The Nico Johnson Debate Part 2

LM: Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of the Chiefs selecting Nico Johnson with the  99th pick in the draft is… all the good players they passed up to take him instead.

The first one that comes to mind is Safety Shamarko Thomas taken 12 picks later by the Pittsburgh Steelers. In Pittsburgh they are hailing Thomas as the next Troy P. He was a three year starter and actually started more games in his junior and a senior seasons (23) than Nico Johnson started in his four years at Alabama (20). Thomas had two interceptions as a senior with 3 forced fumbles and 85 tackles (that’s 6.5 tackles per game if you’re keeping score). His 4.38 40 and ball hawking skills should make any fan think twice.

Other prospects the Chiefs passed on to take Nico Johnson include: Khaseem Greene, Jordan Poyer, DT Jesse Williams (Alabama), Barrett Jones (Alabama), C Brain Schwenke, or Oday Oboushi.

Quinton Patton is a 4.4 40 wideout who was taken 29 picks later by the San Francisco 49ers and was rated the 58th best prospect in this draft by NFLDraftScout and CBS Sports. When fans ask me where I get off making “my” evaluations more important than the Chiefs leadership I say I don’t have to… I can use highly successful teams as good examples. I think the 49ers and the Steelers qualify.

Plus, it all leads me to wonder how faithful Andy Reid and John Dorsey were to their own draft boards because it looks like what they were really doing was drafting for need while simultaneously misevaluating a potential prospect.


SDS: There are quite a few assumptions at work here, Mr. Morse. It’s your contention that the Chiefs added insult to injury by drafting Nico Johnson and subsequently forfeiting the right to select a better player there (like Shamarko Thomas). That assumes that Thomas will be the superior player in the NFL and there’s currently not much information available to substantiate that claim. It also assumes that Thomas was rated ahead of Johnson on the Chiefs’ big board. A third, less apparent assumption surfaces once you consider the first two. The idea that general manager John Dorsey was unfaithful to his board suggests that his “best player available” mantra doesn’t also take positional need and value into consideration. There is entirely too much behind the curtain to establish any of that.

All of this talk about missing on a prospect ignores the fourth round elephant in the room. According to the “Day Three of the Draft” article on Draft Metrics, players drafted in this round only have a 1-in-6 chance of being five-year starters in the NFL anyway.

What’s wrong with taking a “developmental player” there? This study also suggests the rate of success for linebacker is higher than it is for the safety position. In fact, it has the second-highest success rate behind the center position. That data shrinks your list of would-be alternatives to just two players (Barrett Jones and Brian Schwenke).


LM: All right Mr. Smith, you’re making a load of assumptions about what I may or may not have said. What I am clear about is that there is nothing sacred about John Dorsey or Andy Reid. They just happen to be the next people hired by Clark Hunt. Looking at a player that was drafted by another highly successful organizations following the Chiefs pick is a legitimate way to determine if the Chiefs may or may not have done the right thing.

Using the information in these graphs to support the idea that — since mid-round picks don’t succeed all that often so we might as well throw it away on a developmental player — doesn’t fly.  Every pick is critical and there were others… not only plenty rated by media outlets… but other successful franchises that the Chiefs should be emulating or they’re just subjugating themselves. That seems to be what you’re suggesting.

One player many critics could agree was an all-round excellent college ILB, who was taken after Nico Johnson, was A.J. Klein out of Iowa State. Described as instinctual, Klein had 361 tackles in a 49 game 4 year career averaging 7.3 tackles per game. Rob Rang of CBS Sports says of A.J. Klein,

… he became a starter in 2010 and was quickly a standout, registering 111 tackles, 8.0 tackles for loss and three interceptions (two returned for touchdowns), earning All-Big 12 Honorable Mention honors. He followed that up two more remarkably statistically-similar campaigns, averaging 116.5 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks and another interception, each of which he returned for a score… Klein leaves Iowa State having tied the FBS record with four touchdowns scored off of interception returns. Named a consensus All-Big 12 player in 2012 and the co-Defensive Player of the Year out of the conference… in 2011, Klein has proved himself to be among the more consistent and dependable linebackers in the country… don’t be among those “surprised” when his success continues in the NFL, even if he winds up being drafted later than his production would seem to warrant.


SDS: Unless you’ve had a change of heart about linebackers who lack a coverage skillset over the last 24 hours, Klein (drafted some 49 spots lower than Johnson) is a bad example of a player the Chiefs can expect three downs from. Don’t take my word for it though.

Rob Rang, CBS Sports:

Does not possess ideal fluidity for man to man coverage in the NFL.

Sigmund Bloom, Bleacher Report:

Klein is not as good at mirroring offensive players in man coverage, where his speed and change of direction limitations are exposed.

Charlie Campbell, Walter Football:

He looks short on speed and athleticism to be a pass-defender in the NFL.

James Christensen,

Lacks elite change of direction skills for man coverage.

Joseph Person, Charlotte Observer:

He is known more for his run-stopping abilities than his coverage skill.

He clearly suffers from the same afflictions as a pass defender. Klein isn’t comparable to Johnson in run support either. He struggles to bring ballcarriers down in the open field and has difficulty running a play down from the back side. He’ll also have a steeper learning curve coming from Iowa State’s 4-3 defense. I’m not convinced that he was a better option for the Kansas City Chiefs. Nico Johnson is an exceptional run defender and that will be his primary responsibility next to Derrick Johnson.


LM: “Nico Johnson is an exceptional run defender.” ??? Wow. I will let others decide for themselves. Here’s a video collection of some of Nico Johnson’s “Lowlights.”  If you still think NJ is an “exceptional run defender” after  watching this I will have to stop debating with you because I’ll know I am talking to the wind. The most surprising aspect of the following clips is that they were all taken from games identified as “Nico Johnson HIGHLIGHTS.” Highlights indeed. These are just a random sampling of Nico Johnson’s work on the field. After watching hours of his games I can say with conviction that he is not consistent and currently lacks the skillset or experience to perform at the pro level. Do I want NJ to succeed? Yes, absolutely. In fact, I hope Stacy Smith is right. However, I’ve been following the Kansas City Chiefs closely now for more than four decades and I’ve seen players come in and bust like Ryan Sims, Percy Snow, Mike Bell and Rod Walters so all I’m saying is… the odds don’t look good that Nico Johnson will make it.


SDS: Respectfully, I’m not sure I agree with much of your game tape analysis. Here’s my play-by-play counter-perspective:

1. Guard Will Blackwell (#60) was draped around NJ’s knees. I’m not sure he had a real chance to bend and achieve the proper pad level there.

2. This was a weakside run, Mr. Morse. I’m curious to know why you lay blame at Johnson’s feet for this. In fairness though, he will be responsible for back side help in the NFL.

3. Johnson was a non-factor on this play. In this instance, you’ll get no argument from me.

4. It’s tough to know who had coverage responsibility there. A case can be made that Dont’a Hightower allowed that reception. At least Johnson eventually made the stop.

5. This is a rather curious analysis here. Johnson had an offensive lineman latch onto his back seconds after the ball was snapped. I would hardly call that “overrunning” the play. It should also be noted that the aforementioned offensive lineman who “pancaked” him was not the right guard, it was actually the center P.J. Lonergan.

6. There’s plenty of blame to go around on this defensive play. There were at least two defensive lineman who were mauled at the point, the outside backer overran the play, and  Hightower (like Johnson) also took a bad angle. Johnson did get cut there and that took him completely out of the play. He definitely needs to share responsibility for this touchdown.

7. This is another situation where it’s hard to know whose man made the catch. Hightower was lined up over the tight end there. You could also make a case that the blitzing linebacker could’ve put a better jam on the tight end (who basically got a free release from the line of scrimmage).

8. Johnson either made a late read or had a delayed reaction to his read. A quicker read or reaction probably means fewer yards on that play.

9. The Tennessee blocking was superb on this play. Johnson was blocked and still managed to shed and made the stop. He could’ve shot his gap sooner than he did, but you don’t want undisciplined play from your linebackers. Sticking your nose into a line where everyone is neutralized, sooner than necessary, means 7-8 more yards or a touchdown if the ballcarrier is able to put a move on a defensiveback. Johnson still made the tackle.

10. I concede that this was a costly mental error on the part of Nico Johnson. This came at a crucial time when the Vols were threatening to score and get back into the game.

11. Being cut by offensive linemen is an area of concern for Johnson. I’m noticing a trend though. You keep writing this simplistic narrative where Nico Johnson gets to be solely responsible for every positive play surrendered. This off-tackle run to the right (for a touchdown) involves several mistakes, from several defenders.

12. Johnson was nearly cut again here, but he narrowly avoided it and went on to bring the ballcarrier down. Have you nothing to say about Trey DePriest’s high-pad level that got him stood up and washed out of the play (which also contributed to the length of that run)?

13. Nearly cut again here, but he recovered quickly and pushed the runningback out wide, limiting him to just two yards. He got destroyed trying to make the stop. The play should’ve ended sooner, but someone other than Nico Johnson missed a tackle in the backfield. I’m sure you saw that though.

14. This was definitely Johnson’s fault. He got sealed off and that opened up a big hole for the runningback. I’m not sure why, but you keep confusing the center P.J. Lonergan for a guard.

15. Johnson wasn’t fooled by the fake, closed quickly, and limited the back to a minimal gain. What’s the problem here?

16. Both of the inside linebackers are culpable for this run.

17. Johnson gave up the inside there. That completion is absolutely on him.

18. Johnson was on the back side of this play. Trey DePriest made this tackle. The analytical devil is in the details, Mr. Morse.

19. Copeland won that battle for sure. Johnson needs to get lower on a play like that.

20. The defensive line was vaporized on this play. Not much Nico could’ve done to stop that.

21. NJ was a step late in coverage and it created just enough room for the back to make the catch and reach the first-down marker.

22. Johnson was on the opposite side of the field. The blame for this play should go to Trey DePriest and Deion Belue (for two missed tackles).

Of these 22 plays, I believe Nico Johnson is only partially or fully responsible for about 9 of them (or 41%). That’s not as compelling as you make it seem. He’s certainly not the perfect football player. There are areas of his game that need drastic improvement. I’m confident, that with a little coaching, he’ll be an asset to this football team. Time will ultimately tell which one of us was right about him.

This concludes our debate. Who do you think won?

Use the comment section below to weigh in and to share your own thoughts about Nico Johnson. This has been quite the experience for both Ladner and I. It’s all been in good fun and we hope you enjoyed our exchange. You may see us square off again in the future so stay tuned!

Until next time, Addicts!

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  • Tyler Alexander

    The video is Busch league. You could make a low light video for every player drafted that looks worse than that. The 3yds or less “failures” are a joke right?

    • berttheclock

      They might have been trying to get Budweiser to sign on as a sponsor.

      • ladner morse

        Good one!

    • ladner morse

      It’s not about how many yards were gained or lost on each play. It’s about evaluating how Nico Johnson responded on each play. That’s the only criteria I used for choosing a particular clip. There and a great number of other plays displaying Nico Johnson’s poor performance. Yes, you could make a “Lowlights” video for any player but, what was being focused on here was NJ’s consistency or patterns at play. This then… was merely a small sampling of what you could expect to see from him as time goes by. If you were to go through every tape of Nico Johnson with the idea of putting together a video that truly reflects his overall performance you would have produced something very similar to what you see here.

      • Tyler Alexander

        I respect ur passion and knowledge of the game but ur really over thinking this. Its unrealistic to think anyone can peel off of every block every time against the best competition college football has to offer. There is no more reactionary position in football than MLB other than CB so finding mistakes are easier.

        • ladner morse

          I remember when DJ came out of Texas in 2005… many pundits were saying he played soft and used his speed to get to the ball carriers and was unwilling to fight through blockers physically. Nobody is saying that now. So, I understand how an evaluation of a prospects college game may end up having no leg to stand on. However, when I watched film on DJ I saw someone who was effective a high percentage of the time. As I have watched hours of film on Nico I see someone who is not effective a high percentage of time. All I’m doing is reporting what I see. I think many Chiefs fans are “hoping” Nico is the answer at ILB. I don’t see it happening. That’s all.

          Once again… I realize it may not be fair to compare DJ and NJ but, that’s part of the point isn’t it? NJ is not nearly in the same league at this same point in their careers… and what league would that be? The National Football League.

          • bleh

            but Dorsey and reid think that he is.

            so til proven otherwise, stop writing off players
            we have enough negativity without you playing “scout”

          • ladner morse

            If we like the pick… we’re a homer…
            If we disagree… we’re playing scout…

          • elly violette

            I don’t think it was bush league at all. I very much enjoyed it.

          • chiefdeorty

            You do sound negative in some of your articles, be a true Chiefs fan, try it you might like it. This year should be about hope, new coaching staff, a lot of different players. Why don’t we stop all the negative talk and join in on how this year could and should be a break out year for the team and players.

          • ladner morse

            If you can only take reading up and positive posts try Googling one of these half a dozen or so articles:

            The Chiefs Vision And The 2013 Draft

            Chiefs To Taste Another 1st Round Double?

            The Chiefs And The Wheel Of Fortunate Evaluations

            K.C. Chiefs: Long Division Calculations

            The Chiefs Injury Contingency

            Chiefs Stars Are A-Lining

          • chiefdeorty

            So I guess you wrote those and they are positive but it is all the negative stuff it reminds me of reading the Star last year, just so much negativity coming from so called fans. however I have to give them the benefit of doubt because of Scott P. I don’t know but it just seems to me that everyone should be up beat with what is going on with the team, I don’t know thats just what I think.

          • dominicscarlatti

            Well, the Star was mostly correct about the last regime, wasn’t it? Maybe you would feel more comfortable simply reading Chiefs PR releases…?

          • elly violette

            I have read many of Morse’s articles and many of them are positive. However, I have noticed e doesn’t fall in line with everything that comes out of the Chiefs headquarters.

          • dominicscarlatti

            What, you cannot tolerate the expression of a viewpoint different than your own? This terrific site would collapse without principled disagreement about Chiefs issues.

            For the record, I rather enjoyed this debate.

  • berttheclock

    Excellent exchange on the merits of Johnson, however, as for Thomas. The Steelers gave up a 2014 3rd to move up to take this fast hard hitting safety. With the injury history of the two safeties in Pittsburgh, he will find playing time this year. If anything, the Steelers drafted him for need. However, he is only five eight and better suits coming up in run support, plus, he could well be an excellent ST player. I believe the league will begin to follow the Seattle approach of Chancellor, meaning, bigger and stronger safeties and the smaller safeties such as Thomas will only become role players.

    Now, with that said, Patton as a fast WR or Schwenke to back up Hudson might have been the better choice, but, I will continue to defer to Dorsey as an evaluator. BTW, as for the Draft Metric, especially, considering you mentioned the skills of the Niners in selecting talent, a third of their roster is made up of their own draft picks from the 4th round to the 7th and UDFAs. Baalke does not just bring in UDFAs, nor does John Schneider of the Seahawks, merely to use as practice fodder.

    • ladner morse

      Good point about the Niner’s roster but, they have missed early too (nobody is perfect) like with Chilo Rachal who is now with the Arizona Cardinals. What I do like that they did though… was continue to take OL early on and so Rachal became dispensable. The Center position is likely the weakest spot on the Chiefs roster now with no true back up to an inexperienced starter. That’s another reason a Center would have been a good choice.

      • Danny W

        With Hudson’s injury history we go ahead and take Kush who know one has ever heard of ever.

        • bleh

          not true at all. andy reid said, and multiple scouting groups said, that kush was a guy to watch in the draft as a major sleeper.
          you really try to be negative about players you have never seen play. just STOP. I can list about 90 percent of the nfl that you had never heard of going into the draft.

          uh oh, danny W doesn’t know who kush is! BAD PICK!!!!

        • chiefdeorty

          Whats that got to do with anything? who knows he might turn out to be very good.

        • shayaan

          yeah, we should definitely draft based on who people have heard of. i’m shocked you aren’t a GM already.

    • elly violette

      I thought Quinton Patton would go much earlier too. I read some place he was the 60th or so best prospect.

  • Jarad

    I enjoy AA, but this one was a little bit of a beating for me. I feel we all lost in this one

    • Danny W

      They’re both contributors to AA.

      • Jarad

        Um yea, I get that. I’ve enjoyed a lot of posts in the past, but these 2 on NJ have been my least favorite by far.

    • elly violette

      I enjoyed the debate. What did you not like about it?.

  • Shawn Duce

    “Looking at a player that was drafted by another highly successful organizations following the Chiefs pick is a legitimate way to determine if the Chiefs may or may not have done the right thing.” What?? Legitimate?? None of them have played a single snap

    • Danny W

      Successful organizations tend to pick their draft picks with some success. If they take an all consensus better player than the Chiefs then it’s likely said player was the better prospect. Anything can happen but not likely Nico is better in this case.

      • bleh

        really? like Taamu and Decastro right? they cant get hurt, cant get beat, and are so good KC is just too blind to notice.

        • shayaan

          perfect examples of how ridiculous that theory is, well done.

      • shayaan

        “all consensus better player”, lol.

      • elly violette

        Looking at who the best teams are drafting makes since to me too. I’m not sure why others don’t get that idea.

    • ladner morse

      Would you say that the Steelers have had better drafts over the years than the Chiefs? If you didn’t answer yes to that question then perhaps you can explain why they have won more Super Bowls than anyone else?

      Now… saying that “taking a look at a player drafted by teams like the Steelers is a legitimate way to determine if a prospect will be good”… should hold some weight.

      • bleh

        they have a QB, that is how. they have good coaching, that is how. but if you look at their roster, they haven’t drafted well in years
        missed picks all over the map

        • ladner morse

          That’s why I also mentioned the 49ers who have done a top notch job drafting in the past half a dozen years.

      • Shawn Duce

        Under your theory 90% of the guys in the league are bums b/c they weren’t drafted by top notch teams…but your right,if the steelers/49ers didnt draft them then there bad picks,lol

    • shayaan

      agreed, that sentence and logic made my head spin. a successful team drafting a player you like better than who the chiefs drafted determines absolutely nothing.

  • Brady Jones

    When AJ Klein is a 5 time pro bowler 7 years down the road and we cant even think of the linebacker we selected at 99 in this years draft the sting might start to go away. Ive been trying to see what the coaches see but unfortunately its not within the tape so it must be in the drills. He seems fluid but he takes terrible angles and loses his awareness way to often. My guess is why he didn’t start that much. As a middle backer in collage myself I can tell you right now I would of been ragging his ass in film and telling him to grow a pair. He has potential but lacks the instincts needed at the next level to become elite.

    • Danny W

      Oh I’d say he has about a 2 or 3 percent chance of becoming elite. That said I’d give him a 50 percent chance he’s not even on the ball team in 2015. Bad draft choice IMHO.

  • ArrowFan

    I think Knile Davis wins the argument.

  • dominicscarlatti

    Mike Bell a bust? Seriously?

    • ladner morse

      Mike Bell was taken the year after Art Still and the Chiefs believed they would be creating outstanding DE bookends for the next decade but that didn’t materialize. Bell turned out to be marginally good.. did play for 12years but averaged 3.3 sacks per season (40 sacks for his career). I watched every Chiefs game in the 80′s and it was not a fun time for Chiefs fans. The Chiefs had some fairly decent defenses in that time but, it was not due to Mike Bell.

      • berttheclock

        But, just think Kellon Winslow might not have become a HOFer under the Marv Levy system had he been taken instead of Bell. That was the typical debate of offense or defense selection.

      • dominicscarlatti

        Yes, I go back to 1969 as a diehard, so I remember all those guys you referenced. However, a player who is a 12-year starter and two-time Pro Bowl alternate is hardly a bust. A disappointment given his draft position is not the same thing as a bust.

  • Danny W

    I thought the arguments were fair and concise, that said I’m not convinced Nico Johnson will amount to a hill of beans in the NFL. I thought he could reach Jevon Belcher material and now I’m not thinking he can even achieve that. I’d say he’s going to be a special teamer while Akeem Jordan plays opposite DJ.

  • Tyler Eckstein

    I see Jordan starting atleast a year or 2 while NJ play special teams. If he ever does start at ISLB he won’t be anything special just average at best. As for the debate both made good points. GO CHIEFS!

    • chiefdeorty

      I think you are wrong one that assumption I think Nico will start or soon after the season starts. Nico I see as very hungry to prove people wrong, he is strong and determined. Of course we won’t truly know until the season starts but I see something in him and while I don’t claim to be a great talent guy I just sense it. I don’t think that safety will have near the impact Nico will have they should have taken Commings if they wanted a safety R&D I think might have found the steal of the draft considering the safety position. Nico will be a great player and that settles it!

    • elly violette

      Nico Johnson seems more like a special teams player to me.

  • cyberry

    It seems like (just an outside observation) Reid prefers/wants 6 foot DB’s. Arenas was 5-9..traded. Menzie was 5-11..(rounded up)..cut.. Shamarko was only 5-9..overlooked. Plus Reid made a comment about Flowers playing at the slot at times..which I don’t think it would happen often after Reid sees what he brings to field daily, Brandon is underrated by most in the league..which I think is about to change..

    • bleh

      good point man

    • shayaan

      reid is not stupid enough to not already be well aware of what brandon flowers brings to the table.

      him lining up in the slot in the first minicamp was done just for the sake of moving everyone around and seeing their capabilities, not because reid doubts his ability to perform on the outside.

      • cyberry not a weak point.. It’s some teams strength. Wes Welker had 1400 yards receiving in the slot position.

    • htmn74

      Flowers in the slot gets Smith and Commings/Robinson on the outside but more important increases the takeaway potential which this team is dying for. We need turnovers. Flowers and Berry are our best ball hawks.

  • Jim Harper

    I assume this was all done just for shits and giggles, because what’s done is done, and all I can think about is how Reid is going to craft all the players we have into a winning ball club and not cry over who we did not get. So please tell me Laddie that this was just about having some fun with it.

    • ladner morse

      Jim… of course it was. Stacy sent out an email asking AA writers if anyone wanted to do a debate…. I bit… and here we are.

      So many times on sites such as ours you’ll hear only one side of things. This offered us the opportunity to dig deeper… represent opposite sides of an issue — which also gives voice to fans who may already feel a certain way — then create a little bit of a competitive atmosphere and of course………… have some fun.

      For instance… I’ve been wanting to do a video composite for some time now. The debate gave me the impetus to get er dun.

  • elly violette

    I enjoyed the debate. The first part was better for Stacy and Ladner proved his points better in part two. A job well done to both of you. Keep it coming!

  • Lyle Graversen

    First off, I love the debate posts, takes me back to a couple posts I did with Big Matt once upon a time. I thought both of you did a great job of making your case. However, Ladner it almost seems like you have an unnatural hatred of Nico where all you see are his flaws (which he does have). I thought Stacy seemed a little more objective. Keep in mind this is coming from an admitted Kool Aid drinker, so the fact that I leaned towards the pro-KC player side shouldn’t be a shock. I think Nico will be a solid 2 down run support LB.

    • ladner morse

      Lyle… wow… “an unnatural hatred”… I don’t have any idea what you’re referring to. I actually like Nico as a person. I’ve said that. I also liked him back in January but, the closer I look then the more there is to see that is not to like — IN HIS PERFORMANCE. I don’t hate anyone and if you knew me as a person you’d know this to be true. That’s why I’m offended by your comment and would like to here you back up what you’re saying.

      There is a natural negative tendency that comes with taking the “CON” side of a debate… but, claiming I have an “unnatural hatred” sounds like a hateful thing to accuse someone of who you don’t know at all.

      So, please tell me… what did I say or do that was an “unnatural hatred?”

      Really… I’m the most peace loving laid back hippie anti-gun person you’ll ever meet. I’m surprised Lyle. What were you thinking when you said that?

      • Stacy D. Smith

        You were good ’til you said “anti-gun.” You should probably run now!

        • dominicscarlatti

          Will your next debate with Ladner feature the burning topic of gun control? ;-)

      • James Wilson

        anti-gun…and i used to like you mr. morse

      • Lyle Graversen

        Whoa, Ladner, my bad. Bad choice of words. I’ve got nothing but respect for you based on everything I’ve read here at AA. I certainly did not mean you hated Nico Johnson the person, I was referring to him as a player. My point was that it seems like when you watch him play you’re looking for, and only seeing the negative. Where as Stacy seemed more willing to concede there were negatives but also argue the positive side. As he pointed out in his counter to your video some of those plays were plays that you see happen to quality NFL LBs every game. Yes, he got taken out of plays, took bad angles, etc. If he didn’t ever have that happen he would have been a first round pick.

        With a mid round pick I don’t think the question is “Does he have some flaws?” because the answer for every player in the mid rounds is yes, that’s why they are a mid round prospect. The question with mid round guys is “Do you see some positives that you could build on and develop?” Based on the games I’ve watched I see someone I think can be developed into a good 2-down run stopper. Will I be shocked if he busts? No, because as you did a good job of pointing out, he does have flaws. I just see some hope for him as well.

        Your strongly stated “con” stance on Nico came across as if you see little to no chance that he will ever become a solid NFL player. I just thought that was a little too “Anti-Nico as a player” even for a con position. That is what I apparently failed to express in my above comment. It was not intended to be a personal attack in any way, shape, or form.

        • ladner morse


          All of the following statements were stated in this debate about Nico Johnson… by me. Now, I’m wondering if you really read the article… and if so.. then what else could be motivating your accusations?

          “I hope John Dorsey and Andy Reid were right about Nico Johnson and that he can come in pick up coverage assignments and learn to be instinctive, read NFL offenses and pick blockers off for Derrick Johnson.”

          “Nico is a good guy so I hope he makes it for his
          sake as well.”

          “Nico Johnson should be viewed as a developmental player.”

          “Admittedly, Nico Johnson is a very good athlete”

          “Do I want NJ to succeed? Yes, absolutely. In fact, I hope Stacy Smith is right.”

          • Lyle Graversen

            Okay, I don’t want to butt heads over this thing. I admitted that I worded my original comment poorly but I think my last reply was pretty clear. I DID read both posts and DON’T have some kind of anti-Ladner agenda that’s “motivating my accusations”. I just thought Stacy’s take on Nico’s play was more fair. None of the comments you just listed in your reply are actual positive takes on his play ON THE FIELD. I was not trying to say you wanted to him to fail or hate him as a person or want to kick his dog or anything. It just seemed to me you overlooked some of the positive things he did on the field. Yes he made mistakes, but I’ve also seen him display some great run stuffing abilities and do a great job of taking on blockers which is exactly what he will be asked to do to free up DJ.

            Let me put it this way. If someone had never watched Nico play a single snap and based their opinion of him only on your observations of his play in these posts I think they would come away thinking that Nico is bad against both the run and pass and isn’t someone that can help KC. I quote:

            “After watching hours of his games I can say with conviction that he is not consistent and currently lacks the skillset or experience to perform at the pro level.”

            Compared to this from Stacy:

            “He’s certainly not the perfect football player. There are areas of his game that need drastic improvement. I’m confident, that with a little coaching, he’ll be an asset to this football team.”

            I just happen to think Stacy’s stance is more balanced. You may ultimately end up being right about Nico, we’re both entitled to our opinion. Just because I thought Stacy’s take was more accurate doesn’t mean I have an agenda.

          • ladner morse

            Saying Stacy has a more balanced approach to Nico Johnson is totally different than stating… that I have an “UNNATURAL HATRED of Nico Johnson’s work.

            It was a DEBATE. One person takes one side the takes the opposite. You mis-interpreted that process. It’s not my job to make Stacy’s case for him. If Stacy thinks that I am partially right then he’s making my case for me.

            Look at it this way… if I wrote in a DEBATE… that third round choice Alex Magee was not going to make it and that I didn’t see that he had the skill set to be a pro player…. would you have responded the same way?

            BTW… Magee is out there now as a free agent… do you want the Chiefs to pick him up? If not, why?

            If my own child was given a bicycle by his grandma but I thought the bicycle was never going to work … don’t you think I should say something to my child before she gets her hopes up?

            After all… even within the context of a DEBATE… it’s just my opinion. And just because I stick to my opinion during a DEBATE… you think I have AN UNNATURAL HATRED.

            It’s over the top and you still haven’t said anything to me that tells me you understand the process of a DEBATE… or believe I was being fair handed. It’s a DEBATE… I’m not supposed to be stating the positives about the other person’s point of view.

            I think you are likely like many other fans right now… you can’t stand to hear the negative realities. However… and I stated this in my half of the piece… I am pulling for Nico Johnson… and I want him to succeed. It’s just my OPINION that he won’t.

            Sticking to my opinion doesn’t make me “UNBALANCED”… that’s not the goal of a DEBATE and yet I still did say positive things about Nico Johnson so I’m still wondering why you would go out of your way to say the types of things you’re saying?

            I can only think you have some other agenda. Really Lyle, I’m miffed by your comments and the apparent lengths you have gone to cover what you have said without clearly understanding what the DEBATE process is all about. Instead you seem to have made this into something else.

            What it is that’s motivating you now… isn’t clear to me. Saying that you think Stacy won the debate is one thing. Many others have done that. That’s their opinion. Even Patrick said he thought Stacy won round one. But, that’s not what you have said. You went in other directions that tells me you seem to have another… perhaps a personal… agenda.

          • Lyle Graversen

            Ladner, I’d like you to really go back and read my last two replies objectively and then look at your last two replies and tell me which of us is really making this personal. In fact, go back and read my original comment and substitute “were a little too critical of Nico’s play on the field” in place of “have an unnatural hatred of Nico” which is really what I was trying to say. Would you still have been SO upset?


Despite the fact that I have now twice referenced that I chose my words poorly in my original comment regarding the “unnatural hatred”, I quote:


”Whoa, Ladner, my bad. Bad choice of words. I’ve got nothing but respect for you based on everything I’ve read here at AA.”

            You continue to throw those words back in my face.


Despite the fact that I have twice tried to bring the conversation back around to Nico’s play ON THE
            FIELD you continue to respond with things like.

            “I’m wondering if you really read the article.”

            “It’s over the top and you still haven’t said anything to me that tells me you understand the process of a DEBATE”


”I can only think you have some other agenda.”

            While I specifically clarified:

            “It was not intended to be a personal attack in any way, shape, or form.”

            I’d like to think that my reputation around AA is one that is open minded and I think you’d have a hard time finding anyone who would claim I attacked them personally. Short of my original poor choice of words,
            which I have admitted was a mistake I don’t think you’ll find anything in my replies that is as disrespectful as the comments of yours that I just listed.


Despite your insults about my knowledge of debates, I actually have had a few successful ones here at AA in the past. What I learned from them is that your stance, whether pro or con is better received if you acknowledge that things are not just black and white. If you take the pro side of an argument and only sell everything as puppy dogs and rainbows many people think you are just being a “homer” and won’t buy in (this is the mistake I made in my first debates). On the other hand, if you take the con side and can’t acknowledge any of the good, people will think you’re just being a “hater” (for the record, I’m not accusing you of hating anyone or anything, it’s just a common term people use on blogs like this to refer to someone being the opposite of a “homer” so please don’t respond to this saying I accused you of hating again).

            I understand you don’t want Nico to fail and that you hope you are wrong about him. I understand you
            think he’s a good guy.

            Based on your half of the debate I see two possibilities for your take on Nico’s PLAY ON THE FIELD. Either you see no real positives in his play ON THE FIELD or you chose to not include it since you were doing the con side of the debate.

            If you don’t see any positives IN HIS PLAY ON THE FIELD then I simply disagree with that assessment
            based on the games that I have watched him play. That’s no big deal, people have different evaluations on players all the time. I think that assessment is too harsh, but time may prove that you are 100% right. I’ve
            been wrong on players before. Nothing needs to be made personal or confrontational about that different viewpoint.

            If you just didn’t want to admit that you saw some positives on the field for your half of the debate,
            that’s cool too. It’s your debate and my opinion of how you present it isn’t any more valid than anyone else’s. I just happen to believe that in a debate if you are confident enough in your argument to concede the other side does have some validity (it just doesn’t outweigh the concerns you have) it comes across as more balanced or fair minded to the reader. That’s why I preferred Stacy’s argument. I’m just one person though, other’s may have preferred your presentation. You have every right to make whatever argument or take whatever stance you like. Just like I have a
            right to disagree with it.

            You stated some very strong and very valid reasons why Nico may not succeed in the NFL. I simply liked Stacy’s approach to the debate and his conclusion more. I don’t see why me stating that preference in debate approach and opinion has you so “miffed”
            and why that implies some kind of secret personal vendetta on my part.

            And finally, just to be 100% clear and on the record:

            I, Lyle Graversen, do hereby declare that I do NOT believe Ladner Morse has an “unnatural hatred” of
            Nico Johnson. My use of those words in a previous comment were a mistake and did not accurately reflect my true feelings on this debate.

            If you have an unnatural hatred of anything in this world it is clearly being told you have an unnatural
            hatred of something.

            (I’m hoping you took that last line in good humor, otherwise I’m running for cover and may not resurface
            until training camp)

          • ladner morse

            What has never been clear for you Lyle is… you hi-jacked our post (mine an Stacy’s)… and why? I don’t know. Maybe some of us have so great a need to be right that… we’re willing to go on endlessly.

            That being said… I sure hope I don’t get another ten paragraphs with you explaining how you never meant to hi-jack anything.

          • Lyle Graversen


            To this day I’m not sure what I did to upset you so much but I hope it doesn’t prevent us from having a solid working relationship here at AA going forward. I stand by my claim that it was just one poor word choice in the original post. I wouldn’t have commented any further after that if it wasn’t for the fact that I respect you and could tell you were really upset so I wanted to try and make myself clear so you’d know there was no malice involved. Sorry if you feel that it hi-jacked your post.

          • ladner morse

            Lyle, you’re sorry if I “feel” that you hi-jacked our post??? What else would you call it? I only wrote 804 words in Part 2 of this debate that you keep REPLYING to. You have written 1,741 words in the comments section……. so far.

            Yea, I’d call that a hi-jack.

          • Lyle Graversen

            I like how you contributed to this exchange equally with me but yet I hi-jacked it. Since you like to count things so much go back and look at how many of your replies included questions to me (all of them). That doesn’t seem like someone who’s worried about the post being hi-jacked. It’s like you’re still looking for something to bust my chops about two months later. I’ve repeatedly apologized and complemented you through this entire exchange and have nothing else to say on the matter. I’d like to think we could move forward from this because outside of this comment thread I’ve never had any issue with you whatsoever. If you aren’t able to do that, that’s disappointing, but I’m done discussing it.

          • ladner morse

            You know it’s interesting Lyle, I’ve never seen you say anything as “inappropriate” or go on and on like you have here, on anyone else’s post. Never. Not even once. So — what am I supposed to think? Like you just said, “outside of this comment thread I’ve never had any issue with you whatsoever.” So, Lyle, what’s the issue you have with me?

            You SAY the issue is that I have debated in a way you didn’t think was “equitable”… like Stacy did.

            However, I’ve never a seen you go on endlessly to make your point — over — and over — and over again.

            It’s like you don’t understand “who” you are to the reading public. You are another writer for AA and have suddenly taken sides and attempted to make another writer on this sight look bad (me) ON THEIR OWN POST.

            Why don’t you get that? I don’t know.

            Oh, I’ve disagreed with other writers on a point they were making in their post… but, I never have gone on and on and on like you have here. Not only that… while I have disagreed on a particular point with another writer…. I have never made their whole argument “wrong”… such as you’ve done here.

            I even tried to email you to discuss this privately but you specifically choose not to do this there but, instead continue to make this a public conversation. Why would that be Lyle?

            Who designated you the PUBLIC jury, judge and executioner of the debate between Stacy and I? Aren’t our (mine and Stacy’s) readers quite capable of making up their own minds without you taking over the comments section? Go back and look and you’ll see that you made the same points over and over and over again. Why? An inordinate need to be right? That’s how it comes across.

            You say, “I’m done discussing it.” I’d be shocked if that were true.

            Oh… and by the way… prior to this post I thought you were a real friend… we seemed to agree on a high number of football related issues… and that’s why I was so upset about your unfounded personal attack and continued divisive comments……… that I couldn’t even read what you said until now. That’s the kind of affect your comments have on other people. But, for some reason…. you don’t understand that. Why? Maybe you can only see your own side of a disagreement?

            What am I supposed to think? YOU have issues with me for reasons no one else understands… not even you?

            You say you have nothing else to say on the matter. Hmm… now why would that be? Easy way to run from self-reflection… especially when it comes to seeing that you may have made mistakes… which you continue to defend.

            Maybe you haven’t learned that when people express regret… they don’t immediately turn around and defend their own actions. It kind of makes the expression of regret a moot point. Right?

            I’d love to have peace between us. I guess it takes two.

  • Bigtexjayhawk

    Is a thumper what we really need at the other ILB?? I would rather resign Albert, free up some money and grab Dansby. I would rather take a fast, blitzing guy who can cover. We have to be better against the pass. If we have another athletic ILB alongside DJ with Hali and Houston on the outside we could bring the heat from anywhere. If they can cover it frees up our S and CB’s as blitzers too. Lets knock out Rivers and Manning!!!

    • ladner morse

      I like where you”re heading with this….

  • jimfromkcj

    One of the things I like about Addict is that they are more likely to be honest in their opinions and respect for others who differ from them. Also there are or don’t seem to be the fair haired boy syndrome for any of their regulars. Over on Pride, it is almost a sure bet that you will be banned if you disagree and point out their homerism. And what a bunch of hypocrits. I have always went on the assumption that if you can’t take it, You should not try to dish it out. There should be more of these debates on controversial subjects. I for one find it amusing that so many who have their nose in the koolaid are bragging about how good our off line is going to be this year. We have replaced Winston with Fisher, and that amounts to the total change from last year. We have albert returning and his value must be based on the Chiefs thinking so highly of him that they were shopping him for a 2nd rd pick and had no takers. No matter how good you think he is, 31 gen Man’s have a different opinion of him. Allen is on the depth chart at LG, he played OT in college and he had a terrible record last year according to PFF, Hudson is back at OC after a broken ankle, and again, he played OG in college, Asamoah is the only one coming back after a very good year and is playing his natural position. Fisher is a LT who is going to play RT and is replacing Winston, and who has to prove he is worthy of a #1 pick. So I don’t know about anyone else, But neither Dorsey or Reid is going to be able to line up and play and I have doubts they will be able to fix this group of players into a top Off line in the time they have either.

  • Carlos Nevarez

    What I got from this is that it’s way too early to tell either way but I appreciate you filling time between the draft and training camp. You both made very compelling arguments but only time will tell.Pp

  • htmn74

    I am absolutely giddy that the Chiefs selected Nico. In fact, that Sat morning I called the card. The Nico selection was no surprise.