Scott Pioli's Kansas City Chiefs: A Case Study of NFL Draft Incompetence

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Scott Pioli's Kansas City Chiefs: A Case Study of NFL Draft Incompetence
Donald Miralle/Getty Images
Is Ryan Succop the best pick of the Kansas City Chiefs 2009 Draft?

Philip Rivers’ decision-making, the Philadelphia Eagles offensive line and the DMV: What could these three things possibly have in common?

All of them are an upgrade over the performance of the Kansas City Chiefs in this 2012 season. What could possibly be more disturbing than this revelation?  Look no further than the draft record of Scott Pioli as General Manager of the Kansas City Chiefs.

Despite having picked in the top 11 in three of his four drafts as General Manager (and top five twice), Pioli has managed to add only a marginal amount of talent.

Having this little success in a league built for parity is quite the accomplishment. Very few people in any field could manage to snatch failure from such great opportunity for success (Todd Akin called…he is very impressed).

Joking aside, the 2013 NFL draft offers another chance to improve the team’s fortune—though Scott Pioli’s draft record might beg to differ.

The 2009 NFL draft was Scott Pioli’s first as General Manager of the Kansas City Chiefs. Handed the keys to a 2-14 team with the number three overall pick, Pioli got to work quick. In came Matt Cassel (along with linebacker Mike Vrabel) to replace the quarterback combination of Tyler Thigpen, the old man formerly known as Damon Huard, Brodie Croyle and a ham sandwich. In order to complete the trade, Pioli sent the Chiefs second round pick back to New England.

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What Pioli did with the rest of his picks made Matt Millen blush (just a little though).


Round 1 (3)

 

Tyson Jackson

With his first pick as Kansas City Chiefs General Manager, Scott Pioli chose Tyson Jackson. Jackson was slated to go in the 15-20 range by most experts until a late rumor linked him to the Chiefs. Still, many experts expected them to tab offensive tackle Eugene Monroe or Wake Forest linebacker Aaron Curry. Monroe has turned into a borderline Pro Bowl caliber tackle while Curry was recently traded to the Oakland Raiders (from Seattle) for a seventh-round pick and is fighting for his NFL career after a lackluster start.

On many teams Tyson Jackson would be suffering the same fate as Curry. Jackson has shown flashes of being a solid run defender (especially so in the 2010 season), but has disappointed for the most part. While 3-4 defensive ends aren’t primarily pass rushers, Jackson has three total
sacks (one this past Sunday against the Bengals—can you say late bloomer?) in his entire NFL career.

Having a restraining order placed against you by opposing quarterbacks is not the way to find NFL success as a defensive end. Of course, Jackson is not the problem here. He lacked the elite athleticism of a top draft pick but was hampered with the high expectations of one. Mediocrity just does not cut it in the top five.

Rob Carr/Getty Images
Tyson Jackson's inability to get to the quarterback has hampered his development as an NFL player.

 

Who they could have had

These are always hard to say, but the guy who stands out is B.J. Raji. He would have fit a need at the time (the Ron Edwards era was coming to a close) and was shooting up draft boards. Instead Raji went ninth to the Packers and does annoying commercials with Aaron Rodgers.

Another player who would have been a good pick at the time was Brian Orakpo. The Chiefs were
coming off a year where they had a historically bad pass rush (10 sacks the whole year), and a pass rusher would have been just what the doctor ordered.

 

Round 3 (67)

Alex Magee

After sitting out the second round, Scott Pioli came back on day two of the draft to select someone called an Alex Magee. This creature was rarely seen in the wild and seen even less often on the field in Kansas City.

Handout/Getty Images
Where's Alex Magee now?

Legend has it that it went to Purdue and was a bit of a tweener who played defensive tackle and end. He was last seen in the NFL in 2011. Pioli and company had hoped his versatility would give line depth early on and provide matchup problems.

They ended up correct on both accounts, as Magee was incompetent at multiple positions and proved as a matchup problem for his own team (too small for tackle, too slow for end).

This pick seemed particularly puzzling since the Chiefs were changing to a 3-4 defensive scheme that year. Magee was much too small to play nose tackle, and Glenn Dorsey (a top five pick the previous year) was slotted to be the three-technique defensive end. Perhaps he had a brilliant personality (or
not
)

 

Who they could have had

This late it is very hard to be on the money every time. For what it’s worth, Mike Wallace (Steelers) and LarDarius Webb (Ravens) went later in the third round.

Grant Halverson/Getty Images
Raji is among the many talents the Chiefs passed on for Tyson Jackson.

 

Round 4 (102)

Donald Washington

Drafted as a corner, Washington was thought to be someone who could have upside when he came out of Ohio State. Instead he proved to be a subpar dime back and then proceeded to continue terrorizing Chiefs fans when the team moved him to safety. His inability to cover carried over in his position change (funny how that works) and eventually was his undoing.


Round 5 (139)

Colin Brown

Brown was a huge (6'7", 326 lb) tackle, drafted out of the University of Missouri. He was considered raw having played in their spread offense but had the size that made scouts drool. He never really developed enough to warrant much playing time. He currently is on injured reserve for the Bills.


Round 6 (175)

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
The Chiefs have yet to find a mid to late round gem like Mike Wallace under Scott Pioli.

 

Quinten Lawrence

Drafted as a wide receiver out McNeese State, Lawrence is proof that you need more than just speed to make it in the NFL. Route running and hands tend to come in handy too. He bounced on and off the roster up until this season. An attempted conversion to cornerback proved unsuccessful as well. But at least he's fast. 

 

Round 7 (212)

Javarris Williams

A really good small school (Tennessee State) running back that never really caught on—briefly on the team after a Kolby Smith injury got him called up from the practice squad. He also was on Madden one year. I bet his career turned out different in his franchise mode.

 

Round 7 (237)

Jake O’Connell

 

A solid fourth tight end—cause every championship team needs one of those. I’m sure he’s part of the “Right 53."

 

Round 7 (256)

Ryan Succop

Mr. Irrelevant has proved to be arguably the most relevant member of this draft class. The kicker out of South Caroline brought stability to the kicking game that the Chiefs had not seen since Lawrence Tynes. Succop is indeed the crown jewel of this draft class.

Scott Pioli had a rough go of it during the 2009 NFL Draft. The only contributors he selected were Jackson and Succop, and Jackson’s “contributions” are debatable.

It is never good to see a team acquire such little talent from one draft. This draft and ones like it (along with a lack of free agent success) have greatly contributed to the Chiefs lack of depth.

In the next part of this series we’ll take a look back at the 2010 NFL Draft. That’s all for now though, and please report any information you might have on the missing person case of Alex Magee.

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