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Revisiting the Kansas City Chiefs 2001 Draft

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The first two rounds of the 2001 draft were absolutely stacked. LaDainian Tomlinson, Richard Seymour, Marcus Stroud, Chad Johnson, Steve Hutchinson, Drew Brees and Reggie Wayne are some of the notables to go in the first two rounds. The later rounds produced fewer players of note than usual for the second day of the draft. Only five Pro Bowl players were drafted in rounds three through seven. The Chiefs had nine picks in this draft, even after trading their first and second round picks to St. Louis in exchange for Trent Green and the Ram’s fifth round pick. Two first round WR picks – Rod Gardner and Freddie Mitchell – have both made their way through KC late in their careers. Former Chiefs running back and current Buccaneer Michael Bennett was taken at #27 overall in this draft.

Round 3, #75 overall, DT Eric Downing -- The Chiefs saw a premonition of their defensive tackle drafting woes when they drafted Eric Downing with their first pick. This average sized DT out of Syracuse played in 42 games for the Chiefs over three years. After his rookie contract was up, the Chiefs opted to let Downing go in favor of future draft pick busts at his position. Downing played in three games for the San Diego Chargers in 2004 and hasn’t played in an NFL game since. He left the NFL with two sacks and thirty-three tackles for his career.

The Chiefs have had horrible, horrible luck drafting defensive tackles in the last decade. Even though Downing was only a third round pick, he never really played at a starter’s level. The fact that he left the Chiefs after three years and only played in three more NFL games speaks large volumes about his ability. Downing does deserve some credit for playing in a rotational capacity, which is absolutely needed on every team. Grade: C-

Another interesting tidbit of information about the Chiefs’ third round was not only did the Chiefs have the #75 and #77 picks, but the #76 pick by the Buffalo Bills was DT Ron Edwards, a current Chief.

Notables taken recently after this pick: None

Round 3, #77 overall, WR Marvin Minnis -- Declared academically ineligible right before FSU played in the National Championship. Nicknamed Snoop after the Peanuts character and Snoop Dogg? 170 pounds? Hate to say I told you so. (To be fair, Minnis did tear it up in his senior season at Florida St.)

Minnis didn’t have a bad rookie year, especially for a Chiefs wide receiver being thrown the ball by Elvis Grbac. Minnis caught thirty-three passes for 511 yards and one touchdown. Minnis was placed on the physically unable to perform list right before the ’02 season with a broken foot. He never truly recovered enough to play football in the NFL again. Grade: D

Notables taken recently after this pick: None

Round 4, #107 overall, LB Monty Beisel -- This former K-State player has been a solid by second-day draft standards. Beisel played little beyond a few plays rotating in and out during his first three seasons with the Chiefs. His impact was felt more on the special teams side of the ball. He did end up starting nine games at linebacker for the Chiefs in 2004. He spent the 2005 season starting five games for the New England Patriots and has been a very part-time starter with the Cardinals the last two seasons.

Monty Beisel was a solid pick for the Chiefs. The team was able to get the value of a fourth round pick out of him and he’s still in the league today, which can’t be said for a lot of 4th round picks the Chiefs chose in this time period. Grade – B

Notables taken recently after this pick: None

Round 4, #108 overall, RB George Layne -- The Chiefs put Layne on their practice squad before the beginning of the 2001 season and the Atlanta Falcons snatched him up. He only played in a few games for the Falcons over the next few years before leaving the NFL. Layne blocked for LaDainian Tomlinson and TCU.

Since Layne never played for the Chiefs, he has to be downgraded. Grade: F

Notables taken recently after this pick: None

Round 5, #141 overall, TE Billy Baber -- Baber became a special teams regular on the Chiefs, never really touching the ball as a tight end. In three seasons, Baber had three catches for thirty yards while playing primarily as a blocking tight end. At the beginning of the 2004 season, Baber was released mid-season after being placed on injured reserve. He bounced around on the practice squads of San Diego and the Redskins after that.

We’ll give the Chiefs some credit for drafting a regular special teams player. These type of picks aren’t sexy at all but necessary parts of any football team. Jason Dunn was already on the Chiefs so special teams seemed to be what the Chiefs probably had in mind when they took Baber in the fifth round. Grade: C

Notables taken recently after this pick: None

Round 5, #150 overall, RB Derrick Blaylock -- Definitely the sleeper of the Chiefs’ 2001 draft, Blaylock played three years in Kansas City and two in New York. He started five games for the Chiefs in 2004, while Priest Holmes was injured and the Chiefs were unsure about Larry Johnson.

Undoubtedly, Blaylock benefited greatly from playing behind the Chiefs’ great offensive line. As the Chiefs shifted between Priest Holmes and Larry Johnson, Blaylock was able to fill in when necessary and play solid games. He was a backup you felt good about putting in. Blaylock left KC in 2005 for the New York Jets to be Curtin Martin’s back up running back. Grade: B+

Notables taken recently after this pick: None

Round 6, #176 overall, G Alex Sulfsted -- Sulfsted never played with the Chiefs, spending his entire one year career with the Washington Redskins before being placed on the Bengal’s practice squad. He now sells real estate outside of Cincinnati. Grade: F

Notables taken recently after this pick: WR TJ Houshmandzadeh

Round 7, #212 overall, DB Shaunard Harts -- Harts was on the Chiefs practice squad for almost all of 2001, until he was signed late in the year by the Chiefs. In 2002, due to injuries to starting safeties Jerome Woods and Greg Wesley, Harts played in all sixteen games for the Chiefs, starting eleven of them. He also had two sacks and two fumble recoveries that year. Harts was out of football lin 2005 and was picked up by the Seahawks right after free agency started in 2006. Harts never made it in Seattle though. He was released before the season started.

The Chiefs got more value out of Harts than they ever imagined they would. Grade: B+

Notables taken recently after this pick: DE Dwayne Missouri? Kidding. Another weird name I had to throw out.

Round 7, #243 overall, DT Terdell Sands -- Sands had foot issues over the summer of 2001 and was placed on the non-football injury list before his rookie season. Sands played in a few games with the Packers and Raiders in 2003 before catching on Oakland. Between 2004 and 2007, Sands played in 52 games for the Raiders as a rotating defensive tackle. He started thirteen games over the last two years.

If Sands was still playing for the Chiefs, I would consider him a hell of a pick. But the Chiefs let him go (they really didn’t have much of a choice) and the Raiders picked up our scraps. Grade: F

Notables taken recently after this pick: None

Overall Draft Grade: D+ C -- I have to update this draft grade to include room for the Trent Green trade. I think we can all agree that worked out quite well for the Chiefs.