I would be happy to eat crow on this one.
I'm too lazy to look up old tweets or columns. I don't remember exactly what I said or when. But I know enough to know that I've criticized John Dorsey plenty for several of his early moves as the general manager of the Kansas City Chiefs. And I'm willing to admit I was wrong, at least in part.
The early results from the Chiefs class from the 2013 NFL Draft were not pretty. First overall pick Eric Fisher inherited a "bust" label fairly quickly from many, including yours truly. Third round TE Travis Kelce took a mulligan on year one. So did fifth round DB Sanders Commings. Fourth round linebacker Nico Johnson might as well have. Third round running back Knile Davis averaged 3.5 yards per carry for a whopping 242 rushing yards behind Jamaal Charles. Eric Kush and Mike Catapano were admitted long shots taken in the sixth and seventh round, respectively.
Oh yeah, there was a short-lived fullback from the sixth round in there, too.
In my defense, when you select a player at No. 1 overall, you expect game-changing results. A difference maker. Someone who can change the tide of the game and that a coordinator has to plan for. But we all knew that might not happen. There wasn't a clear-cut impact player in the entire class. No Andrew Luck to lead the team. No Jadeveon Clowney to rush the passer. There were solid offensive linemen and projectable possibilities. Everyone knew it.
Still, Fisher took his licks his rookie year. It was more than the typical jump to the pro level working against Fisher. The tackle was moving from the left to the right, from the MAC to the NFL. He was also battling consistent injuries, one after the other. It was a learning curve on every possible front.
Fast forward a year and the Chiefs line is in shambles. But it's hardly all Fisher's fault. The Chiefs left tackle has stepped into Branden Albert's considerable shadow and done an OK job (Pro Football Focus, be damned). Game after game, Fisher starts to look more at home on the left, making it easier for the rest of us to see what Dorsey and Andy Reid were so insistent about all along -- that Fisher could turn into what they envisioned for him when they made him the first rookie ever drafted in the Dorsey / Reid tenure.
Even more than Fisher, the Chiefs win over the Miami Dolphins last week showed an offense heavily influenced by that draft class. Of course, the offense revolved around quarterback Alex Smith, who was the return on two second round selections (2013, 2014) and went 19 of 25 (76%) for 186 yards and three touchdowns. One of those touchdowns went to Travis Kelce, who looks every bit the impact tight end the Chiefs have lacked since Tony G. left town. (Even if the staff still won't call his number enough.)
Then there's Knile. Every Chiefs fan will remember the feeling of watching one running back falter only to see another great one rise up. It happened when Barry Word stepped in for Christian Okoye, and when Larry Johnson took over for Priest Holmes. Jamaal Charles is still Jamaal Charles, but it's nice to see a pattern developing that Knile is a dynamic performer waiting in the wings. One week after a two touchdown performance against the Denver Broncos, Davis had a career-high 132 rushing yards against Miami.
As for the rest of the class, Nico Johnson is lingering on the practice squad, Catapano is unfortunately sick with a mystery illness, Commings is injured for another year, and Kush remains a project, perhaps for life after Rodney Hudson. No matter. Those were all later round picks that every team hopes will work out. The early ones are the ones that must make a difference, and the Chiefs offense felt the impact of every decision made with their first four choices.
Fisher, Smith, Kelce, Davis. Each one played a vital role on Sunday, and help paint a brighter future for the Chiefs offense. Consider my opinion changed.
At least until next week.
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