During his mandatory predraft news conference last week, Chiefs general manager John Dorsey was understandably coy about his team’s draft plans.
However, Dorsey was eager to make a couple of things crystal clear. The first is that he will stay true to his board and take the best player available with his first pick.
“It’s the art of discipline,” Dorsey said. “I’ve been taught that at a very early stage of my career by Ron Wolf. He stayed true to that and that’s what we’ll do. We’ll always stay disciplined with that number.”
Another thing he learned from Wolf, the general manager who built the 1996 Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers, is this: Dorsey would have zero qualms about moving up or down in this draft if he believes it’s the right thing to do.
,” Dorsey said.
Considering the Chiefs have only six picks instead of the customary seven in a draft that’s been touted the deepest in years, a trade up — which would likely require the surrender of more picks — certainly seems less likely than a trade down, especially if the Chiefs, who have no shortage of needs, believe in the depth of the draft and can gain some additional picks somehow.
Remember, Packers general manager Ted Thompson, Dorsey’s former boss in Green Bay, has a reputation for hording draft picks. While Dorsey desires to build this team “the Chiefs way,” as he put it, the value he places on having multiple draft picks is very real.
Dorsey said last week he’s already had contact with several teams about trades, though he also made it clear that this was simply him doing due diligence.
“I think you call all 31 (other) teams and you let them know that if something happens you’d like to move up or if you’d like to move down,” Dorsey said.
Dorsey said those preliminary discussions with other clubs are both customary and necessary, so that both sides aren’t starting from ground zero if there’s mutual interest and things unfold a certain way during the draft.
“You’re actively setting some limits with other teams in terms of, ‘are you willing to trade up’ or ‘are you willing to trade back,’ ” Dorsey said. “That’s why you do the leg work now, so that it helps you on that draft day.”
If things do shake out a certain way on draft day, and Dorsey finds himself in negotiations for a move up or down, chances are he and the team he is trading with will turn to trade value charts to help ease the process along.
“There’s a couple of different trade charts around, and it’s based off a point scale,” Dorsey said. “They’re good and they can kind of guide and direct you in terms of value.”
Dorsey said the Chiefs use three different trade value charts, but they have also used a handful of employees, including pro and college personnel analyst Brett Veach and statistical analysis coordinator Mike Frazier, who helped keep the charts up-to-date using analytical means.
“I think those guys are invaluable because they give you a different look in terms of studying the NFL,” Dorsey said.
Dorsey, however, was quick to add that a level-headed decision-maker cannot rely solely on those charts when making trades.
“To me, those charts are useless unless all your trading partners have the same charts, and that’s not always a given,” Dorsey said. “So what you have to do is make sure that from a historical standpoint, you understand exactly what’s been traded for what and don’t depend on those trade charts. You have to understand what was traded for a second-round pick, what was traded to move up 10 spots, what was traded to move up 15 spots.”
For all of Dorsey’s preparations, it remains to be seen whether the Chiefs will swing a draft-day trade or two this year. After all, as Dorsey likes to say, you’ve got to have some dance partners.
But one thing is sure: If a top-rated player starts falling tonight — which might apply to some of the top-rated quarterbacks such as Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater, Central Florida’s Blake Bortles, Texas A’s Johnny Manziel and Fresno State’s Derek Carr — and some QB-needy team at the top of the second round starts getting finicky, they might be wise to dial up the Chiefs and Dorsey, who was taught not to be afraid to pull the trigger on the right deal.
“You know,” Dorsey said, “our phones are always open.”