I really enjoyed the Chiefs starting out 9-0 this past season, but I had no illusions. My heart kept pumping hope with the wins, but my brain kept telling me wait, wait, you've seen this act before.
Sure enough, my brain was right as the defense revealed its true self down the stretch after teams adjusted to Sutton's schemes and found our multiple weaknesses.
There's an old quote that I've heard was from Bill Parcells, but he probably stole it from one of the even-older-school coaches... "You're only as good as your record."
Of course this cliche is somewhat true, but I would submit that another is more true... "You're only as good as you draft."
The Chiefs have been mostly awful at drafting for the last 10 years with the record to show it with the two blips of 10-6 in 2010 and 11-5 in 2013 coming against notably weak schedules.
I think those blips are mostly mirages because of the Chiefs' drafting record.
DraftTek has a cool feature that hopefully will be enhanced with more data and years in the future... the Drafted Player Retention rate. It can be accessed here.
It enables users to compare the drafting record of teams over the years selected. Here's a table below that places the Chiefs as the 6th-worst drafting team, tied with the Browns, at a 62.5% retention rate. It is interesting to note that one of the few teams to draft worse than the Chiefs was the Eagles while Reid was there (not sure how involved he was with their drafts).
|ARIZONA||Drafted 2010 to 2013 :||31||Retained :||21||Retention Rate :||67.74%|
|ATLANTA||Drafted 2010 to 2013 :||27||Retained :||24||Retention Rate :||88.89%|
|BALTIMORE||Drafted 2010 to 2013 :||36||Retained :||30||Retention Rate :||83.33%|
|BUFFALO||Drafted 2010 to 2013 :||35||Retained :||23||Retention Rate :||65.71%|
|CAROLINA||Drafted 2010 to 2013 :||30||Retained :||17||Retention Rate :||56.67%|
|CHICAGO||Drafted 2010 to 2013 :||22||Retained :||13||Retention Rate :||59.09%|
|CINCINNATI||Drafted 2010 to 2013 :||37||Retained :||27||Retention Rate :||72.97%|
|CLEVELAND||Drafted 2010 to 2013 :||32||Retained :||20||Retention Rate :||62.50%|
|DALLAS||Drafted 2010 to 2013 :||28||Retained :||20||Retention Rate :||71.43%|
|DENVER||Drafted 2010 to 2013 :||32||Retained :||24||Retention Rate :||75.00%|
|DETROIT||Drafted 2010 to 2013 :||28||Retained :||21||Retention Rate :||75.00%|
|GREEN BAY||Drafted 2010 to 2013 :||36||Retained :||27||Retention Rate :||75.00%|
|HOUSTON||Drafted 2010 to 2013 :||34||Retained :||27||Retention Rate :||79.41%|
|INDIANAPOLIS||Drafted 2010 to 2013 :||30||Retained :||19||Retention Rate :||63.33%|
|JACKSONVILLE||Drafted 2010 to 2013 :||25||Retained :||17||Retention Rate :||68.00%|
|KANSAS CITY||Drafted 2010 to 2013 :||32||Retained :||20||Retention Rate :||62.50%|
|MIAMI||Drafted 2010 to 2013 :||32||Retained :||25||Retention Rate :||78.13%|
|MINNESOTA||Drafted 2010 to 2013 :||37||Retained :||27||Retention Rate :||72.97%|
|NEW ENGLAND||Drafted 2010 to 2013 :||35||Retained :||21||Retention Rate :||60.00%|
|NEW ORLEANS||Drafted 2010 to 2013 :||22||Retained :||15||Retention Rate :||68.18%|
|NY GIANTS||Drafted 2010 to 2013 :||29||Retained :||20||Retention Rate :||68.97%|
|NY JETS||Drafted 2010 to 2013 :||25||Retained :||18||Retention Rate :||72.00%|
|OAKLAND||Drafted 2010 to 2013 :||36||Retained :||25||Retention Rate :||69.44%|
|PHILADELPHIA||Drafted 2010 to 2013 :||41||Retained :||23||Retention Rate :||56.10%|
|PITTSBURGH||Drafted 2010 to 2013 :||35||Retained :||23||Retention Rate :||65.71%|
|SAN DIEGO||Drafted 2010 to 2013 :||29||Retained :||23||Retention Rate :||79.31%|
|SAN FRANCISCO||Drafted 2010 to 2013 :||39||Retained :||27||Retention Rate :||69.23%|
|SEATTLE||Drafted 2010 to 2013 :||39||Retained :||29||Retention Rate :||74.36%|
|ST LOUIS||Drafted 2010 to 2013 :||36||Retained :||21||Retention Rate :||58.33%|
|TAMPA BAY||Drafted 2010 to 2013 :||30||Retained :||20||Retention Rate :||66.67%|
|TENNESSEE||Drafted 2010 to 2013 :||30||Retained :||22||Retention Rate :||73.33%|
|WASHINGTON||Drafted 2010 to 2013 :||34||Retained :||26||Retention Rate :||76.47%
If you adjust to remove the 2013 draft, since no one knows how that draft is really going to turn out as of now, our rate drops to 54.17%, which places us once again as the 6th-worst drafting team in the NFL. If you account for the likelihood that Cyrus Gray, Dexter McCluster, Jon Asamoah and Kendrick Lewis will no longer be on this team, then our rate drops to 37.5%, which would make us, by far, the worst drafting team.
The DraftTek tool is not foolproof. It has some mistakes, it does not grade the quality of the hits that start versus the bench players retained and it does not give credit for players that other teams have pried away in free agency. But it's still a solid, basic benchmark for the purposes of comparison.
To break down the numbers further, I think it is important go beyond the 2010 draft and measure the retention until now. I have tweaked the DraftTek formula to account for players that have been signed away and are starters/significant contributors for other teams.
If we do 2009-2012, our rate drops to 40.6% (including the Tyson Jackson draft).
The 2009 and 2011 Pioli drafts were virtual atrocities that mightily contributed to our suckitude. They were drafts so horrible that they should've gotten any GM fired, but many on AP were still defending Pioli as late as 2012. Reaching and whiffing on Baldwin set this franchise back in a major way. Depending on what happens with free agents this offseason, the 2010 draft could end up ranked almost as bad as 2009 and 2011.
If we rate 2008-2012 (the 2008 draft which was by all accounts a pretty good draft - maybe the best ever by the Chiefs even though Glenn Dorsey underperformed), our rate actually gets a slight bump up to 40.9%.