So the last time I talked about what I would do if I were John Dorsey, I proved to the whole world that he and I are practically twins in thought ... sort of.
I said I would make a big free agency splash by snagging Brandon Williams, a move that would make the run defense significantly better and cause a ripple effect throughout a defense that doesn’t boast very many weaknesses. Well, ol’ John didn’t sign Williams, but he did snag Bennie Logan, who (as I wrote about here at length) is a player who should help accomplish that same goal.
So ... I mean, that’s close, right? Right?
Given that, it only makes sense that I talk about what I would do with the draft if I were John Dorsey. Well, not the whole draft. Let’s be real guys, guessing anything after the first round is a complete and total crapshoot, given how even a few unexpected players getting drafted (or falling) changes the whole board. I’m more of a grab the low-hanging fruit kind of guy, so we’re going to talk about the first round.
Of course, even in the first round there are a couple of things that could radically sway how the draft could go. So I’ve got two versions of what I’d do if I were John Dorsey. The first is what I’d do personally, the second is what I’d do if John doesn’t happen to agree with my assessment of Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson.
Scenario One: John Agrees with me about Patrick Mahomes / Deshaun Watson
(Note: you could really swap in any QB’s name here, but I’m using my guys names)
Trade. Up. And. Get. Your. Guy.
I know I lost some of you right there. I know some of you are going to tell me all about Jared Goff and RG3 and how swinging and missing on a franchise QB can set the franchise back years.
I say phooey to all that. Swinging and missing on a franchise QB sets BAD franchises back years. The Chiefs are not a bad franchise. In fact, they are a very good franchise with few roster weaknesses and a decent quarterback already. They are built to take a risk, because they can handle it if the risk fails in that they won’t take a step backward.
What’s your worst case scenario here? The quarterback doesn’t work out and the team sticks with Smith for a few more years, and you’ve lost out on some picks in a single draft. The salary for a rookie quarterback is no longer a killer like it used to be, so it won’t set the team back salary-cap wise.
Given Dorsey’s ability to find talent off the trash heap (proven time and again) and the multitude of picks the Chiefs have this year (10 overall), the Chiefs should be able to still have a productive offseason EVEN IF the worst case scenario occurs and Mahomes or Watson are terrible.
Given the structure of the Chiefs organization, the ability of the coaches and GM, and number of picks they have, and the strength of the current roster, the risk of swinging and missing on a QB (even if they have to trade multiple picks to do so) is as small is it can ever possibly be. It doesn’t get safer than this to take a shot on your guy, thanks to the existence of Alex Smith.
Now, the benefits side of things ...
If things go right and Mahomes/Watson (my 1 and 1a guys) are an improvement on Alex (which I think is a possibility even in year one, given Andy’s ability to protect his quarterback), now you’ve upgraded at the most important position in the NFL with a guy who is going to cost you significantly less money for the next five years. A solid quarterback on a rookie deal is THE most valuable thing in the league. And even if they are roughly equivalent to Alex, you’re still saving a significant amount of cap monies for similar output. You’re talking about the difference of multiple starting-caliber players’ cap space per year. That’s huge.
In my opinion, the odds of Watson or Mahomes being worse than Smith in Andy Reid’s offense, even in year one, are not that high. And that’s coming from a guy who views Smith as a decent quarterback. I believe in Reid’s system and the ability to plan around the talents of who he has under center. And frankly, I can’t get visions of Mahomes going deep to Hill, Kelce, Maclin and Conley 15 times a game out of my head. Or visions of Deshaun Watson doing exactly what Alex does, only with more decisiveness / athleticism and with more willingness to take chances. Both are very, very good visions.
The potential reward vastly outweighs the risk in my opinion. The Chiefs are very uniquely suited for trading up and taking a shot on a quarterback in a way that the vast majority of teams never will be, and they are equally uniquely suited for handling it if that quarterback fails. It’s time to take a shot. If you like a guy, do whatever it takes to get him. WHATEVER it takes.
Scenario Two: Dorsey / Reid Hate These QBs
The Chiefs have met with seemingly every quarterback that anyone considers worth drafting this offseason. They’ve clearly done their homework.
What if, at the end of all that work, Andy and John are just like, “Nah bro, do not want”?
Look, it could happen. And frankly, if a guy like Andy Reid doesn’t think a quarterback is good enough to warrant grabbing after all the due diligence they’ve done, fair enough. Drafting a QB just to draft a QB is, always has been, and always will be, remarkably stupid. That’s how you snag a dude like Christian Ponder in the first round (though to be fair, I think Ponder’s college film is worse than multiple QB’s in this draft).
So now what?
Of course, it’s going to naturally depend on how the draft goes down. Best player available is a real thing, and that’s going to dictate some of what Dorsey does (like snagging Chris Jones when we all thought the DL was set, for example).
However, there is one position I’m staring at long and hard if I’m Dorsey: edge rusher.
Look, I think Justin Houston will be just fine. People who are calling him injury prone, etc. are forgetting that he came back 10 months after a tough injury (way earlier than many expected) and was able to perform at a very, very high level for multiple games (don’t argue with me until you’ve watched the film, please and thank you) before slowing down a bit down the stretch. If you go back and watch the playoff game, I’d argue he was quiet more due to being used in a weird way and being a focal point of Pittsburgh’s game plan than him looking slow / hurt. So this isn’t about Houston, who is one of the best five defensive players in the NFL. This is about Hali and Ford.
I love Tamba Hali. He’s a great Chief, and has been one of the most productive pass rushers in the NFL over the last decade or so.
That’s just a fantastic career. Combine that with his ridiculous work ethic, wonderful back story and habit of consistently putting the team first, and that dude is a Ring of Honor guy. He just is.
That said ... despite being decent when on the field last season, Tamba’s role was clearly reduced as the years (and hits) have started to finally take their toll. Many times when players decline it happens quickly. Tamba, due to his hand fighting skill and willingness to grind, has made it a slow decline. But you just never know when someone is going to hit that wall.
Which leaves us with Dee Ford, the one-time heir apparent to ROLB. The problem is, although Dee rushed the passer much better from the LOLB position last season, his productivity dropped when he switched to the right side after Houston returned (I just watched some film on a few of his games at ROLB, and he definitely looked more tentative and unsure rushing from that side. To be fair, he had a hamstring issue, but still). And he remains a liability against the run, not nearly strong enough at the point of attack.
While some have talked about switching Houston to ROLB, that seems ... iffy. When you’ve got a guy who is an all-pro level player where he’s at, moving him isn’t a realistic option. I just don’t see it happening, and the coaches didn’t show any desire to do so last year outside of a handful of snaps.
So we’ve got a guy who is on his last legs and a guy who hasn’t demonstrated the ability to be more than meh at ROLB. Given the wild importance of edge rushers in today’s league, this is the first place I’d look if I’m John Dorsey. Option Two would be inside linebacker, and Option Three would be corner (I have more faith in Terrance Mitchell than some, which is why corner is behind ILB).
So there you have it, what I would do if I were John Dorsey. Given my track record (of that whole one article), we know for a fact now that he’ll do something PRETTY similar to what I recommend, but not quite exactly. So apparently he’ll trade the farm for an edge rusher. You’re welcome.