former big-time recruit has 35.5-inch arms -- ridiculously long -- and slowly but surely improved in each of his five seasons with the Aggies as a block-shedding run stuffer capable of impressive pass-rush flashes.
4. Harrison Hand, CB, Bears
Hand is a twitched-up inside-outside corner who began his career in the NFC North with the Vikings. As a rookie, on less than 16% of the snaps in 2020, the former Temple standout proved the bright lights of the NFL weren't too much for him, as he registered a pick and three pass breakups. Chicago's dealing with injuries to safety Jaquan Brisker and second-round rookie Kyler Gordon at the cornerback spot. Now's the time to give Hand an opportunity.
3. Cade Johnson, WR, Seahawks
Johnson was the Deebo Samuel of the FBS while at North Dakota State. He was a weapon underneath and in the jet-sweep game because of his immense YAC ability and made routine snags down the football field. Johnson had back-to-back 1,200-plus yard seasons and scored 17 touchdowns in 2018. Geno Smith's been tremendous this season yet could use another bouncy wideout to pair with DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett in Seattle.
2. Deven Thompkins, WR, Buccaneers
Thompkins had five catches for 53 yards -- including two contested-catch wins! -- during the 2022 preseason. He's also a Tom Brady-type, too, in that he was a 0-star recruit when he joined the Utah State program in 2018. Brady loves an underdog's underdog, and that's precisely what Thompkins is. Lastly, Tampa Bay could use more juice at receiver, especially given how pedestrian the offense has been of late. He has 4.44 speed, had a 38.5-inch vertical and a 132-inch broad jump at his pro day.
1. Bryan Edwards, WR, Chiefs
Edwards is classic "what if?" case. What if he didn't break his foot during preparation for the 2019 combine? How high would he have been picked? Despite the ailment, he still went No. 81 overall that April after a dazzling four-year career at South Carolina. And despite not getting the opportunities normally provided to a first- or second-round selection, Edwards has proved he can ball in the NFL. Last season on the Raiders, he had 34 receptions for 571 yards (16.8 yards per grab) with three scores. Now, of course, the Chiefs are humming offensively, and on the surface, don't need receiver reinforcement. But remember, Mecole Hardman is still on IR, and JuJu Smith-Schuster suffered a concussion a few weeks ago. The 6-3, 215-pound Edwards can be a useful weapon on the outside for Mahomes.
When the Packers are running it well, they're very difficult to stop. To kee Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon -- the latter of whom hasn't been overly effective this season -- fresh, call up Goodson, who was born to run in Mike LaFleur's outside zone system and has serious juice. He ran 4.42 at the combine.
Johnson was a stat-sheet filler at Marshall with 302 tackles, seven picks and 19 pass breakups in five seasons. He can man the nickel corner spot. Free safety. Strong safety. He tackles well and plays with authority on every snap.
Earlier this season, while with the Bills, Emili had a key tipped pass that led to a Jordan Poyer interception in Buffalo's huge comeback win over the Ravens. The Penn grade is a twitchy up-the-field, no-hesitation rusher -- the exact type of player New Orleans could use on its defense right now.
No idea is a bad idea when it comes to how to fix the run game. Now, of course, a running back himself cannot single-handedly fix an NFL team's rushing attack. But it won't hurt to incorporate the small, ultra-shifty Patterson into this offense, although the inspiring return of Brian Robinson Jr. to the lineup has certainly helped boost the run game.
Brooks was a late bloomer at Cincinnati but may boast the most dynamic purely pass-rushing three technique in the 2022 class. I mean that. On just 304 pass-rushing snaps, Brooks registered 43 pressures, thanks to an awesome blend of first-step quickness, leverage and power at the point of attack.