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Chiefs trade up with Bills, pick speedy WR Worthy

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The Kansas City Chiefs didn’t want to just rebuild at wide receiver. They wanted to rebuild with speed.

That effort got a big boost in the first round of the draft when the Chiefs traded up four spots with the Buffalo Bills to select Texas wide receiver Xavier Worthy, who set a scouting combine record when he ran a 4.21 in the 40-yard dash.

This comes after the Chiefs signed veteran wideout Marquise “Hollywood” Brown, who ran a 4.27 40 when he came out for the draft in 2019. General manager Brett Veach said the addition of the two players will “make life easier” for the Chiefs’ top two returning receivers, Travis Kelce and Rashee Rice.

“It’s a speed game and the more speed you have on the field, the harder it is for defenses to take away different elements of the game,” general manager Brett Veach said. “Anytime you can add speed and add a guy with that type of versatility, I think you’re going to be interested. Just our ability to play vertical and have speed on the field at all times and having Xavier and Hollywood … I think as the season goes on here, I think we’ll have just an offense that can attack in multiple different ways and always keep defenses guessing.”

Rice’s availability for a full season is uncertain after his involvement last month in a high-speed, six-vehicle crash in Dallas. But the Chiefs indicated they were determined to add at wide receiver regardless after last season’s group at the position underachieved, outside of Rice.

The selection of Worthy is reminiscent of the Chiefs’ 2016 drafting of Tyreek Hill, who ran a 4.24 40 that year at his pro day. But coach Andy Reid said Worthy reminds him more of another one of his former wide receivers, DeSean Jackson, who played for him with the Philadelphia Eagles.

“They’re different and he’ll put his own mark on things once he gets a feel for it,” Reid said of comparisons between Worthy and Hill. “That wasn’t the comparison as much as it was him being a good football player.”

The Chiefs have struggled to connect on many passes downfield since trading Hill to the Miami Dolphins two years ago.

“Both of those two can run well and I think both love to play the game and are good football players, so I think that’ll help us,” Reid said of Worthy and Brown. “It doesn’t hurt to have down-the-field speed. We’ve functioned without the great speed down the field and done well, but if you have an opportunity to get somebody that you think is a good player, just not a speed guy, but a good football player, I think you probably need to take advantage of that.”

The Bills sent the 28th pick in the first round to the Chiefs along with a fourth-round choice (No. 133) in return for the 32nd pick in the first round and a third-round pick (No. 95). The teams also swapped selections in the seventh round.

It might seem surprising that the Chiefs and Bills, bitter rivals in recent years, would agree to a trade. The Chiefs have beaten the Bills three times in the last four seasons in the playoffs, including during the divisional round last season.

But Veach said the Bills had no hesitation in answering the Chiefs’ phone call.

“I’m sure it made sense to them,” Veach said. “We were on our own agenda, and we saw value there. And again, moving 38 spots for a guy that we think will be a great addition to our team and especially with the special team’s values that he adds, I think was something that we really factored in.”

Bills general manager Brandon Beane said he made the trade with his team’s best interests in mind.

“You’re not necessarily preventing them from getting the player they want. It’s more what, where is your value at, where do you want your picks and what’s the best move for the Bills? Because I’m sure they’re not just calling Buffalo …,” he said.

Beane said that the Bills did not know who the Chiefs were going to pick with the trade.

“I could see them taking a receiver, but you don’t truly know.” He also added: “But where they were moving from, I don’t think it mattered to us who they were picking.”

The Chiefs last traded up in the draft with the Bills in 2017, when they went from 27 to 10 in the first round to draft quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

ESPN’s Alaina Getzenberg contributed to this report.

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