Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Mel Kiper vs. John Dorsey

It’s that time of year again, when we all scour every mock draft we can find and endlessly ponder and argue about what the Chiefs should do once April 25th rolls around.

Everyone has an opinion, most formed forged by a mix of personal preferences, tape study, and a survey of mocks and expert commentary. The problem is that draft science is far from a real science and Mel Kiper Jr. is not god. In fact, the man is our creation – he exists as a result of our obsession and boredom this time of year, and don’t get me wrong, I listen to his podcast, read his articles and scan through all of his mocks. Still, that is far from meaning that the Chiefs should take his advice on Draft day.

The big theme of this round of draft chatter is about how none of the QB’s are worthy of the first overall pick so therefore the Chiefs should steer clear of them with their first selection, choosing instead one of the standout pass-rushers or linemen.

Perhaps it’s my background as a journalist, but I hate groupthink and that includes the conventional wisdom that builds up around this time every year and then gets shattered by the guys actually making the decisions. Let’s be clear, regardless of whatever the self-styled draft scientists say, the player that is worth the Chiefs 1st pick is the player most likely to make the team better, Kiper’s big board be damned.

To me, it is obvious that this player is whoever the Chiefs deem to be the best quarterback prospect available. I believe that player to be Geno Smith, but what John Dorsey thinks is far more important than my amateur evaluation. In the coming weeks I will go through and detail why the Chiefs shouldn’t pick each individual other prospect that the so-called experts have mocked to them, but for now, I just want to point out that Dorsey has a much better track record than the “experts” when it comes to drafting quality players.

Let’s compare the Packers’ 1st-round picks since 2005 with what the scientists wanted them to choose:


2012: LB Nick Perry

Pick #: 28

Result: Jury Still Out. Perry started five games this season and racked up a couple of sacks, but couldn’t stay healthy and finished the year on injured reserve with a wrist injury.

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

2011: T Derek Sherrod

Pick #: 32

Result: Jury Still Out. I know it seems like a cop-out, but Sherrod has also seen limited time due to injury. He broke both the tibia and fibula in his leg during the team’s stunning loss to the Chiefs in 2011 and hasn’t been back on the field since. Before then, he started five games giving up no sacks but generating concern in Green Bay about his grasp of the fundamentals.

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

2010: T Bryan Bulaga

Pick #: 23

Result: High-end starter. Drafted late in the round, Bulaga has played right tacklke for three years “near a Pro Bowl level” and will get a shot at playing left tackle in 2013, according to the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel.

Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

2009: B.J. Raji

Pick #: 9

Result: Franchise player. Raji is a major force at his position and a difference-maker in games.

Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

2009: LB Clay Mathews

Pick #: 26

Result: Franchise player. Ditto for Matthews. 42.5 sacks since being drafted. ‘Nuff said.

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

2007: DT Justin Harrell

Pick #: 16

Result: Bust due to injury. There is an odd theme to injury being the bane of the Packers’ most promising young players, but it was again the case here. He was cut in 2011 after four disappointing seasons, which the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel summed up thusly: “Harrell never quite had a chance to cash in on his potential as injuries robbed him each season.” Still, he was drafted with a torn bicep suffered in college and was a risky pick on the behalf of the Packers’ front office.

2006: OLB A.J. Hawk

Pick #: 5

Result: High-end starter. ESPN insider describes him as: “an excellent combination of size, strength and athleticism for the position. He is an instinctive player who understands angles and how to the leverage the football. He has improved attacking the line of scrimmage being more physical on contact. He is solid as a zone coverage defender but may get exposed in combination man schemes.”

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

2005: QB Aaron Rodgers

Pick #: 24

Result: Living legend. A-Rodg probably has to get another Super Bowl victory to punch his ticket to Canton, but he is one of the best three quarterbacks playing this game right now, possibly the very best.

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports


All and all, not a bad haul for eight first-round picks – one bust, two high-end starters, two franchise players, and one superstar that will define this generation for the team. I don’t need to remind you of what the Chiefs got themselves through these years, but suffice to say it is significantly less stellar.

How did the experts do? Well, this is what Kiper, king of the draftniks, wanted Green Bay to do all of these years:


2012: LB Nick Perry

Ok, this one was sort of obvious. Green Bay needed a pass-rushing threat opposite Clay Matthews and Perry was projected to be the only one available at this spot.

2011: T Derek Sherrod

Ditto. Also shows that these iffy picks were eminently popular.

2010:  G Mike Iupati

Real pick #: 17 by San Francisco

Result: High-end starter. Scouts Inc. has him ranked as the 49ers’ 6th best player.

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

2009: CB Malcom Jenkins

Real pick #: 14 by New Orleans

Result: Good starter. The Saints moved him to free safety where he shows good overall skills on that dreadful defense but hasn’t been a difference maker. He has four interceptions in four seasons.

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

2008: CB Antoine Cason

Real pick #: 27 by San Diego

Result: High-end starter. He gives up big plays, but is overall still a solid d-back. His Madden 13 overall rating was 86, which is pretty dern good.

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

2007: RB Marshawn Lynch

Real pick #: 12 by Buffalo

Result: High-end starter. Lynch is a borderline franchise player and definitely would have been a good pick for Green Bay if Buffalo hadn’t snatched him four picks earlier. It’s also important to note, however, that Lynch was a trouble-maker who washed out for his first team, which very well could have been the Packers instead of the Bills.

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

2006: A.J. Hawk

Right again! Rival expert Todd McShay had the Packers taking TE Vernon Davis. Now that would be scary.

2005: S/OLB (?) Thomas Davis

Real pick #: 14 by Carolina

Result: Mediocre player. Davis’ biggest problems lately have been health. He only played nine games in three seasons from 2009 to 2011 and didn’t stand out in 15 starts in 2012, picking up 68 tackles, no sacks and one interception for the Panthers.

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports


So matched up against the real Green Bay front office, Kiper would have gotten for them four high-end starters plus one good and one mediocre player vs. one superstar, two franchise players, two high-end starters and a bust. That, of course is what conventional wisdom brings – low-risk moves that pay off but make no home runs.

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Was 24 the right spot for Aaron Rodgers to be drafted? Well, we know now that it definitely was not. Instead, Alex Smith was taken 1st overall that year followed by RB Ronnie Brown, WR Braylon Edwards, RB Cedric Benson, RB Cadillac Williams and CB Pacman Jones. Why? Well, it was a strong running back draft class, just like this is a strong draft for defensive front-seven players.

This is why the “best player available” philosophy is always so misunderstood. Best player available doesn’t mean “next player on Kiper’s Big Board” or “the consensus pick by the draft scientists.” It means finding a player with something special that you can envision helping your team, possibly leading it to the promised land. John Dorsey is much better at that part of the game than any of the talking heads, and has proven it.

Forget about what the crowd says would be “good value” for Chiefs #1 pick. Good value is going to be getting the best quarterback for the future we can. Trading Albert for a young tackle prospect is not good value. Picking up another overhyped D-lineman or undersized pass-rusher isn’t either.

In short, don’t listen to the chatter. Dorsey’s got this.

Jan 22, 2013; Mobile AL, USA; Kansas City Chiefs general manager John Dorsey discusses with his scouts and coaches following the Senior Bowl South Squad practice at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

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Tags: Best Player Available Green Bay Packers John Dorsey Kansas City Chiefs Mel Kiper Jr. NFL Draft Strategy

  • Patrick Allen

    Great post.

  • Lucas Hampton

    So far, I really like the John Dorsey hire. Comparing him to Scott Pioli, his draft choices are legit talent and could go pretty much anywhere in the league and still put up the same numbers. Whereas Pioli’s guys in New England, which are really Belichick’s not his, can’t do the same thing. The whole BPA mantra has a hidden meaning to it, was Aaron Rodgers the BPA when he was selected? Maybe not, but Favre was getting old and the team needed a QB of the future and there was Rodgers, the BPA who fit that need. So, with that in mind, I am confident in Dorsey that he will draft the BPA based on teams needs, which is what this team needs is a REAL GM and a REAL draft-er who can get the BPA to fill holes on our roster, if Mel Kiper and all them “experts” were to be followed and just flat out take the overall BPA, then Jarvis Jones or Luke Joeckel would be a Chief and at OLB we would be overstocked and at LT, assuming Albert is resigned, then again, overcrowding, wasting talent and a draft choice. I am confident in Dorsey that he will get us the BPA based on team needs

    • Merlin_Arrowhead_Addict

      Very well said Lucas

      • Lucas Hampton

        Thanks Merlin! I do my homework

  • Chief Hokie

    Are Kiper’s picks for the Packers based off of his mock drafts or his draft board? Because I feel like if Kiper went off of his board for the 2005 draft he’d have Rodgers ranked above Thomas Davis. If I remember correctly, wasn’t Rodgers projected to be top 10 and then he surprisingly slid all the way to Green Bay? While I’m not a fan of Kiper’s mock drafts and overall talent evaluation, his picks you have listed are actually pretty decent.

    • Jim Harper

      Rodgers was predicted to go

      • Darkwolf1414

        I don’t remember that he was predicted #1 overall. I DO remember that he slid quite a bit and the Packers got a steal.

      • Ron White

        Mel’s March 5 2005 board had Ronnie Brown #1, Alex Smith #5, Arron Rogers #7, and Derrick Johnson #9.

  • KCMikeG

    One thing to remember when assessing the success or failure of a draft pick is the situation they entered. Being thrown to the wolves as a starting QB behind a porous OL on a crappy team always playing from behind so the defense is bringing it full force every play will directly impact the success or failure of a pick. The flip side is Rodgers getting drafted and learning from a legend for years and then starting off the bench on a great team with most every piece in place.

    • Chief Hokie

      Not to mention the coaching situation and how they are developed. Say Aaron Rodgers had to start year one under a Brian Daboll led offense. You think he’d still have a starting gig? …Probably, because he’s Aaron Rodgers, but you get the point.

      I’d really be interested to see what a QB like Josh Freeman could become under Andy Reid. If we were to trade away draft picks for a QB, forget Alex Smith and Matt Flynn – gimme Freeman.

    • NicholasAlanClayton

      I actually wanted to make that point too but forgot. If you look at the Packers’ drafts, basically their only busts are due to injury, very rarely do they totally wiff on a guy and that’s largely because of the way they develop their players and team. A lot of guys ride the bench for a while (like Rodgers) and come into their own eventually, but they don’t push underprepared guys onto the field and they find ways to make their schemes and system make the player shine.

  • Bizoza

    I don’t like the idea that Nicholas doesn’t like group think, but turns around and says that Geno is the guy contradicts itself because that’s most of what I see on this site.The Geno battle cry has been heard, over, and over, and over. Geno or bust, If we don’t get Geno in the draft I am done with the Chiefs, Geno is worth the first draft pick because we haven’t picked a QB in the first round since 1983. It has actually turned me away from Geno. I don’t know who I like in the draft, but throwing Kiper under the bus because he disagrees with the fanatical, frothing at the mouth fans who must have Geno Smith is driving me away from enjoying any new content on this site. Its like listening to a song on repeat for several weeks on end now. I enjoyed reading articles that were written with different perspectives, and could look at things with more objective depth.

    • NicholasAlanClayton

      I wouldn’t say that everyone is in agreement over Geno. The fact that your comment has been voted up three times is some evidence of that. I’m not sold specifically on Geno. What I said was: “To me, it is obvious that this player (we should draft #1) is whoever the Chiefs deem to be the best quarterback prospect available. I believe that player to be Geno Smith, but what John Dorsey thinks is far more important than my amateur evaluation.”

      I’m not a pro scout and I don’t know which QB will work in Reid’s system better than Dorsey or Reid himself. Geno just looks the best to me, but if we take Wilson or Glennon or someone and Reid says that is the guy he wanted for his system, I will be satisfied. What I am annoyed with is people taking the “draft science” too seriously. Like if a player is a good pick at 10 and a great pick at 20, that doesn’t mean he will sink your team if he’s the guy you need and you take him at 1. With the new rookie wage scale the risk of financial burden is gone, and while ideally you want to pick a guy right around where he would have normally been picked in a perfect world — this isn’t a perfect world, not every team is running the same system or looking for the same players. Furthermore, just because you can’t find a trading partner to move down to the zone where that “should be taken” doesn’t mean you should take someone who will help out your less.

      • Bizoza

        I know not every single person wants Geno Smith, but there is a freakish number of people who are trying to cram it down the throats of people. The idea of Geno Smith was an idea I considered early during the season when draft talk started. I thought he would be a good prospect, saw some video, heard some talk, and thought “hey this guy might be good”. Then I heard some negative things and thought well, we could look at other players too, and make sure we were taking the right guy with the first overall pick. That was about the time people started saying that we had to take a QB with the first pick, no matter what. I started to question that idea just because that kind of thinking leads me to believe that people are being blind to any other thought. The more draft talk went on, the more people were frothing at the mouth. I think people are overlooking his shortcomings and setting themselves up for failure. The articles here are an enjoyable part of my day, but its just frustrating to see people getting caught up in this Genofever.

        • NicholasAlanClayton

          Well QB is the team’s biggest need by a long shot, in fact, the team’s deficiency at that position that has been holding it down for nearly a decade. There’s not much out there in Free Agency (Smith? Vick? Flynn? Really?) that excites me, so that leaves the draft. The other top rated players are at positions that won’t really help us, at least not to the extent that even mediocre QB play will. I’d even be in favor of us going like the Redskins and picking up two rookies QB’s to develop in order to hedge our bets. And, while this may be a down year for QB prospects, we hold the #1 pick and therefore the keys to our destiny, we can take any young player we want and I think that, given the state this team is in, it would be foolish if that player is not a quarterback. That’s how I look at it anyway.

    • Darkwolf1414

      I think it’s funny that you were turned away from Geno because people want him. I also don’t believe that Nicholas threw Kiper under the bus. On the contrary. He said that Kiper was actually right about some of the picks when compared to Dorsey. Reading this article actually made me look at Kiper in a somewhat good light for the very first time.

      • Bizoza

        You might think its funny, but I see it as a group of people outside, protesting something. They have an idea, and it might not be a bad idea, but if you aren’t completely sold on it, and you see it every day, and they get overzealous, you start to question if they can see anything in its true light.

        • Darkwolf1414

          I didn’t mean I thought it was “haha” funny. I just found it interesting. Your initial statement made me believe that you didn’t like him simply because people were hyping him. It seems illogical to me but your last comment shows that’s not what you meant. I’m not an easy conformist myself. I have to research it and believe it on my own. I AM on the Geno Smith bandwagon because what I see is that most of the flaws that people talk about are due to his team, namely his defense, not carrying their weight. We will all see, when he comes into the NFL, whether he has the “it” factor or not. I just happen to believe that he does.

  • sidibeke

    I’m glad we’ve got Dorsey and Reid making this pick instead of Pioli!

    • mnelson52


  • Danny W

    Good read NAC

  • Darkwolf1414

    Very good article. I’ve always thought of Kiper as kind of a buffoon. You showed me that at least he’s right sometimes. For draft “gurus” I prefer Mike Mayock. He has always seemed to back his arguments, for players, up more. He also doesn’t seem to like to listen to himself speak as much as Kiper does. I’m with you, I’m glad Dorsey has this. I feel like I can trust his judgement and experience. Hopefully, our trust in him brings our team a ton of success and some championships.

  • Stacy D. Smith

    Now let’s hope John Dorsey likes Geno Smith.