Being Carl Peterson


Unless there is a 7 1/2 floor of the Kansas City Chiefs office that I don’t know about, there isn’t a way to crawl inside the cranium of Chiefs GM Carl Peterson. But what if there was a way?

Judging by some of his draft picks — Mike Elkins, Ryan Sims, Sylvester Morris and Trezelle Jenkins come to mind — you’d think some geeky file clerk did actually find a portal into King Carl’s consciousness.

Or maybe those poor decisions were a byproduct of the influence of personnel department heads like Lynn Stiles and Whitey Dovell. Surely high-profile head coaches Dick Vermeil and Marty Schottenheimer also played a large part in some draft-day decisions.

At the end of the day, however, Peterson has the final say. Because of that you never quite know how each Chiefs draft will turn out. Other than Isiah Thomas and Matt Millen, who are both complete idiots, there isn’t a more unpredictable GM in professional sports.

Quite often, Peterson chooses to go in a totally different direction than what’s expected with his draft selections, baffling both fans and draft experts. There really is no telling what he is going to do. For example, nobody, and I mean nobody, pegged DE Tamba Hali as our first-round pick last year. Fans were pissed over the Hali selection, as evidenced by these YouTube clips:

( By the way, is five shots really enough to make KU students puke? KSU sorority sisters drink five shots for breakfast on game days.)

Fortunately, none of these fans had the opportunity to transport into Peterson’s brain and pick for him. Tamba was a great pick, but fans acted like we had picked Elkins all over again. Hali was a better player than either Chad Jackson or Santonio Holmes last season, and I don’t see that changing with time. Picking a receiver was not the way to go, at least in the first round.

Yet, once again, most Chiefs fans and insiders think King Carl and his cronies should select a receiver in the first round this year. Judging by his success scouting and drafting that position, or lack thereof, maybe that isn’t such a bright idea. The same thing can be said for the defensive tackle position. Still, Peterson could easily decide to pick one of those two positions.

The other thing you have to remember when trying to think like Carl is that he’s a businessman. He will do whatever it takes to get the end result he desires. He often says and does things just to manipulate the other 31 teams. Is he really interested in picking Marshawn Lynch or Antonio Pittman with the 23rd pick? I highly doubt it. Peterson just knows that with dual-back offenses becoming more and more popular, other teams will at least have to consider that the Chiefs could draft a running back in the first round. That could cause a team like the Bills or Packers to pass on a defensive tackle, possibly also causing a coveted stud DT like Justin Harrell to slip right to the Chiefs

As for Herm not wanting a CB or WR in round one, that means little to me. It wasn’t too long ago that Peterson picked L.J., even though Dick Vermiel was vehemently opposed to the selection.

As for the rumors circulating about Trent Green, Dante Hall and even, gulp, Larry Johnson, that’s just Carl being King Carl. Nobody is untouchable (well, save maybe Tony Gonzalez) and Carl isn’t afraid to play chicken with other GMs, taking a wait-and-see approach with the hopes that the other GM will swerve first.

Do I think he’d actually trade L.J. No, I really don’t. Maybe he put out that rumor just to open a few more doors for a potential Dante Hall trade. Keeping in mind that Peterson’s main goal is always filling the seats, do you really think he’ll trade away his biggest draw? If you still think Mr. Roc-A-Fella is on the block, take a gander at the below picture, lifted straight from the Chiefs official site.

Still with Carl, you truly never know.

And that’s the point — with King Carl anything is possible.

He’s made brilliant draft picks such as D.T., Jared Allen, Tony G and Will Shields.

He’s made dumbs@#% picks such as Elkins, Jenkins, Morris and Sims.

He’s made brilliant trades for the likes of Priest Holmes and Trent Green.

He’s made dumbs@#% trades like the Chester McGlockton deal and the one made to draft Sims.

He’s picked a RB when we already had the best one in the league.

He hasn’t picked a WR in the first-round in seven years, even though our receiving corps is always among the worst in the league.

There is no way to effectively forecast the personnel moves King Carl will make. If you try to climb inside that twisted mind you will only hurt yourself. That’s why during the next eight days almost all of the rampant trade rumors and infinite mock drafts will be wrong. Being Carl Peterson is only possible for one man; a man who’s been both brilliant and brainless over the course of his career. Who knows what he’ll end up being this year. At least it will be entertaining to watch.

America’s Games: 1969 Kansas City Chiefs (DVD)