In the sixth round of the 2021 NFL Draft, the Kansas City Chiefs selected Tennessee offensive lineman Trey Smith. Ranked as a top 100 prospect by multiple outlets, Smith slid all the way to pick No. 226.
Following the conclusion of the draft, NFL.com released a pick by pick analysis for rounds 6 and 7. The outlet loved the Chiefs’ selection of Smith, calling it ‘a great value pick.’
“The Chiefs make a great value pick here as Smith is one of the nastiest finishers in the draft. A four-year starter in the SEC, Smith fell due to health concerns, but he offers starter talent and could be a late-round steal for a team looking to bolster its line.”
Smith was coming off an outstanding freshman season when it was discovered blood clots had formed in his lungs, which is undoubtedly the reason for his slide. Mike Borgonzi, the director of football operations for the Chiefs, said Sunday the team “fully vetted” Smith’s medical situation, which allowed Kansas City to land what he believed was one of the top guards in college football.
Tim Terry, Kansas City’s director of pro personnel, credited Rick Burkholder, the team’s VP of sports medicine and performance, and team physician Dr. Michael Monaco for their roles in allowing the Chiefs to see past Smith’s medical red flags.
“As far as why he was still on the board, I’ll leave that to the other teams, but we had the most confidence in Rick Burkholder and Dr. Mike Monaco,” Terry said. “They did a lot of research, a lot of work, did all the due diligence in searching out everything from his medical history standpoint, and we feel really comfortable and confident that we’re getting a good young man, but a good young football player that’s going to come into our building and help us to elevate the level of competition.
“We rated him really high. He’s a highly accomplished young man, has done almost everything you can possibly do in the SEC, which is a highly competitive division, so we’re excited. I can’t speak to any other teams, why they didn’t pick him, but we’re glad we got him in our building and we’re looking forward to growing with him.”
Once the Chiefs got past the medical situation with Smith, who passed on entering the 2020 NFL Draft a year ago to return for his senior season and turned in a First-Team All-SEC and Second-Team All-American season in 2020, there was little doubt about the caliber of player and person the defending AFC champions were getting.
“I know their record might now show it, but the young man lived up to his expectations,” Chiefs area scout Pat Sperduto said. “He’s been a starter for 40-plus games. He’s an outstanding leader. He’s a great student. This guy is very mature and will fit into our building extremely well.”