As a draft analyst for Arrowhead Addict and DraftTek, I often get asked how I come up with my draft assessments. Are they based on my own personal philosophies or do I try to mirror the Kansas City Chiefs current General Manager? Since DraftTek has already released their first 2015 mock draft, it’s a good time to talk about that process and put down on paper how I view John Dorsey. I don’t work in a vacuum, so I always read the comments and adjust my views accordingly. Feel free to comment freely. Disagreeing is fine, but if you can back up your disagreement with a cogent argument, it will be more helpful.
Those who don’t understand history are doomed to repeat it. Those wise words need to be kept in mind. Someone’s track record gives us a clue as to what they will do in the future. However, there are several points to keep in mind here. Life is not static, the NFL is not static. So, you have to be open to adjusting to new situations. Also, we get scant information on a General Manager. How many drafts do you have to look at? Two? Three? Four? Statistically, by the time you have enough information to go on, that person is unemployed. What a GM does with one team may not be what that person does with another team. Each team brings a unique set of players, strengths and weaknesses to the table. Finally, a GM works with the Head Coach. So, what you get is a collaboration, not a pure view of that GM.
After going through some of the major obstacles, what is someone to do? Well, I can’t find my tarot cards, so I have to rely on a personal viewpoint as a starting point. That is, I believe that if you can identify someone’s core philosophy, that will help you predict what they will do in the future. That provides your starting point, and you build your case from there.
My career with Arrowhead Addict illustrates some of the challenges with trying to mirror the GM. When I first started here, King Carl was sitting on his throne. You would think that would be a major plus. However, he had a new HC, Herm Edwards. Outside of the obvious (bringing the Tampa Two defense to KC) how else would Herm affect the draft? We never got too much of a chance to figure that out. King Carl was quickly dethroned as Clark Hunt put his stamp on the Chiefs. Goodbye King Carl, hello Patriot Way Scott Pioli. What would Pioli do now that he is not working with Bill Belichick? For all his flaws as a leader, Pioli is a good football mind and I developed a pretty decent feel for what he wanted. His ideal draft choice was someone with a 2-3 year track record of starting for a major conference school. He was well trained, smart with good character. Pioli valued consistency highly. This was all well and good, until Pioli’s micromanaging and fear driven culture were finally shown the door. Enter one of Ted Thompson’s protegees, John Dorsey. What would Dorsey do now that he is in charge? How would he acquire talent for new Head Coach Andy Reid?
Now that we are two (really three counting the second waiver wire draft of 2013) drafts in, we can sit back and evaluate Dorsey’s approach. Some analytical data are obvious. Dorsey’s preferences for taller, long armed outside corners has been discussed on this site a lot. Ben Nielsen wrote a nice article awhile back illustrating the Chiefs emphasis on pure speed. Those are clear data points. At the East/West Shrine Game, the Chiefs scouts were all over every fast big-bodied Wide Receiver. That data point has a question mark since we haven’t seen the Chiefs select a WR under Dorsey. However, it does fit the overall picture well. These data points are nice, but there is something meta that ties them all together. What is it? Well, the very first pick Dorsey made illustrates it quite well.
The 2013 draft was a fairly weak one as far as blue chip talents are concerned. If Andrew Luck was in that draft, there would have been no discussion and no Alex Smith in KC. Fortunately, the Chiefs were in need of a good OT prospect and this draft and two at it’s top, Luke Joeckel and Eric Fisher. Both were very good prospects. Neither one would have been a bad choice. Joeckel was your classic Scott Pioli player. He was well trained, well established SEC talent, smart, good character. Pioli went on TV and admitted that he would take Joeckel if he was drafting for the Chiefs. Fisher was from a small school, not as well trained but a better raw athlete. What would Dorsey do? We know he took Fisher and the key word was there: athlete. Dorsey drafts athletes first and foremost. That’s your meta tag. The most important thing to John Dorsey is a prospects athletic ability. Convinced yet? No? OK, go through the Chiefs recent daft picks. See how often their profile fits into this construct: great athlete but…
Eric Fisher? Great athlete but from a small school. Knile Davis? Great athlete but he has an injury history and can’t hold on to the football. Travis Kelce? Great athlete but had some trouble in school. Dee Ford? Great athlete but is undersized and changing positions. Phillip Gaines? Great athlete but failed some drug tests at Rice. De’Anthony Thomas? Great athlete but is very undersized.
John Dorsey’s approach is basically this. I bring you, Andy Reid, the best raw talent I could find. You and your staff turn them into NFL football players. For all this work, keep in mind the exceptions. Dorsey drafted Aaron Murray, a classic Scott Pioli player. Pioli drafted Dontari Poe, a classic Dorsey player. It’s a guideline, not a rule.
So Addicts, that’s my take on John Dorsey. How do you evaluate him? Agree or disagree but sound off in the comments!