The Kansas City Chiefs were involved in one of the strangest moments of the 2011 NFL draft.
The Baltimore Ravens were on the clock with the 26th pick and 10-minute timer run out without making a pick. They were apparently working on a trade with the Chicago Bears that ultimately didn't go through (and Baltimore wants that pick anyway!). The Chiefs moved up to the 26th pick, made their selection, and the Ravens followed at the 27th pick.
So...what the heck happened in the Chiefs draft room following that series of events? Chiefs GM Scott Pioli spoke to the media following the pick (video at KCChiefs.com) and explained his thought process as it all unfolded. A few highlights:
-Pioli said he doesn't think he's ever been through anything like that.
-The Chiefs had "some pretty good trade offers" while this was going down but opted to make the pick.
-He didn't want to get WR Jonathan Baldwin on the phone too early in case someone found out and made a last second trade to hop in front of them.
-He says they had their man on the ground in New York write the draft pick down as he waited for the final approval to turn it in. Pioli said (perhaps sarcastically) that some teams have "night-vision goggles" and will try to find out who the pick is in advance.
-He said their draft room stayed calm throughout the process. This is that "business-like" approach he talked to me about.
Here's what Pioli had to say about Baltimore's pass and the Chiefs pick:
"When we're sitting there waiting, we knew the player we wanted to pick. We were watching the clock go down, we're listening to our people in New York and we hear them tell us that Baltimore passed. Then in that time you have to start figuring out if you're going to turn in the card immediately.
"Are you going to listen to trades? Is the opportunity to make sure that team isn't going to jump back and hand in their card and it might be the player that you want and then your phone is ringing, which our phone was ringing from two separate teams that wanted to make trades so we were sitting there at the 27 that all a sudden became 26, we're getting trade offers.
"We're also getting the player on the phone at the same time, because one of the tricks I've learned is be careful about how soon you get a player on the phone because if you get him on too early and another team finds out about it they may make a trade to jump ahead of you.
"All that is kind of unfolding. We've got the player on the phone, we turn in the pick and decided not to do the other trades -- and we had some pretty good offers -- but we knew we wanted this player.
"It was interesting. I'm not sure I've been through a situation like that. The good part is the entire room was calm, we had to make sure we had Jonathan on the phone and he wasn't being talked to by Baltimore or someone else and then we kind of watched, trying to figure out who Joe Bussert was yelling at on the telephone."