Three observations about Kansas City Chiefs GM Scott Pioli on “Chiefs Insider” while the Bengals choke their lives away:
1. Why, oh why, does host Mitch Holthus insist on calling the Chiefs fanbase “the Kingdom”? Does Holthus consider himself the court jester? Even Pioli commented that he’s “still getting used to it” — I hope he doesn’t have to. I’m a fan, not a loyal subject.
2. I love the evil genius gestures Pioli strikes throughout the interview, with his hands clasping each other and then touching fingertips-to-fingertips. There’s a diabolical message he’s sending subliminally to me every time I see him.
3. I was struck about Pioli name-checking the rookies he drafted this year as “progressing” — even though, as he acknowledged, they weren’t seeing the field. It was a short-but-sweet conversation about the Class of ’09 that reminded me about why I’ve been so irritated throughout the season with fans who expected more out of Pioli’s first draft class this year.
Pioli made a very risky gamble with his first draft for this franchise. With eight picks, he used virtually every single one of them to pick up a “project” — a player who needs significant development — rather than selecting players who are more NFL-ready.
1. DE Tyson Jackson — NFL ready, although rookie defensive lineman typically need at least a year to develop anyway.
3. DE Alex Magee – A defensive tackle the Chiefs moved to the outside. Project.
4. CB Donald Washington — An incredibly raw, athletic freak. Project.
5. OT Colin Brown — A tackle from the spread, Chiefs are moving him inside. Project.
6. WR Quentin Lawrence — See: Donald Washington. Project.
7. RB Javarris Williams — Ditto. Project.
7. TE Jake O’Connell — This is anybody’s guess. Project?
7. K Ryan Succop — NFL ready.
The results in their first year, therefore, clearly speak for themselves. We have five or six players who are in a very heavy developmental process right now that, considering they are projects, is steeper than most other rookies. And of the two NFL ready players we picked up, one of them was a defensive lineman which is one of the toughest positions to learn in the league anyway. You can’t really judge a rookie class after their first year, and it’s unrealistic to assess this class in particular.
But that doesn’t mean this draft wasn’t an insanely audacious one by Scott Pioli anyway. Typically teams that dare to take this many unpolished players are the teams that don’t need them right away. But the Chiefs do need these players right away. So I can understand the anxiety in the “”"”"Kingdom”"”"” over this draft class, and King Pioli better hope they develop sooner rather than later.
Or else — off with his head!