Phil Emery, the former Director of College Scouting for the Kansas City Chiefs is now the GM and Chicago and he’s brought the famed Bill Belichick scouting and player evaluation method with him.
Belichick started crafting his system during his days as the head coach of the Cleveland Browns and perfected it in New England. Belichick then began teaching his system to his disciples, chief among them Scott Pioli and Thomas Dimitroff, who is now the GM of the Atlanta Falcons.
Whenever a team has the kind of success the Patriots have had over the course of the last decade, their coaching cupboard gets raided by other teams hoping to bring success to their own franchises. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.
It is often noted that coaches that got their start in New England have not often been able to replicate their previous success as head coaches. Romeo Crennel failed in Cleveland, as did Eric Mangini. Things went so badly for Josh McDaniels in Denver and then in St. Louis as an offensive coordinator that he’s returned to New England with his tail between his legs.
Where the New England luster has seemed to rub off, however, is in the front office. There is no denying that Dimitroff and Pioli have taken what they learned in New England and brought varying degrees of success to their new franchises as GMs. Dimitroff has had wild success in Atlanta and the Falcons, though they are struggling to get over the playoff hump, are a perennial Super Bowl threat. As for Pioli, though his success has been mixed, it can’t be denied that he has turned Kansas City’s franchise around. Pioli has basically built this Chiefs team from the ground up and managed to win the AFC West in only his second season despite a roster full of holes. Today the Chiefs look like a legit playoff contender and they appear to be built to win for the foreseeable future. What’s more, Pioli appears to be getting better at his job. His drafts have gotten better since his 2009 debacle and he is also doing a better job in free agency.
Folks around the league have likely taken note of the roster building in Atlanta and Kansas City. This offseason the Chicago Bears hired Emery away from the Chiefs to be their new GM, hoping he could bring the same kind of success to the Windy City.
In an article from the Chicago Sun-Times Pioli is quoted talking about how the scouting system has adapted and changes along with the game.
“So the third corner is a starter in today’s game,” Pioli said. “We were talking about guys who were third corners and weren’t given high-enough grades.
“It’s not anything that’s genius. It’s just trying to look at today’s league and understanding matching value versus just saying, ‘He’s a starting running back.’ ”
Pioli is right. With offenses throwing the ball more than ever before, a third CB can potentially be more valuable than say, a run-stuffing defensive tackle. Linebackers that can drop into coverage and cover an athletic TE might be of more worth than a block-eating monster. As such, the Chiefs have drafted a CB every year under Pioli.
It will be interesting to see how the Bears build their roster over the next few years and if all three teams are able to continue their drafting success. If that happens, teams won’t just be raiding the Patriots but the Chiefs as well. Just like the Bears did with Emery.