I had begun to look into Dorsey, before the Dallas game, but that horrific loss brought my thoughts into clear focus. When Clark Hunt fired John Dorsey, there were a number of things that were said. Perhaps the most important statement, was when Hunt said he was concerned about Chiefs ability to sustain their success long term. John Dorsey took this Chiefs team from a bottom feeder to a contender, much faster than any team normally is able to do that. For fans, this was a lot of fun, but along the way, the mistakes started to pile up and this 2017 Chiefs team is paying the price for those errors.
Dorsey came into a team with some talent, a lot of holes and a lot of cap space. He immediately began to eliminate cap space and add players. Some of those guys helped Chiefs get to the next level. Guys like Sean Smith and Alex Smith were big additions. He also made some big boo boos. He dropped a bunch of money on washed up DB Dunta Robinson and spent a ton of money at WR by extending Bowe and signing Avery. Money that pretty much proved to be a waste. Immediately eating up all that cap space put Chiefs at a disadvantage for the rest of Dorsey’s tenure. Chiefs were never consistent players in free agency. They got a guy here or there, but they had to pass on a number of veteran safeties and CBs that they could really use right now.
Perhaps the bigger problem with Dorsey’s approach, was that he did too much to win right away. The draft is how great teams are built. Chiefs used up a lot of resources to lower their draft position. Chiefs picked 23rd and selected Dee Ford. Had they won the 6-7 games that a bad team with a new head coach usually does, Chiefs would have been in a position to pick players like Ryan Shazier, Odell Beckham, Kyle Fuller or Zach Martin. Imagine what this year’s team would look like with any of those guys instead of Ford (ignore the fact that Beckham is injured).
Dorsey’s win now approach led to a bunch of band-aid fixes, rather than permanent solutions. Chiefs needed depth behind Hali and Houston, which had cost them in 2013, so they reached on Dee Ford, who has taken three years to be an average OLB. Chiefs lacked solid CBs, so they went from one rookie CB to the next, hoping that they would have another one ready, by the time teams saw all their weaknesses on tape. Marcus Cooper, Jamell Flemming and Ron Parker were never going to be long term solutions at CB, but Chiefs didn’t have the cap space to sign someone who would be. Perhaps all this would have worked out if Dorsey’s draft picks had panned out well. Unfortunately, contrary to his reputation, many of Dorsey’s picks didn’t pan out long term.
Chiefs have spent eight picks on DBs in the draft. Two of those guys have turned into viable starters. At ILB, Chiefs have needed significant help for a while. Dorsey drafted four ILBs, while with the Chiefs. Three of them were cut (though Wilson was re-signed) and Ukeme Eligwe is a rookie who has yet to see the field, on defense. The first thing Brett Veach did, when he took over for Dorsey, was make two moves for ILBs. Both have been on the field this year for the Chiefs over Ramik Wilson. In his first couple months, Veach added more ILB talent than Dorsey did over the course of five offseasons.
The legend of Dorsey’s drafting ability, was largely built on a stellar 2015 draft. A draft, which yielded starters Marcus Peters, Mitch Morse, Chris Conely and Steven Nelson, as well as quality depth DE Rakeem Nunez Rochez. Other years were a different story. In 2016 Chiefs snagged major steals with Hill and Jones, Ehinger was ok, but Hogan and 3rd round pick Kievarre Russel were immediate flops. Chiefs secured two solid OGs in the 6th round in 2014, but important picks like Ford and Gaines have failed to make significant contributions to the team long term. In 2013, while picking first overall, Dorsey found Fisher and Kelce. He whiffed on every pick after that. Drafting is hard, I’m not suggesting that Dorsey was terrible at drafting. I would say Dorsey was a top 10 GM, at drafting, but he was closer to 10th than first. It’s not crazy to think that Veach could be an upgrade.
When you see the problems Chiefs are dealing with in 2017, it’s not hard to see why Hunt was worried about Chiefs success, long-term. An aging defense, a secondary that can’t cover anyone, yet still holding the 7th least cap space in the NFL. The offense has been the lone bright spot this season, though they were terrible last week. Hopefully, Chiefs can make a massive improvement after the bye week. For the rest of the year, Chiefs will have to lean on the offense. Veach will have his work cut out for him to improve one of the league’s worst defenses, and few resources at his disposal to do so.
Bonus Thought: When times are bad, it’s easy to lash out at other people. Resist the temptation to do so. We might disagree about why the Chiefs suck right now, but we all agree that they do, and we want it to stop. Stay civil and stay hungry for that championship. Anything is possible, any given Sunday, Go Chiefs!
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