NFL Network show provides rare peek into Chiefs’ draft room 20 years ago
04/29/2014 1:16 AM
05/16/2014 1:29 PM
You want to see some real drama in the Chiefs’ draft room?
Check out “Caught in the Draft” at 8 Wednesday night on NFL Network.
The NFL Films video is 20 years old — or since the Chiefs last won a playoff game — but the segment of never-before-seen footage captures the debate the club had before making its first-round selection in the 1994 draft.
The Chiefs were coming off the 1993 season when quarterback Joe Montana guided the club to the AFC Championship Game, where it lost at Buffalo. The Chiefs still thought they needed some offense to help the Derrick Thomas-led defense, and a youthful-looking general manager Carl Peterson and head coach Marty Schottenheimer zeroed in on three running backs.
William Floyd of Florida State.
Mario Bates of Arizona State.
Greg Hill of Texas A&M.
Peterson: “Who you want in that group with the 25th pick?”
Schottenheimer: “Greg Hill.”
The Chiefs’ scouts had given Bates a slightly better grade than Hill, but Bates was coming off a knee injury.
“I prefer Hill,” Schottenheimer said with less 4 minutes on the clock.
“Are there any questions about this guy’s character?” Schottenheimer asked Peterson. “Greg Hill is a tough S.O.B. and a good football player. I’m not so sure about the other guy, but I don’t know the other guy …”
Lynn Stiles, then the club’s vice president of player personnel, interjected: “If Mario Bates hadn’t got hurt, we wouldn’t be talking …”
Ninety seconds remained. Owner Lamar Hunt has a worried look on his face.
“The only difference is their size,” Schottenheimer said of Hill, a 5-11, 205-pounder who would complement veteran Marcus Allen, and Bates, who was 6 feet 1, 217 pounds.
“I want Greg Hill.”
With 30 seconds left on the clock, Peterson gave the word to Mike Davidson, the Chiefs’ equipment manager who was on the phone in New York where he would turn in the card to the NFL.
“Greg Hill,” Peterson told him.
The Chiefs’ top four picks in that draft were all offensive players to help Montana in the West Coast offense — fullback Donnell Bennett of Miami was taken in the second round, and wide receivers Lake Dawson and Chris Penn in the third round.
None had distinguished careers, though Bennett hung around the longest, leading the club in rushing in 1998 with 527 yards and in 1999 with 627.
Bates would be selected in the second round, with the 44th overall pick by New Orleans.
Hill turned out to be a disappointment with the Chiefs.
He did lead the club in rushing with 550 yards in 1997, the year Schottenheimer anointed him as “The Real Deal” after a season-opening loss at Denver, but that would be his last season in Kansas City. In four seasons with the Chiefs, he rushed for 2,436 yards and six touchdowns.
Hill finished his career with one season at Detroit and one at St. Louis and totaled 3,218 rushing yards in his career. Bates spent seven seasons in the league with three teams, rushing for 3,048 yards.
And Floyd, the fullback taken by San Francisco with the 28th — and final — pick of the first round of the 1994 draft, would help the 49ers win the Super Bowl in 1994 and go to the playoffs the next three years, including the 1997 NFC championship game.
Montana would retire after the Chiefs lost a first-round playoff game to Miami in 1994.
The Chiefs haven’t won a playoff game since 1993.