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Kansas City Chiefs rookie offensive lineman Trey Smith had to wait longer than expected to hear his name called in the 2021 NFL draft.
Many labeled him a first-round talent ahead of the draft, but he also had his own expectations for himself. Being selected in the sixth round wasn’t part of those expectations. After the initial frustration and disappointment wore off, he realized that he ultimately ended up exactly where he was supposed to be.
“Those three days were pretty grueling, just being quite honest with you,” Smith told reporters on Saturday. “I have a certain standard, expectations that I have for myself and for my life, and not meeting that, I was disappointed. But ultimately, God has a plan for me and my life and I think right now I’m at the best place I could actually be at. I’m super excited to be here, super excited to get to work with (offensive line) coach (Andy) Heck every day, so ultimately it ended up well.”
There are plenty of reasons that Smith feels that Kansas City is the best place for him. Many of those have to do with the Chiefs franchise, coaches and players.
“One, this is a winning organization, an organization with a rich history,” Smith said. “Just looking into it even further, on top of that, I’m getting to play for a great offensive line coach in Andy Heck and coach (Corey) Matthaei assisting in that. At the end of the day, it’s a veteran room. It’s somewhere I know technique and just being an overall better football player is where I need to grow, and I think it’s a great setting and a perfect opportunity for me to grow in this program.”
Beyond the football of it all, there are a few more reasons that Smith feels thankful to have ended up in Kansas City. Smith’s fall in the draft is suspected to stem from blood-clotting issues he dealt with early in his college career. Just a few weeks into working with a new medical staff, Smith is already praising them.
“The medical staff here is amazing, the media is amazing,” Smith said. “There are really no complaints in this area. My dad’s company is based out of Kansas City, so at the end of the day, this is a great opportunity for me. It’s a great future home for me as well.”
Most sixth-round draft picks might be intimidated by joining such a talented and deep unit as the one that Kansas City has assembled, but not Smith. He knows that he stands to benefit greatly from learning from some of the professionals in that room.
“Once again, it’s an amazing opportunity and the talent in that room is unreal,” Smith said. “Looking at guys that I used to watch a little when I was younger like Kyle Long even being here, I’m just so excited to be around that caliber of player, those types of guys, the offensive linemen, so I can soak up all the information they give me like a sponge. Most of that is obviously on-the-field techniques and different things that I can do to better my game, but also what it looks like to be a pro off the field and how to carry myself, conduct myself around people and in the public.”
After participating in rookie minicamp this weekend, Smith should be well aware that draft status goes out the window when players hit the field in Kansas City. He’ll have an opportunity to prove himself this offseason, it’s just a matter of being prepared for when that moment comes.
“I’m super excited,” Smith said. “I couldn’t have landed in a better opportunity than here.”