Did Scott Pioli Cripple the Kansas City Chiefs by Drafting Tyson Jackson?
If you are a Kansas City Chiefs fans, go back in time with me for a moment to about eight months ago.
Do you remember how you felt? Well, I do...and it was very optimistic, almost giddy as we headed into the NFL draft.
The Chiefs were coming off of their worst season of all-time; things couldn't get any worse. The offseason couldn't come soon enough.
The Chiefs were finally rid of GM Carl Peterson. Scott Pioli became his replacement. The Scott Pioli who had made a career out of helping orchestrate the personnel decisions responsible for the Patriots dynasty.
The Chiefs now had the man in the front office who would put the pieces back together, starting with Matt Cassel.
Pioli brought in the "franchise" quarterback and was able to keep the No. 3 overall pick in the NFL draft.
Going into the draft, the Chiefs had made swift yet necessary changes to the faces of the organization. The draft would be the proving ground for Pioli to show the fans why he (cue Denny Green's voice) is who we thought he was.
This past April, Pioli and the Chiefs selected Tyson Jackson, defensive end out of LSU with the third overall pick.
If you remember correctly, many draft specialists had suggested that this pick was quite a stretch for Jackson with the third overall pick. Many of these specialists had Jackson much lower on the board, projected as a later first-round pick, and some even had him going in the second round.
However, the draft guru Pioli had his man. The organization had Jackson at the top of their board, so they thought, "why go looking for hamburger when you have prime rib staring at you in the face?"
The Chiefs had a glaring need on the defensive line: They needed a pass-rush specialist who could create havoc in the backfield and put much needed pressure on the opposing quarterback. Tyson Jackson was drafted to do just that; after all, Pioli's first pick with the Patriots was a defensive end by the name of Richard Seymour.
Now that we are basically at the end of the season, let's see how Pioli's pick and the largest investment in Kansas City's history has paid off. Let's see how this $57 million pass-rush specialist has fared so far for the Chiefs...
Jackson has played in every game in 2009. His stats: 34 total tackles with zero sacks.
Obviously, it is a little too early to label Jackson a bust; however, I haven't heard his name brought up more than a handful of times all year long. That's just not a good sign coming from a man selected above every college football player in the nation except for two others.
The bottom line is that Jackson just hasn't been the force that should be expected out of a man who signed the biggest contract in Chiefs' history: five years worth $57 million, with $31 million guaranteed.
So let's compare him to the other first round picks. Do you remember the name Aaron Curry?
Curry was the pick that most "draft specialists" projected the Chiefs to select with the No. 3 pick, including Todd McShay. Curry was labeled as the "surest thing in the draft." He was a linebacker that could have been used on the inside against the run or the outside for pass rushing.
Curry was drafted one spot behind the Chiefs, at No. 4 to Seattle. To date, he has produced 61 total tackles, two forced fumbles, and two sacks at the outside linebacker position. He has also been injured and missed one game this year—not too bad for the first-year player out of Wake Forest.
Maybe Pioli didn't see as big of a need at linebacker than at defensive end: Ok, so what about the other defensive ends taken in the first round?
Aaron Maybin was the next end selected, with the 11th pick to the Bills. So far, Maybin hasn't been able to crack the starting lineup and only has 16 total tackles and one forced fumble this season. Not acceptable.
The next defensive end taken was Brian Orakpo to the Redskins at No. 13. In case you haven't heard, he is the lone Redskin to be selected to the Pro Bowl. Orakpo has racked up 48 tackles, one forced fumble, and 11 sacks after 15 games.
Why didn't Pioli see this guy's talent level during the combine, endless interviews, game film, etc.?
So, as you can see, Tyson Jackson was not the best defensive end taken in the draft.
As I mentioned before, only time will tell if he is a bust or not, but so far Jackson just isn't earning his $57 million and Pioli didn't do the Chiefs any favors with his drafting skills.
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