I’m of the belief that you don’t get to heaven by running away from satan. Another way to look at this is to imagine you’re trying to achieve happiness and the only way to do that is to keep chasing all your troubles away… then it’s as if you’re playing a game of Whac-a-Mole but never winning. Why, because it really can’t be done. In the movie “While You Were Sleeping” the character Ox Callaghan, played by the late great Peter Boyle, says to his son, Peter Callaghan (Bill Pullman), “Life is a pain in the ass…. you work hard, try to provide for the family, and then, for one minute, everything īs good. Everyone is well. Everyone is happy. In that one minute, you have peace.” Then Jack replies, “Pop, this isn’t that moment.“
Sorry Chiefs fans… this isn’t that article, either.
Well, to be honest, I wouldn’t mind the kind of moments they’re having in Philadelphia this offseason. However, you have to look at your mistakes. That’s how you improve.
Since the Chiefs have a new GM in Brett Veach, it’s natural to question or wonder if he’ll make the rookie mistakes that any QB — err, GM — would make? Since we already know what the Chiefs previous GM, John Dorsey, has done for the better part of the past five years — and you can bank on the fact that Veach knows his record better than anyone — then it’s a little easier to take a look at his successes and failures to get a clue as to what Veach will or won’t do. One would hope.
Looking at Dorsey’s First Draft
Let’s begin by making some overall post suppositions about each of John Dorsey’s drafts with the idea that Brett Veach was paying attention and perhaps, learning.
One of the first tenets John Dorsey publicly touted was his Best Player Available (BPA) method for building a team. The reason that sticks out is because it doesn’t appear that Dorsey did that at all when it comes to his first pick: an Offensive Tackle. If you look back at the other players available they include: DT Sheldon Richardson, WR DeAndre Hopkins, Center Travis Fredericks and what hurts most is the person picked three players after Eric Fisher, OT Lane Johnson… he of the Super Bowl winning Philadelphia Eagles and an All-Pro this year… THAT Lane Johnson. Now, if John Dorsey was absolutely stuck on the idea of drafting an OT — which really appeared to be the case — then why not Lane Johnson? That’s what GMs and their scouts are paid to do: evaluate talent and determine which players will ascend to the highest levels. So, he began with a miss in my book. That’s “miss” as in mistake… and those kinds of “misses” can have a rippling effect for years to come. What ripples? I know it might be hard to imagine but DT Sheldon Richardson would look great in the middle of the Chiefs D. More importantly, what kind of defense would the Chiefs have had if Richardson was here for all this time?
No. You see, John Dorsey had his QB in Alex Smith already plugged in, so he HAD TO HAVE his future LT. And that’s how we got here.
Normally I don’t like looking back and saying “but we could have had so-and-so” but, when the list becomes painfully long… and the one’s I listed here don’t even scratch the surface… then it’s necessary to mention those names. There were 17 players in the first two rounds that year who have made the Pro Bowl since 2013. None of them is named Eric Fisher. [Note: 17 players in the first two rounds is more than one-fourth of all the players drafted in those rounds so Dorsey had a 1-in-4 chance of drafting a Pro Bowl level player and those chances were higher because he had the first pick in the draft.]
So, why the OT? After all, the Chiefs already had Branden Albert starting at Left Tackle. Many analysts have projected that Dorsey was looking ahead one year to when Albert would become a free agent and wanted to “cover his bases.” Well, covering your bases is not being pro-active… it’s like playing “prevent-defense.” [Hmm, must run in the family] Now, that wasn’t the only time Dorsey pulled this kind of “prevent-defense” robo-drafting: he essentially did the same thing the next year when he anticipated Tamba Hali would be leaving so, he drafted Dee Ford. Now, how did that work out? Ford hasn’t yet panned out and in the meantime Dorsey extended Hali when Hali wasn’t worth extending which is part of the cap mess he left the Chiefs in.
The cap situation is a complete other story. Only, I’ll say that the Chiefs were one of the organizations with the most cap space at the end of 2012 when Andy Reid arrived, and John Dorsey soon thereafter. By the time Dorsey exited, he left the team with next to no cap space available at all. Which, is likely the main reason he was asked to clean out his office.
Drafting Eric Fisher is good metaphor for the whole team: above average. It was a mistake. Yes, later in that same draft John Dorsey selected TE extraordinaire Travis Kelce but he also took the miserable ILB Nico Johnson as a 3rd round compensatory pick when Pro-Bowl-to-be OT David Baktiari was taken about a dozen picks later.
Now, this piece is not meant to trash everything that John Dorsey did as the Chiefs General Manager. I was a fan and was as shocked as anyone when he was axed. But now that he’s gone it’s a lot easier to see exactly what he did to the team and organization, especially as it relates to the Bigfoot Cap Monster he left behind: it’s out there but it’s been impossible to find.
Generally speaking, the 2013 draft was one big mistake except for Travis Kelce. Who knows… maybe drafting Kelce was a mistake too… one that turned out to be a Mr. Magoo bit of magic.
Looking at the Chiefs 2014 Draft
You’d have to turn this draft upside down to make any since of it. Laurent Duvernay-Tardif is off at the Olympics as a commentator for French speaking people but he’s not only finishing his Doctoral in Medicine but doing an excellent job at Right Guard for the Chiefs. Zach Fulton has played a lot of games for the Chiefs. He’s been an average offensive lineman but a very good back-up and has stepped in for Mitch Morse at Center and done a good job of stabilizing the position. However, he’s a free agent and the Chiefs will likely not go after him because he’ll be looking for a big contract and he’s not worth it. Hear that John? He’s not worth it. If Horton Hears a Who, we can only hope Brett hears this.
Beyond those players, the others in this draft have all been qualified disappointments. Notably, OLB Dee Ford.
Looking Over the 2015 Chiefs Draft
In John Dorsey’s Junior year (his 3rd) he not only kicked field goals but completed some bombs for TDs. The ‘risk” the team took on CB Marcus Peters is perhaps the one reason the Chiefs have even been in he playoffs the past couple of years. Mitch Morse has been a regular starter at Center, although we don’t know if he can stay healthy. WR Chris Conley has been a good player even though he spent part of this season on IR. There have been times when Steven Nelson has been the second best CB the Chiefs have not named Marcus Peters. ILB Ramik Wilson was cut then brought back and he’s been a positive contributor. ILB/STP D.J. Alexander made the Pro-Bowl as a Special Team Player and netted ILB Kevin Pierre-Louis in a trade with Seattle. Rakeem Nunez-Roches (RNR) has made major offseason progress from last year to this season and if he makes that big a jump this offseason, he should be a bigger part of the DL rotation in 2018.
Sure, two players are gone from this list but overall, if every draft was this good, the Chiefs would be in the Super Bowl by now (and Dorsey would still be the Chiefs GM).
Looking Over the 2016 Chiefs Draft
In 2016, the real ability of John Dorsey comes to light. What is meant by that is… his only successes were the players he took a risk on: Chris Jones — who was sliding in the draft and considered a risk for some reason… Demarcus Robinson — a WR who had multiple drug suspensions at Florida… and Tyreek Hill — for domestic battery charges he pled guilty to. Aside from those players, perhaps the only one who has been worth a plug nickel is Parker Ehinger. On the other hand, Keivarae Russel and Kevin Hogan are huge red flags on his drafting record.
Looking at the Chiefs 2017 Draft
Now that we have five drafts — and more importantly the first round picks — to look at, it appears more formulaic than based upon the BPA method that Mr. Dorsey has espoused to every year the draft rolls around. First an OT… then an OLB… next a CB… a DL… then a QB (it’s either a QB, guys who protects the QB, or guys who can defend what the QB does directly). I’d bet if John Dorsey was here for 20 years, we’d see four of each of those positions drafted with his first pick in the draft. When John Dorsey came to the Chiefs he’d been with the Green Bay Packers for 200 years — approximately — and although he was learning on the job, he was also taking notes about which positions were most important. Is there a mistake in all that? There certainly could be if he was focusing on the positional outcomes of those drafts and not the real top shelf quality of those players.
Although Kareem Hunt turned out to be the rushing leader for the NFL in 2017, aside from him… this draft was all about the future. That’s rather unforgivable when the Chiefs were trying to make a run for the Super Bowl in 2018.
Taking a Look at the Dorsey’s Mistakes
It appears to the untrained eye that John Dorsey was:
- Not following his own prescribed BPA philosophy
- Going into “prevent-defense” drafting robo-mode
- Not properly evaluating one positions worth compared to another
- Reaching to fill holes when superior players were on the board
- Getting formulaic about who he should draft in the early rounds
- Not realizing the value of lower round picks early in his GM stint
- Getting the evaluations wrong on prospects too high a percentage of the time
- Not balancing the cap monster at all times
There’s plenty there for Brett Veach to learn from and I didn’t even get into the Free Agents or trade Dorsey made. What do you think? Is there something else you’re hoping that Brett Veach has learned BEFORE he steps into his first Free Agency period or his first draft weekend?
Brett Veach has already been a busy boy but I will leave you with this since Mr. Veach is responsible for making one of the best offseason moves in recent memory:
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) February 10, 2018
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