As hardcore fans of the Kansas City Chiefs, we often get excited about players before they even hit the field. This is probably true of all sports fans, but in Kansas city our eyes are perpetually on the future. A natural consequence of a bleak present. If religion is the opiate of the masses, then draft picks are the opiate of Chiefs fans. We love them. We think about them. We want them to do well.
Of course, we’re also on the outside looking in. We hear what people tell us, and we know what we can find on the internet. But in most cases, we’ve never really seen these guys play. There’s only so much college scouting a fan can do. Most of us have jobs, loved ones, social lives and bowel movements to deal with on a daily basis. You can follow your alma mater and watch the big games, but that’s about it.
Getting attached to certain college players inevitably leads to disappointment anyway. I watched Rey Maualuga every chance I got in 2008, and where did that get me? On a barstool cursing the Tin Man’s name, that’s where. As the draft nears it becomes safer to pick a favorite, but by then all the college games have been played.
What I’m getting at here is that we often decide whether or not we like a pick without actually having seen much of the player. It’s a guessing game. We gather as much info as we can, and make our assessment. Or maybe we make a snap-judgment. A lot of the time, we just want a player who plays a certain position.
There is usually about one pick per year that I immediately get behind. Sometimes I don’t even fully understand the motivation behind my selection. Our brains are tricksters. They like who they want to like. We’re just along for the ride.
The following is a list of Chiefs draft picks I was absolutely sure were going to be great before their rookie seasons even started. Some hits. More misses. Mel Kiper I am not.
Lake Dawson, 3rd round pick 1994- I was a 13-year-old going to catholic school in Kansas City, so I was required to mindlessly root for Notre Dame. I had dreams of Dawson, a Notre Dame grad, catching touchdowns from the most famous Notre Dame grad of all time. It looked like Dawson was going to be a playmaker for a while, but then his hands suddenly turned to stone. I guess transitioning from Joe Montana to Steve Bono will do that to a receiver.
Jerome Woods, 1st round pick 1996- I liked Woods even during his rookie year when our brain trust was trying to make him play cornerback. That was one of Carl’s moves, remember? Draft a safety, try to turn him into a corner. He also attempted it with Eric Warfield, William Bartee and Julian Battle. What can I say, he had a type.
Luckily in Woods’ case the Chiefs came to their senses and let him play safety, where he excelled. He was part of some bad defenses towards the end, but for about five years there he made going over the middle a scary prospect for opposing receivers. It was a pleasure to watch. Woods is probably one of my 10 favorite Chiefs of all time.
Kevin Lockett, 2nd round pick 1997- In 1997 the Chiefs picked Tony Gonzalez in the first round and Kevin Lockett in the second. The future of our passing game, it seemed, was finally secure. I thought Gonzalez and Lockett would be our passing game’s Jordan and Pippen. Turns out Lockett was more like the Toni Kukoc: flashes of talent and potential that eventually went nowhere.
Larry Atkins, 3rd round pick 1999- I think I liked Atkins because he was big? Honestly I hardly even remember. All I remember for sure is that I once famously (or infamously) guaranteed he would win the strong safety job over Greg Wesley. Obviously he was robbed.
Eddie Freeman, 2nd round pick 2002- Freeman was the pick we made after Ryan Sims. You gotta think other GMs were laughing at us pretty hard that year. I wasn’t high on the Sims pick, but for some reason fastened on Freeman immediately. I was probably trying to seem smart. “Oh, you like Sims? Yeah he’s OK I guess. Me, I’m a Freeman guy.” I also liked that he was in camp mixing it up while Sims was holding out. He famously bashed John Tait’s face in with his helmet, and I’ve always like my defensive linemen to have attitude, so unfortunately Freeman was right up my alley. He actually had four sacks his rookie year. After that……
I thought I saw Freeman once at dairy Queen. It turned out to be Eric Downing. True story (but not really).
Brett Williams, 4th round pick 2003- At the time I was championing a theory that we should spend our fourth round pick on an offensive lineman every year. Williams had a good pedigree, and there was a wealth of positive information about him on the web. I was high on this kid. Not “pro bowl left tackle” high, but “eventual starter” high. He was out of the league in two years.
Junior Siavii, 2nd round pick 2004- Just kidding, gang. I think everyone knew Siavii would suck. I really wanted Igor Olshansky that year. Instead we got the fat-ass who played next to him. Swish! I wish I could say I called Jared Allen’s breakout, but that would be a lie. I hated this entire draft class at the time. And other than Allen, they pretty much all sucked. We picked Siavii and Kris Wilson in the second round that year. Jesus, I think I’m going to be sick.
The entire 20005 draft class- We didn’t have a 2nd or 4th round pick and I was sure Derrick Johnson wouldn’t fall to us, so going into this draft my expectations were extremely low. Then we got DJ and I immediately put on the Gretz goggles. I believed that nonsense about how Colquitt put a crazy spin on the ball that made it impossible to catch. I thought Boomer Grigsby was the ghost of Mazlowski. Hell, I even had love for Will Svitek in my heart. This was maybe the most positive I’ve ever felt after a draft.
None of those picks worked out exactly as planned. Still, DJ and Colquitt have been solid starters for years now (although we overrate Colquitt a little). Things could’ve gone worse. In many of our drafts they did.
Bernard Pollard, 2nd round pick 2006- I know its become taboo to bring up Pollard, but I always really liked the guy. As soon as I found out his college nickname was Bonecrusher I was pretty much sold. He got better every year, too. He’s still doing it. People can justify it any way they want to, but letting Pollard go was a mistake. It made Pioli look foolish, and I think he knows it. That would certainly explain why he’s being so careful with Page.
Tank Tyler, 3rd round pick 2007- I was fooled by Tank’s bench press numbers and reputed nastiness. I think a lot of us were. The dream died for me in 2008 when we actually got to see him on the field. That line was the worst in league history, and Stank was a big part of the reason why. A lot of people still talked about his potential, but they were kidding themselves. I blame Hard Knocks.
Brandon Flowers, 2nd round pick 2008- Flowers was easily my favorite Chiefs draft pick of the last 10 years. If you’re drafting at the top of the second round, you’ve got to find the first-round talent who fell for a stupid reason. Flowers had a slow 40 time, so we scooped him up 15 picks later than he should’ve gone. Textbook. We had a chance to do the same thing this year with Sergio Kindle but passed. I think this is part of why I’m less into Dexter McCluster than most of Chiefs Nation. I can’t help but see him as a missed opportunity of sorts. Maybe I’m wrong. As this list illustrates, I have been many times in the past.
Back to Flowers. He’s awesome, and I knew he would be as soon as we picked him. I’m guessing most of you did, too. It just seemed so obvious. Much more so than Dorsey or Albert, at least in my mind. From the very beginning, it was clear that drafting Flowers was the right move. I wish that happened more often.
Ryan Succop, 7th round pick 2009- Succop was the only pick I initially gave a thumbs-up. Disliked all the others. Every one. Here we are a year later, and all that’s changed is that now I like Magee, too. Maybe next year at this time another guy will have changed my mind. That would be a pleasant surprise.
Jon Asamoah, 3rd round pick 2010- Sure I love Eric Berry, but everyone loves Eric Berry. I’m definitely not as high on our second round as most Chiefs fans seem to be. For me, Asamoah was the smartest pick. He may not fill a current need, but he fills a future need. By all accounts, getting him in the third round was a great value pick. I love value. I love to feel like we got more with a pick than the other teams around us. Asamoah is a prime example of that. And with this ancient interior line, a talented youngster to develop was a necessity. All in all, a great pick.
OK Addicts, what about you? Who’d you move all in on before they’d ever played a snap? Bragging about correct predictions is allowed, but I’m more interested in the embarrassing gaffes. I gave you plenty of my missteps, you owe me. If any of you predicted good things from Trezelle Jenkins I want to hear about it.
Article by Big Matt