Sports Illustrated’s Jenny Vrentas posted a new article Tuesday titled, “The NFL Draft Information Trade: How Teams Gather Nuggets of Knowledge to Shape Draft Decisions.” If you’re a fan of the NFL and especially the NFL Draft, it is well worth your time.
The article breaks down how information flows between teams ahead of the most critical offseason event on the NFL calendar—the draft.
Vrentas’ article included three nuggets on the Kansas City Chiefs.
When Bill Walsh was still alive, he would send a member of his staff to an out-of-town newsstand the day of the draft to buy the Boston Globe, so he could see whom NFL columnist Will McDonough said everyone was drafting. Before the 1992 NFL draft, veteran agent Brad Blank remembers telling a newspaper in New Jersey that the Giants had flown in his client, Virginia QB Matt Blundin, for a last-minute physical. The Giants were about 30 seconds away from going on the clock in the second round, when suddenly, the Chiefs traded into the spot ahead of them and picked Blundin. They must have seen the newspaper, Blank concluded.
If you’re like me, you immediately wondered which quarterbacks went ahead of Blundin in the second round. There were two—the Bengals selected David Klinger (No. 6) and the Broncos selected Tommy Maddox (No. 25 overall). The Giants would later take Dave Brown as the top pick in the league’s supplemental draft.
Vrentas also shared two nuggets from the John Dorsey era, including one on the 2017 trade-up for Patrick Mahomes. The only team that genuinely concerned him at the time was the Los Angeles Chargers.
“I knew exactly how high I had to go up,” he says now. “I’m not going to name teams, but there were five of them, based on their need and information you heard. The only other one I was scared of was the Chargers, because Philip [Rivers] was 35, and I couldn’t get up that high without giving up all the draft capital.”
The Chargers, picking seventh, did not take a quarterback—instead the team drafted Clemson receiver Mike Williams. Dorsey made a deal with Buffalo to get to pick No. 10, one slot in front of New Orleans and three spots ahead of Arizona, and drafted the future 2018 MVP. “I felt uncomfortable for the first seven picks,” Dorsey says, “but after that, I was good.”
When an organization wanted a player as much as the Chiefs wanted Mahomes, there was likely nothing more nerve-wracking than standing by waiting for the 10th overall pick.
The trade-up, as we know now, paid off handsomely.
That’s easy, @TwitterSports.— Arrowhead Pride (@ArrowheadPride) February 21, 2019
- 2017 10th overall pick
- 2017 27th overall pick
- 2017 91st overall pick
- 2018 first-round pick https://t.co/tcXj6OKLxC
The final Chiefs note was another move from the Dorsey era—trading back for defensive lineman Chris Jones in 2016.
Dorsey traded back nine spots with the Chiefs in 2016, because he knew he still had a good chance of getting Chris Jones due to the depth of the defensive line position that year.
Dorsey was right.
Current Chiefs general manager Brett Veach will (probably) get his first crack at a first-round pick in 2019. The “nuggets of knowledge” he’s collected to this point might make all the difference.