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Chiefs trade up to select Ole Miss DL Breeland Speaks in second round of NFL Draft

Chiefs trade up to select Ole Miss DL Breeland Speaks in second round of NFL Draft

The Kansas City Chiefs were so impressed with Breeland Speaks that they traded up to draft the former defensive lineman for the Rebels.

OXFORD, Miss. — When he declared a year early for the NFL, Ole Miss defensive lineman Breeland Speaks felt he was ready to play at the next level. The Kansas City Chiefs agreed, and they traded up eight spots Friday evening to get the Jackson, Miss. native with the No. 46 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. 

Breeland Speaks finished with 5 tackles, 1 sack, 1 TFL, and 2 QB hurries against ULL in 2017. (Photo credit: Dan Anderson)

Chiefs’ General Manager Brett Veach told reporters Friday night that when he saw a chance to grab Speaks in the second round, he simply could not pass on the opportunity.

So Kansas City traded the 54th and 78th picks to the Cincinnati Bengals to move up and snag the second-team All-SEC defensive lineman. 

Head coach Andy Reid explained that when Veach sets his mind on a player, the GM is like a dog with a bone. “He has a tendency when he likes someone to wear me out with that guy. He’s done it with some pretty good players,” Reid said, smiling. 

“I can always tell how much he likes somebody because he’s going to let me know. So I watched every game the kid (Breeland) played. I didn’t do that with every player.” 

Reid, who indicated Speaks will begin his career with the Chiefs as an outside linebacker who can also play inside on third down, was impressed with what he saw on film. “I never saw him take a play off, and he played a lot,” Reid said of the 6-foot-3, 283-lb Speaks.

He’s on the field, chases everything. He’s relentless. 

Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid

During Speaks’ final season at Ole Miss, he finished second on the Rebels’ defense with 67 tackles and second in sacks with seven. He also notched eight tackles for loss. 

In his final game for the Landsharks, Speaks tormented Mississippi State in the Rebels’ 31-28 Egg Bowl victory, recording 12 tackles, 1.5 for loss, one sack, and a very famous fumble recovery that has been immortalized on social media.

Breeland Speaks waves to the camera after recovering a fumble in the Rebels’ 2017 Egg Bowl win over Mississippi State.

Speaks is thrilled to be headed to Kansas City. “I feel like it totally fits my skill-set,” he said. 

You’re getting a passionate player who is going to play with relentless effort and not give up on any plays. I’m a hard-working, blue-collar guy from Mississippi. 

Breeland Speaks

Both Veach and Reid were wowed by Speaks’ performances when they watched him on film. “This was one where (Veach) and I sat together and watched every snap,” Reid said. 

Speaks (9) pursues LSU QB Danny Etling in the 2017 matchup between the two SEC West foes. (Photo credit: Mike Bedgood, The Rebel Walk)

Speaks was never on the ground, and the way he used his hands, that was really something.

Head coach Andy Reid

After the Chiefs selected Breeland, ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper praised the pick. “This is one of the most improved defensive players in all of college football,” Kiper said. 

About The Author

Evelyn Van Pelt

Evelyn has covered sports for over two decades, beginning her journalism career as a sports writer for a newspaper in Austin, Texas. She attended Texas A&M and majored in English. Evelyn's love for Ole Miss began when her daughter Katie attended the university on a volleyball scholarship--and continued as she watched Katie receive three degrees from Ole Miss, culminating with her Pharm D. in 2012. Evelyn, a member of the FWAA, USBWA and the NCBWA, has covered Rebel sports for numerous outlets. In addition to working for The Rebel Walk, Evelyn is a sports writer for a newspaper in Texas.

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