Before the NFL Combine gets underway and, you know, actual news begins to come through on free agent signings and Chiefs draft interests, I thought it'd be interesting to look further into an interesting tweet I saw recently.
It's hard to ignore the Arizona Cardinals success over the last several years. From the front office with Keim to the coaching staff under Bruce Arians, the Cardinals have not only made significant noise in the NFC but they've done so within an already crowded division in the NFC West. It's an impressive rise to power behind a previously castoff veteran quarterback in Carson Palmer with a plethora of savvy moves — some of which are illustrated in the above tweet.
Looking at third round picks shows that the Chiefs have enjoyed similar levels of success in the middle rounds. Here's a quick rundown of Dorsey's own third round choices since taking over (and from that same time period):
Travis Kelce, TE & Knile Davis, RB (2013)
Kelce's recent $46 million extension tells you all you need to know about the value of this pick. Until the Chiefs brought in Jeremy Maclin, Kelce was the only real receiving threat for Alex Smith, and he's positioned to become the NFL's best tight end not named Gronk.
The team is likely to part ways with Knile Davis this offseason, but that doesn't mean he hasn't enjoyed a decent impact with the Chiefs. Davis enjoyed decent production as Jamaal Charles' back-up, especially in 2014, and added a nice option on special teams as the team's kick returner in 2015.
Phillip Gaines, DB (2014)
The jury is still out a bit on Gaines, but the signs are very positive for Gaines to turn into a starting cornerback for the Chiefs for the next few seasons. At least that is the hope as the secondary faces some serious decisions (and potential losses) this offseason. A season-ending injury interrupted Gaines' promising sophomore campaign, but the athleticism and instincts are definitely there for Gaines to lock down a spot opposite Peters in 2016 and beyond.
Chris Conley, WR & Steven Nelson, CB (2015)
If the jury is still out on Gaines, then I'm not even sure what to call this tandem. Conley and Albert Wilson fought unsuccessfully to establish themselves opposite Maclin as the clear No. 2 receiver. Conley is very intelligent and it's possible he breaks through this year, but I'd expect the Chiefs to add significant competition here heading into training camp. Conley finished the season with 17 receptions on the year.
Nelson's rookie year was a wash as he failed to make much of an on-field impact. He played on only 4.9% of all defensive snaps, although he logged some decent playing time on special teams. The Chiefs were loaded with reliable veterans in the secondary, even after Gaines' season-ending injury. With the potential exits of Tyvon Branch, Husain Abdullah, Sean Smith, Eric Berry and others, Nelson will be given every opportunity for playing time next season.
All in all, Keim definitely has the upper-hand on third round impact, but Dorsey has worked his magic in each and every draft so far. Here's hoping he does the same in 2016.