An important takeaway from the Chiefs' draft
05/12/2014 9:47 AM
05/23/2014 9:25 PM
As fun as it is to forget about our mortgage payments and leaky roofs and whatever other problems we may have to play make-believe NFL general manager, nobody knows anything about how this will turn out.
Oh, sure. We can have draft grades^.
^And we do.
But at least on some level, I hope we all know that screaming about passing up some particular player or declaring some other guy a bust is just nonsense. You don’t know. I don’t know. If they’re honest, NFL executives don’t know.
That’s part of the point I was making offthe Dee Ford column
, but I do think it’s fair (and worthwhile) to look at the thought process behind picks and collective drafts.
With that in mind, mostly, we can assume the Chiefs believe the last half of 2013 more than the first.
That was a really bizarre season. The Chiefs were, statistically, among the very best defenses in the NFL during a 9-0 start. For a while, they were pacing near the 1986 Bears’ all-time sack record. And the offense stunk. They won two games scoring just 17 points.
Over the second half of the season, the Chiefs were, statistically, among the very worst defenses in the NFL during a 2-6 finish (including the playoff game). They lost games scoring 38 and 44 points.
The most obvious hole on a roster with more holes than you’d expect of an 11-win team was receiver. Dwayne Bowe had a mostly rotten 2013, andpositive signs or not, having him as your clear No. 1 with Donnie Avery as your No. 2 means you need to get better at receiver. The Chiefs recognized this in an ultimately empty pursuit of Emmanuel Sanders
, so a lot of us (me included) thought the Chiefs would get a receiver in a supposedly receiver-heavy draft.
Instead, the Chiefs wentpass rusher, cornerback, Dexter McCluster replacement (and upgrade?), Tyler Bray replacement
(and upgrade), and then finished with two developmental offensive linemen.
The schedule was back-loaded in 2013, but it’s not a coincidence that the defense turned to mush when Tamba Hali and Justin Houston were hurt. Everything Bob Sutton does with his defense is predicated on getting to the quarterback, so taking Ford makes sense — especially with Houston becoming a free agent or more expensive after 2014 and Tamba getting older and already being very expensive.
Also, Brandon Flowers is a rotten fit for Sutton’s defense (and played through an injury last year) with a big cap number, so taking Gaines here makes sense.
Again, we can debate all we want about whether Ford was a reach or Gaines’ durability questions make him a bad selection. We can play make-believe and feign certainty about what the Chiefsshould
But, really, what we know is that even after the pursuit of Sanders the Chiefs have more faith in (Andy Reid and) the offense’s last eight games of 2013 than the defense’s first nine.
Which, if we’re all being honest, seems about right.