Pioli’s First Draft Is Already A Success


(Gang, I’d like to welcome long-time commenter Jeremy Hanson to the staff. Jeremy has been maybe our most-active commenter during our two-year run, and we thought it was a crime that he wasn’t yet officially on the staff. I know he will add a lot to this community. He already has. – Adam)

The Scott Pioli era signals a fresh, new, and long over due, start for the Chiefs. As a life long Chiefs fan, I am truly excited and rejuvenated for the upcoming year. If you accuse me of drinking the Pioli Kool-Aid, you would be correct. I gladly admit to my Pioli man crush. He has a proven track record of success and was the most coveted NFL personnel man this off-season. Pioli is the youngest and only one of three NFL executives to win the NFL Executive of the Year Award in consecutive years. The Chiefs were very lucky to secure him for many years. Scott Pioli’s first personnel move justifies my enthusiasm.

Although Mr. Pioli is only in the beginning phase of his long journey towards a Super Bowl title, he has certainly gotten off to a good and fast start. In fact, even before Detroit makes its first official selection on draft day, the Chiefs have already busted out of the starting gate. It is clear to me that Mr. Pioli did more this year with the trade of our second round pick, than Carl Petersen was able to do with 20 years of second round picks. Looking back over the last 20 years (the Carl Petersen years), the Chiefs used its second round pick to draft the following players:

08 Brandon Flowers
07 Turk McBride
06 Bernard Pollard
05 No 2nd Round Pick (Patrick Surtain Trade)
04 Junior Siavii
Kris Wilson
03 Kawika Mitchell
02 Eddie Freeman
01 No 2nd round Pick (Part of Trent Green Trade)
00 William Bartee
99 Mike Cloud
98 Rashan Shehee
97 Kevin Locket
96 Reggie Tongue
95 Tamarick Vanover
94 Donnell Bennett
93 No 2nd Round Pick
92 Darren Mickell
Matt Blundin
91 Joe Valerio
90 Tim Grunhard
89 Mike Elkins

Wouldn’t you agree that with a few exceptions, the above list is mostly comprised of mediocre players and flat out busts? An organization’s draft picks are only as good as the organization making the selections. This is why Chiefs fans should be so excited to have Pioli running the show. Pioli was able to obtain a franchised tagged quarterback and a veteran linebacker for only a second round pick! Over the last twenty years, we have never received that kind of value for our second round pick. What is even more amazing is that it was rumored that Denver and Tampa Bay were packaging 1st and third round picks just for Cassel. Pioli’s shrewd and secretive dealings caused the other franchises to move too late.

Even though we have yet to see if Matt Cassel and Mike Vrabel can continue their success with the Chiefs, we can be certain that the caliber of players we have received in return assure us more than any player we would have picked in the second round this year. Mike Vrabel brings us considerable experience and leadership, and Matt Cassel offers the promise of a franchise quarterback for many years to come. These were the intended consequences of the trade, and that alone is one of the reasons why Pioli’s first draft can already be considered a success. However, it gets better.

The unintended consequences are really what make the trade of this year’s second round pick even better. Jay Cutler, upon learning that Josh McDaniels coveted Cassel more than him, demanded a trade. The field general of one of 2008’s most potent offense has deserted. Cutler and the past three years of training, experience, and money invested in him, have now moved on to Chicago. The Broncos are now left with Kyle Orton, Chris Simms, and a head coach who is thought to be in over his head. The Broncos are worse off than they were at the end of the season. McDaniels is already on the hot seat, and the defense is still in shambles. Maybe the first round picks they received in return for Jay Cutler will pan out or maybe not.

The 2009 Draft has not even begun and Mr. Pioli has already converted one second round pick into a potential franchise quarterback, a veteran linebacker, and left a good division rival in disarray. Did I mention that he currently has seven more picks? (We received a compensatory pick in the seventh round).

Whether you consider Pioli a genius or just very lucky; those two qualities are important in a GM. I can’t wait to see how the rest of the draft plays out. I already know that we are a better team as a result of this draft even before our first pick is made. Kool-Aid anyone?