By the time the NFL Draft came to a close Saturday, and the initial mad scramble to sign undrafted free agents had simmered just a bit, Chiefs general manager John Dorsey allowed himself to finally breathe a sigh of relief.
“It’s been a long few days,” Dorsey said. “I’m not gonna lie to you.”
Indeed, the annual draft is the culmination of months of work, so by the time it’s over, all men like Dorsey can do is hope they made the right choices — and filled some crucial needs.
Dorsey thinks he’s accomplished just that with this year’s six-man draft class.
“That board, it falls in unique ways if you have a degree of patience,” Dorsey said. “I thought today we were very lucky because each one of these guys fell in their respective rounds, and each time they fell and each time we selected them, the more we got excited.”
For a team with only six picks because of last year’s
Alex Smith trade, one could argue the Chiefs at least attempted to address every position of need in this draft, with the exception of wide receiver, where last year’s underpowered group of Dwayne Bowe, Donnie Avery, A.J. Jenkins and Junior Hemingway remains intact.
“There’s still some things going on,” Dorsey said, referring to the wave of undrafted free agents who sign after the draft.
“You’ve still got training camp, and there’s still opportunity to acquire those types of players if you want to go in that direction.
“I think the players we’ve got here, I’m very happy with.”
In a way, it makes sense. Dorsey addressed a pass rush that too often went flat toward the end of last season by taking speedy Auburn outside linebacker Dee Ford in the first round, and he addressed a lack of speed at cornerback in the third round by taking Rice’s Phillip Gaines, who ran a 4.38 40-yard dash.
In the fourth round, Dorsey essentially replaced Dexter McCluster by taking Oregon running back/track star De’Anthony Thomas, an all-purpose ace who scored 46 touchdowns in three seasons at Oregon.
“He can play running back, he can play slot receiver, he can return kicks, he can return punts,” Dorsey said. “With a coach like Andy Reid, you’re gonna take advantage of that.”
And with their two picks in the sixth round, the Chiefs selected two big, developmental offensive linemen in guard Zach Fulton of Tennessee and tackle Laurent Duvernay-Tardif of McGill University in Montreal.
But perhaps the most interesting pick for the Chiefs was in the fifth round, when they took Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray. It’s a pick that essentially puts the current backups, veteran Chase Daniel and second-year undrafted free agent Tyler Bray, on notice.
“Competition brings out the best in every athlete,” Dorsey said.
The same, theoretically, can also be said for Smith, 30, who is coming off one of his best seasons as a pro, has only one year left on his contract and is believed to be seeking a lucrative extension. But owner Clark Hunt told The Star on Saturday that the Chiefs are still interested in signing Smith to an extension, and Dorsey was stern when asked if the Murray pick was an indication of stalled talks.
“No,” Dorsey said. “But why not take a shot and try to get this guy and better your team and add quality depth to your roster? That’s what that (pick) gives you.”
With the draft storm finally over, Dorsey said he’ll spend today decompressing and reflecting before getting back to work. He’s been doing this long enough to know it’s far too early to jump to conclusions about the crop of players he’s selected, but he admitted that personnel men like himself sometimes have gut feelings when it comes to the players they’ve selected.
“To me, the way this thing kind of peeled off, I was I’m not going to say shocked,” Dorsey said with a chuckle.
“But I was like, ‘This is pretty good.’ ”