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Chiefs preparing for a 'track meet' against AFC West rivals

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What to make of the Chiefs' 2020 schedule (1:50)

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AFC West rivals geared up for an offensive arms race during the 2020 NFL draft, and the Kansas City Chiefs took notice.

The Los Angeles Chargers drafted quarterback Justin Herbert. The Las Vegas Raiders selected wide receiver Henry Ruggs, who at 4.27 ran the fastest 40 time of any player at this year's scouting combine. The Denver Broncos added wide receiver Jerry Jeudy, who ran a 4.45 40, and picked up wideout KJ Hamler, who might have beaten Ruggs' time had he run at the combine.

The Chiefs' reaction was essentially, "Bring it on."

"I think teams certainly, they have to score some points against us," general manager Brett Veach said. "I think even if you have a really good defense, it's hard to stop our offense. So I think teams are certainly ready for a track meet when they play the Chiefs.

"It's going to be an exciting time for our division, certainly some great players were drafted by the Chargers, the Raiders and the Broncos. Our division is always tough and competitive, and I think talent added to those teams will make this even more exciting for our fans.”

The Chiefs' death grip on the AFC West has finally drawn some serious responses from their rivals. Since 2016, the Chiefs have won each of the four division titles. Since 2015, they are 27-3 in the division with two losses coming by one point and the other on a last-minute touchdown.

The Chiefs were 6-0 in AFC West games last season and outscored opponents 176-66, or an average of 29-11.

"Let's be honest, the entire league is chasing the Kansas City Chiefs,” Raiders general manager Mike Mayock said. "But we're in the same division. They keep getting faster and more athletic, more dynamic every time you turn around. Other teams have to do the same.”

In the AFC West, rivals have determined it's better to counter the Chiefs' brand of bullying by trying to score with them rather than hold down the Kansas City offense, led by quarterback Patrick Mahomes. The Chiefs were fifth in the league in scoring last season while the Chargers, Raiders and Broncos were 21st or below.

"I think it's going to be exciting," Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu said. "I'm a football player. I love to play football. I love the competition. I love that part of it. I think any time opposing teams can have exciting players on the other side, I think it's going to lift us naturally.

"I think we understand what teams are trying to do, what style of play they're going for. I think if we're able to see that writing on the wall, if we're able to accept it and then not as much understand them, more so just embrace ourselves. Just stay confident and understand that teams are doing certain things for a reason and I think we've got a little bit to do with that.”

The Chiefs made draft moves of their own to counter their rivals. They selected a running back, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, in the first round. The Chiefs were 23rd in rushing last season and 25th in yards per catch from their running backs.

"We've seen what the other teams in our division have been doing and we understand they're trying to come out there and compete against us and try to take the crown from us," Mahomes said. "So it's about us getting better within ourselves so we can go out there and play our best football.

"For us, it's just kind of coming in with that mindset of being prepared for everything, making sure you really go into detail on the scouting reports and everything like that because you know you're going to get the best effort and the best changeup of every single team."

In an indication they're preparing to face faster opponents, the Chiefs later selected two of the fastest defensive players available in the draft. One, Willie Gay, ran the fastest 40 time (4.46) for any linebacker at the combine. The other, L'Jarius Sneed, ran the second fastest time for a defensive back (4.37).

"Every player we add to the team, we really analyze that player in the context of what he brings to our championship squad," Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt said. "When you have Patrick Mahomes as your quarterback it's a very comforting feeling knowing that you're bringing in players that can help this offense be better or help the defense put the team in a better situation.

"It's obviously what we've worked for five decades to do is to get back to the top and to be the best team in the National Football League, to be the team that other teams and their fans aspire to be. It's a great feeling."