Considered a top 100 talent in this year’s NFL Draft class, Tennessee guard Trey Smith fell all the way to the sixth round and the 226th overall selection in last week’s draft before he was selected by the Kansas City Chiefs.
Smith’s health served as the most likely reason for his slide deep into day three of the draft. Despite a standout career at Tennessee, Smith has dealt with blood clots in his lungs during his time in college that forced him to miss games and practices. However, he’s played in 23 games over the last two years for Tennessee without the issue impeding his availability.
“Obviously he’s a very good football player,” Chiefs director of football operations Mike Borgonzi told reporters after the draft. “You know, he’s one of the top guards in the country for the last couple years. Our medical staff with Rick Burkholder fully vetted the situation so we feel completely comfortable where he’s at medically to play for us. We’re just really excited to add him to the roster here.”
General Manager Brett Veach said they generally have a conservative stance when it comes to taking a player off their draft board for medical reasons. Veach and director of pro personnel Tim Terry praised the evaluation process that Burkholder and team physician Dr. Mike Monaco did in assessing Smith’s background and current health outlook in getting them comfortable with the selection.
“I knew early on that when Mike thought he had an idea of how to fix this, I thought that we were really onto something because again, any area of gray we’re usually taking a player off the board because we don’t want to put players in that position here in Kansas City, so I feel good about the work we did on him,” Veach said. “Again, if everything works out, you’re getting a guy that obviously would have been drafted a lot higher, got tremendous upside with him and looking forward to getting him here and Mike and our trainers work with him and getting him up to speed and seeing if we can tap into all that potential.”