KANSAS CITY MO - AUGUST 27: Head coach Todd Haley of the Kansas City Chiefs with Tyson Jackson #94 prior to a preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Arrowhead Stadium on August 27 2010 in Kansas City Missouri. (Photo by G. Newman Lowrance/Getty Images)
Earlier today while writing about GM Scott Pioli's appearance on NFL Network, I said the Kansas City Chiefs 2010 draft class "looks to be a masterpiece". While I'll stand by those words, not everyone agrees with me. What I think most, if not all, will agree with me on is that the 2009 draft class is not a masterpiece for the Chiefs (or anyone, really).
The Chiefs GM talked about Tyson Jackson, the top selection in the Chiefs 2009 draft, in an appearance on NFL Network down at the Senior Bowl on Monday.
"He was a player that we felt could fit the scheme we wanted to run," Pioli said. "We knew he could be the left defensive end of the future. One of the things we looked at with this player in particular was that we knew he wasn't going to be a big flash guy -- he wasn't going to have a lot of sacks. We just knew that we needed a cornerstone defensive lineman that could play the position and play the technique the way that we wanted to.
"It was a couple of conversations I had with some former coaches and other people in terms of who would be the right kind of player and who could do the right things. So far he's fit in really well and done the things we've wanted to do. Now that we're running this particular defense that we're evolving to with Romeo Crennel, he's starting to make his mark."
While I do think through two years Jackson may be closer to the B-word than a Pro Bowler, there was some hope at the end of the season that he was improving. There's something I call the "third year leap" -- basically, if someone is going to make the jump to a good player, it'll be in the third year. Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome explained this nicely before the 2010 season started (Context: he was talking about Joe Flacco).
"Then that third year most players make the biggest jump," Newsome said. "The light goes on. They figure out they belong in the league and have an understanding of what it takes to be in this league. There's a maturity level that occurs in that third year for every player, where they start to match their physical abilities with the intellectual aspect of playing the game."
So if Pioli is right and "he's starting to make his mark", ideally we see evidence of that in the third year leap.