I am a fan. I am not a coach, player, GM, owner, insider, or otherwise in-the-know football entity. I'm just a fan. And as a fan, I was disappointed in my Chiefs last night when we spent the number 11 pick on NT Dontari Poe. My immediate thought, which was the popular one shared by most media talking heads and NFL fans, was that once again the Chiefs had reached for a defensive lineman at a point when they could have gotten so much more.
I tried to be positive, I tried to delude myself that this is what I wanted, to tell myself to trust Pioli. None of it worked - my thoughts continued to drift deeper into negativity and disgust. I didn't want this, I wanted more. I wanted sexier. I wanted an exciting, recognizable pick that would make fans of other teams stop me in the hall and tell me how jealous they were. Or I wanted to move down and bank up picks so that we always held the power to get any player at any time. But that's not what we got, and I was upset.
And then, a new thought struck me. Call it a wave of maturity. It was simply this: Don't win the draft, win football games.
We could have made moves last night to shift down a few spots, pick up a player with true value to our team (Mercilus perhaps? Ingram?), and added more picks to our average pool of 8. The media would have lauded the moves and we the fans would have had a nice, fuzzy feeling about the future and present of our team. We could have won the draft. But would that have really helped us win football games?
If Romeo Crennel, debatably one of the 3 best defensive minds in football (in my opinion, along with Wade Phillips and Rex Ryan), thinks Poe is our best choice, then Poe is our best choice. That's not to say he can't fail, but he's our best choice. Who else (available to us) in this draft would have helped us be a better football team? Would we be better with Cox? With DeCastro? Pioli says no, and honestly I agree. To best win football games, we need a nose tackle. Whether or not we got the best value for our pick, we made the choice that wins games.
In a league that is breaking passing and receiving records on a yearly basis, max protection defensive packages and multi-angle pass rushes are going to become more and more necessary (especially when you're facing Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers, and Carson Palmer in 6 of your games). Shouldn't we have drafted a pass rusher or DB depth? Absolutely not.
We can't send Tamba or Berry on a blitz unless we have a dependable line to base the defense on. We can't keep 4 or 5 DBs on the field if we're always needing help in containment. A 3-4 defense needing a nose tackle is like a reporter needing a computer. Yeah, there's a lot of other things that you need to acquire to accomplish your goal, but without that core component you can't even get started. And now we have one.
I hope someone in a gloomy mood about the draft reads my post today and sees our choice from the same new perspective I've gained. I love draft talk. I love mocks. I even love McShay and Kiper. The draft is one of the most intriguing, cerebral, compelling events of the sports year, and I let it distract me from the true goal of winning football games. We didn't win the draft this year, but we got what we needed to get started building a team that can win a Super Bowl. I can be satisfied with that, and the sky can stay right where it is.