NFL Draft 2015: Taking on Teicher’s Draft Grade of the Kansas City Chiefs
By Laddie Morse
Adam Teicher is the beat writer for the Kansas City Chiefs at ESPN. This weekend he gave the Chiefs the overall grade of C-minus for their draft picks and I couldn’t disagree more.
If you haven’t had a chance to watch and hear what Mr. Teicher had to say about the Chiefs draft please go here to give yourself a better understanding for what I’m about to say. First of all Teicher says the Chiefs “forced” their picks, meaning they reached to select each prospect while considering “need” only.
Adam Teicher begins by saying he “admires” the Chiefs for their “tenacity” while pointing out that,
"“… they needed cornerbacks, they drafted two of them… they needed wide receivers, they drafted two of them… they needed inside linebackers, they drafted two of em.”"
"“The trouble is, tenacity is very seldom rewarded in the NFL. Forcing needs, not a good thing. The Chiefs would have been better off letting good players come to them, regardless of the position.”"
On one hand Adam Teicher is correct in saying that drafting for “need” is not a good thing. I’ll be using Stacy D. Smith’s article from April 14th called, NFL Draft: Is BPA really the best policy?” as a point of reference because it’s one of the best pieces I’ve ever read on the subject. In his piece, Smith says,
"“Drafting for need is a quick way to load your roster with players who won’t play to their draft/contract expectations….”"
However, Stacy D. Smith writes that the selection process is a two-fold consideration process weighing both need and best player available (BPA), which is the basic point of his piece and he clarifies,
"“If a team admitted they drafted the best player available at a position of need, it could shrink their draft options and potentially cost them a coveted player. It’s fairly simple to look at a team’s roster and figure out which positions need upgrades. The tipping point isn’t draft selection, it’s talent evaluation. Teams that scout college prospects well, succeed long-term and tend to avoid scrutiny of their draft process.”"
This last point Smith makes is what Adam Teicher seems to be missing out on rather completely. At the very least he’s not giving John Dorsey the credit that his band of merry men… long list of scouts and college prospect evaluators… play in this process.
At every step we can witness John Dorsey and his cohorts doing their “due diligence” which seems to mitigate Teicher’s claim that the Chiefs acted out of a sense of desperation when it comes to drafting for need alone this year.
Mr. Teicher appears to have gotten carried away in assuming he knows that the Chiefs general manager circumvented their whole draft system to focus on fulfilling their needs. Instead, we can take this as a sign that the Chiefs were incredibly fortunate that so many of the prospects they truly wanted fell to them at the exact spot they were drafting.
It’s not hard to imagine that this is the case when you consider how the opposite was true two years ago when the Chiefs were faced with picking between two left tackles in a year with no franchise quarterbacks available at the top of the draft board. The players you’re needing don’t always fall to you at the exact spot you’re drafting at which is why general managers sometimes need to trade up or down to board to land at the spot they’d prefer to be drafting from to get the best value for a prospect they’re targeting… such as the Chiefs did in the third round this year to acquire WR Chris Conley.