Like most everyone else around here I'm fascinated by the NFL draft. All the players, scenarios and hope for the future is bottled up in a two-day event. Some years the draft looks like a science -- guys like Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome getting it right again and again is evidence of that. And then some years the draft falls flat for your team.
The latter would be the 2009 NFL draft for the Chiefs.
As far as contributors go, the Chiefs have Tyson Jackson and Ryan Succop playing while Donald Washington may be rising (started last week) and Jake O'Connell is a minor contributor. Other than that...the draft didn't produce much for the Chiefs.
One of the reasons I find the draft so fascinating is because you get things like the Chiefs 2010 draft the next year. After what was by many accounts a poor '09 draft, GM Scott Pioli came back and put together one of the best draft classes we've seen in recent memory. Think of the '09 draft -- and then think of the exact opposite -- and you've got the '10 draft.
So what's the explanation? How can there be two extremes?
The 2009 draft just isn't very good. Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News helps us quantify this: About a third of all '09 draft picks are not on their original team (as of Gosselin's posting about a month ago) a year and a half later. Gosselin's research shows this was, as a whole, one of the worst drafts we've seen in a while. I can buy this a little bit. There are still some gems out there but clearly the talent level isn't comparable in 2009 to other years.
GM Scott Pioli has a full year in. Pioli came from New England to Kansas City in January 2009 and then had the draft in April. He was scouting different players and positions in New England so maybe he didn't have the time necessary in 2009. This is a possible reason why it wasn't a great class (but I think it's kind of a weak excuse).
I think you can survive a poor draft class. Maybe 2009 is just a hiccup and 2010 more accurately describes Pioli's future in Kansas City. It's when those bad drafts start multiplying that you're in trouble.
The broader story line here is just how far ahead the 2010 team (organization, really) is over 2009. We've been saying it a lot recently with the Chiefs success but the leap they took from year one to two in all aspects of the game -- scouting, NFL draft, free agency and, you know, winning games -- has been impressive. It's been fun watching it all go down after suffering all those bad memories in 2009.