Chiefs fans, the 2011 NFL Draft is in the books, and right now even with all of the lockout drama in the NFL playing out like a mash up of “Law and Order” and “”Teen Mom” it’s hard to not be excited about the group of new young players acquired this past week. I have never been someone that follows or talks about the draft each year at great length, but I think we learned a great deal about the Pioli/Haley regime with this draft. Much of what we learned led us to the wise man conclusion reached by Socrates so many thousands of years ago: We truly know nothing.
I will be up front and honest here. I am not claiming to be all knowing and all seeing. I, like many of you, figured that this year we will see a lot more of the same. I figured we would go for “high character” guys with lots of college leadership that seemed to be “safe picks.” I figured we would draft a bunch of team captains that filled specific needs, but not take a lot of risks.* I was in the draft chat, doing my best not to sound like an idiot since I know very little about the players involved and how the inner-workings of the draft play out besides what I have learned from the draft posts on this site, when BAM! Not only do the Chiefs reach some on their first pick, but they go for a huge wide receiver with lots of potential and a bad rap for character flaws. As everyone tried to digest what had just happened with the Ravens not picking and the Chiefs basically running up on stage with their card I began to realize just how little I understood the plan for the Kansas City Chiefs, and then I became very excited to see just where this team was going.
*By risks I do not mean players with unseen talent, but rather players that would not fall in line easily, and that despite having great physical talent would ultimately be a risk because they couldn’t wrap their noodle around what the team and organization were trying to do.
Where this team is going, and Chiefs 2011 Beast Mode after the jump.
Although this draft addressed pretty much every major need for the team, there is a lot of surprise and speculation about some of the players drafted. Baldwin had some issues airing out the teams dirty laundry, and Houston couldn’t lay off the ganja long enough to pass his drug test (although Big Matt is pretty good at the peer pressure thing when it comes to smoking dope, that’s what kept me from getting a high paying job at the Walmart last year…), but these picks if risky, are a very good sign for the state of the Kansas City Chiefs. Our team is at a point in their development where we have enough leadership and enough core spots filled where we can take a couple of risks on high talent players. This draft officially takes the Kansas City Chiefs out of the “rebuilding mode” and places us in the next phase of trying to break out of mediocrity and become an elite team. Almost every elite team has taken players that are risky and depend on a core of leaders to manage that player to keep their head focused on the goal of the team. That goal of course is to win a championship. In every business it is pretty much the norm that your best people are often the hardest to manage. It is also true that when you have the leadership in place to challenge and motivate these people they achieve great things for themselves and the organization.
The Chiefs are transforming before our very eyes. This transformation has taken shape quickly, and it is as startling as it is exciting. Within three years we have gone from having no quarterback, a young talented but struggling receiver, a piece of shit running back (that’s for you LJ, I hope you read this), and a defense that was scared of its own shadow to the team we have now. It’s crazy to see the development of Cassel, Bowe, Charles, Hali, Flowers, and a bunch of other players in the past couple of years.
The Chiefs are not there yet, but this is the draft that indicates they are ready to go beast mode on the NFL and start to own teams. I previously stated that I think the Chiefs are going to have a rough season and perhaps regress, and I still think there is a possibility of that. I still think the combination of lockout and our schedule should put a ceiling on our expectations. I do, however, see the risks taken in this draft as providence that Pioli and Haley see their group of guys and realize that they now have the base in place to add freak wide receivers and defensive players that are a little risky. I think that they feel they have the control of their team coupled with a strong base of player leadership to bring in freakishly talented but headstrong guys to go out and rain hell, fire and damnation on the rest of the league. It is a very exciting time to be a Chiefs fan.