Did the Chiefs reach for need in the draft?


I’m not going to engage the argument of whether your team should ever reach for need. I’m with Jon Yoon of Arrowhead Pride as well as nearly all draft experts that say your team should always take the best player on the board so long as it’s not a position you’re basically complete at (although I do have my exceptions).

Because while I agree with Yoon that best player available (“BPA”) should guide a team’s draft decisions, I disagree with him that the Chiefs followed the BPA model — I believe they actually reached for need.

After the jump, I detail why.

What if the Kansas City Chiefs came out in the 2010 NFL Draft with a completely different strategy than the one they deployed in April? Allow me to give you a hypothetical, and you can give me your perspective.

The Chiefs had several needs coming in the Draft. Certainly one of those needs was wide receiver, offensive line, and passrusher:

  • Instead of S Eric Berry from Tennessee with the 5th overall, the Chiefs go with WR Dez Bryant of Oklahoma State. No doubt a reach, since White’s red flags made him a mid-first value, not a top-of-the-first value.
  • With their “2a” selection, the Chiefs go with OLB Eric Norwood of South Carolina, a third round value.
  • With their “2b” selection, the Chiefs opt for WR Andre Roberts of the Citadel, third round value.
  • In the third, the Chiefs pick up OT Ed Wang of West Virginia, midround value.
  • In the fourth, they pick up OG Chris Scott of Tennessee, late round value.
  • And so on.

Wouldn’t your conclusion be that the Chiefs reached at every pick in order to fulfill team needs?

With that in mind, allow me to summarize our draft this year:

1. S Eric Berry, Tennessee — team’s defensive captain
2. WR/RB Dexter McCluster, Ole Miss — team’s offensive captain
2. CB/KR Javier Arenas, Alabama — team’s defensive captain
3. OG Jon Asamoah, Illinois — team’s offensive captain
3. TE Tony Moeaki, Missouri — team’s offensive captain
5. S Kendrick Lewis, Ole Miss — team’s defensive captain
5. OLB Cameron Sheffield, Troy

Look, I think character counts. That’s why even though the Matt Conners and Jason Whitlocks were chirping for Dez Bryant with the #5 overall, I urged us not to.

But by my estimation, only three of the players above (Berry, Asamoah, and Sheffield) were taken roughly where most experts expected them to. The other four players (i.e. the majority of our draft) were reaches, and like Berry and Asamoah, all of them were reaches.

This is not coincidence. When you lay all the picks out like that, it’s definitively clear that Pioli wanted captains. The locker room was rumored to be a mess last year, so Pioli wanted to bring in a crop of clear-headed winners who can provide attitudes conducive to complete unit cohesion. Getting positive leaders on the field was clearly a need for this team.

So why is it so unacceptable to reach for needs that you have on the field, but it’s acceptable to reach for needs that you have in the locker room?

I don’t think it is. What do you think?