Chiefs 2015 Draft Was About Now, Not Later

Without a doubt, the driving force behind the nine players selected by the Chiefs in the 2015 NFL Draft was need.

All but a small handful of players that come into the league through the draft must be developed once they join a team. Teams often label some of their selections as developmental picks. That’s NFL code for “we aren’t sure if he can play in this league any time soon.”

The Chiefs were not using those words either publicly or privately with their 2015 draft class. If first-round choice Marcus Peters isn’t the starter at left cornerback for the opener it will be a major disappointment for G.M. John Dorsey and head coach Andy Reid. Should second-round center Mitch Morse not be the opening-game snapper, there will be concern in the building. If third-round wide receiver Chris Conley does not get the second most offensive snaps at the position behind Jeremy Maclin, then the Chiefs will not be happy.

Fourth-round linebacker Ramik Wilson or fifth-round backer D.J. Alexander – one of them needs to get the snaps next to Derrick Johnson. In the little picture, the Chiefs hope D.J. comes back from his ruptured Achilles and can play to the level expected of him. In the big picture, this season will be Johnson’s last as a starter – the Chiefs must have a player ready to fill that spot for 2016. If Wilson and Alexander do not get significant playing time in the coming season then the team has failed in preparing for the future. That’s why the future is now.

Of course there’s only so much future an ordinary team can prepare for in the NFL. Make no mistake the Chiefs have been less than ordinary for most of the last eight years. New England, Seattle, Green Bay, Pittsburgh – those teams can afford to wait for a year or two longer to see if their 2015 draft pans out.

Not the Chiefs this year – they need to know when the calendar turns from ’15 to ’16 just what they have with this group.

They did not get that from the first two draft classes produced by Dorsey and Reid. In 2013, six of the eight players got on the field, but combined they saw 1,168 snaps on offense and defense, or 13.1 percent of the possible snaps in that regular season. Just three of those players were on the field last season with one starter in Eric Fisher at left tackle.

The six players drafted in 2014 played in 1,712 snaps on offense and defense, or 27.2 percent. Only sixth-round choice Zach Fulton became a starter, opening at right guard.

That’s 14 draft picks with only two starters and a third coming in 2015 in tight end Travis Kelce. That’s 21 percent reaching starter status from two draft classes.

The Chiefs will need a far better percentage with the class of ’15. They need four of their nine picks either in the starting lineup or on the cusp of pushing aside the starter.

Dorsey and Reid are self-driven football men. But they can’t ignore the fact that the man that hired them has been running the club for eight seasons, and Clark Hunt has employed three general managers and four head coaches in that time. He’s proven he has limited patience.

For the class of ’15 to immediately contribute, Reid and his coaching staff must get these nine players ready in quick fashion. They may have to take some chances and allow young guys more opportunities to get their mistakes behind them. They did that with Fulton last year, but as we found out they didn’t have better options on the roster.

Unless Phillip Gaines or Jamell Fleming makes major improvement from what they showed last year, then nothing stands in front of Peters becoming the starter at left corner. Morse will compete with Eric Kush who has 73 offensive plays in the NFL over his two seasons. Even though he did not play center, Morse had two seasons as a starter at tackle in the SEC.

There is nobody currently on the Chiefs roster that should stand in Conley’s way of being the No. 2 receiver. At inside linebacker if Johnson can play, then Josh Mauga and James-Michael Johnson are the only established players standing ahead of Wilson or Alexander getting playing time.

The future is now for the 2015 Chiefs draft class.

23 Responses to “Chiefs 2015 Draft Was About Now, Not Later”

  • May 4, 2015  - johnfromfairfax says:

    Thanks for the great coverage of this year’s event Bob. There’s no doubt this year is an important one for the team and organization. I think it’s true the Chiefs need to show we’re moving into the upper echelon of the league’s teams and take another step forward. If that doesn’t happen this year will be viewed quite differently than the past couple and the entire plan of the present organization will be called into question.

    It’s also indicative of the razor thin margin of error the men in this profession have when rebuilding a franchise and the time constraints under which they must operate. It really is a what have you done for me lately league and a couple years of apparent steady progress can be undone abruptly by signs of unsteady progress and an unsuccessful draft. This draft looks good on paper but the proof will show on the field. If it doesn’t happen then everything is thrown into question.

    It then becomes subject to the whims of possibly one man with no established track record of success in the field and a fiasco in his past effort at regime change. I believe we’re moving in the right direction with the right folks at the helm. This year may well tell whether that belief is the misguided wishful thinking of a lifelong fan. I still like our chances.

  • May 4, 2015  - ChuckXX says:

    I read 6 different analyists grades and they all seem to give the Chiefs a B-. It seems that just about every team got anywhere from a B+ to a B- for the most part. Do we have good depth at RB and TE??? I was surprised they let Fasanio go.

  • May 4, 2015  - el cid says:

    I read title and said, huh?, then I read the article and said, huh?

    Peters plays, why because if Sean Smith get suspended…. there is no one else.

    Morse sits, even Dorsey said he was competing as a backup C, interesting use of a second round pick.

    Conley plays, got skills and, again, no one is standing around at that position,

    The rest – I never heard of a single one of them. May be the seconding or gone in 4 years.

    Playing this year?? This is a + draft with kids who fill in the roster but “play”, as in game ready? Also, like it or not, not Andy’s style to run rookies out there to sink or swim on a mass execution basis.

    I am hoping Bob is right on target. They all play and Dorsey/Andy are genius’ finding guys without much college fame or fanfare but NFL skills.

  • May 4, 2015  - jimbo says:

    Bob is right. This was not a developmental draft by the big dogs. We must remember that the current scouting team has been in place for 3 years. They have been watching these players closely and in most cases developing since they were freshmen or sophomores. There is no such thing as accidentally picking up a player they know nothing about. As Bob mentioned, urgency, not patience, describe this years draft.

    I’m a simple man and like many of you a passionate fan. The clock is ticking on Dorsey and Reid. Nothing has changed, they’ve known that since the day they were hired. My clock has been ticking on this team much longer than that. If you take a look at our roster from 2012 and then compare it to today. Well,let’s just say it was a pitiful, pathetic and downright laughable mess of a team. I can say with confidence that this franchise is spiraling upward. We have leadership, talent, depth and toughness at 1 Arrowhead Drive. Unlike any we have seen in decades.

    Color me confident or dillusional if you like. One last thing. This draft class gets an ‘A’ from me. No explanation needed.
    Go Chiefs.

  • May 4, 2015  - Ernie Barney says:

    I am always an unapologetic optimist when it comes to the Chiefs and fully agree with Bob that the team needs to see immediate on the field production from the majority of this draft class. Bob also makes an interesting observation about Clark Hunt’s lack of patience. Hopefully he has learned a little something from his past eight years: Raise the expectations of the organization, yes that’s his job. Keep the fire lit so to speak. Have a revolving front office/coaches door? Hope not. Even in pro sports were constant change is business as usual there is something to be said for stable consistency. But you only get that luxury from winning consistently. Clearly the constant change of direction from front office and coaches, coupled with lack of depth and poor on field talent resulted in the major rebuilding job that Dorsey and Reid have undertaken. Progress has been made but year 3 will be telling. Great article Bob!

  • May 4, 2015  - FlintTipFan says:

    Thanks for the article Bob! Mostly I agree BUT!

    1st of all Dorsey and Reid are not going anywhere soon, not unless it is on their own accord. Who knows, someone may hire them away from Hunt?? Seriously who is available out there that is better??? Or that would even come to KC. I agree that Hunt may be impatient but I am assuming that he is also intelligent.

    2nd, Very few teams have the luxury of drafting “developmental players”. Personally I think that all college players need to be developed to prepare them for the NFL game. Like you said “all but a few have to be developed” for even the College game. That is why there is the Juco Colleges and redshirts. Every player is drafted with high hopes and expectations, or they would not hove been picked at all.

    As you mentioned in an earlier post the best strategy is to draft BPA at a need position and I think that is exactly what they did. Bleacher Report thinks they did that as well as any team in the NFL.

  • May 4, 2015  - Johnfromwichita says:

    “The future is now”. I agree with Flint that Dorsey and Reid are not going anywhere soon. And I would lean closer to saying “the future starts now”. It’s hopefully a good start but just too many areas that have to be updated to get to where we want to be. We would need twice the draft picks to do it all in one year. And I have little faith in free (which they are so not) agents.

    Now call me old, call me grumpy but where in the hell is my running back? Charles goes down and so do we.

  • May 4, 2015  - R W says:

    There comes a crossover point in the history of all NFL franchises, when a key player/group/new coach/GM comes in and changes everything based on the result of that change.

    You may think where I’m going here but you would most likely be incorrect. I believe the Chiefs crossover point will come….with a new owner. Not to denigrate Andy/Dorsey, but jr. HUNT has too much sway on allowing his upper/middle managers to do their jobs without the meddling and fear of being fired.

    It’s not playing the game that’s important…it’s seeing thru the game that matters most. Until jr Hunt is gone…the Chiefs will be and remain back in the pack.

  • May 4, 2015  - el cid says:

    RW, wow, doubt Hunt’s are going anywhere, anytime soon.

    As for the team known as the KC Chiefs. They are one of 32 teams in the world. Only two make the Super Bowl (league championship) and only one wins that one game. Not sure how reasonable it is to expect this team to ever be more than just a member of the league. It is all about odds and breaks happening at the correct time.

    So heads up, the sun rises tomorrow, and 16-0 or 0-16 the Chief’s play in the NFL. Some days that is as good as it gets.

  • May 4, 2015  - FlintTipFan says:

    If we have to wait for the Hunt family to die off many of us won’t be here to see it:)

  • May 4, 2015  - TimR says:

    I felt we had very solid draft…not necessarily spectacular, but very solid. I agree with Bob that Peters should be starting Day 1. Gaines has talent, but it’s clear he has tackling issues…no such concern with Peters. I like the Conley pick a lot. I really hope the ILB from GA works out. We’re in a better position than we have been in a long time. We’re clearing out the big rookie pre-wage scale contracts and stocking with better talent options behind aging, big contract vets like many of the consistently good teams do. I understand the value Morse brings however, he had issues when at C with snaps at Mizzou. I believe Kush was somewhat of a convert to C as well and has had his issues with snaps too. This is why I was a little surprised we didn’t select the guy from Oregon (Grassu?) that is a true C and was selected shortly after Morse I think…

  • May 4, 2015  - Johnfromwichita says:

    Good God, cid, that’s the smartest post you’ve ever written. Good job’

    RW. Hunt Family not selling Chiefs any time soon. Best you can hope for is a different family member taking over. What business does Jr have in running a football team anyway? He’s barely taller than a football and, even worse, owns a soccer team. Lamar’ grandmother might of been a better choice.

  • May 4, 2015  - R W says:

    I see a lot of the troops are awake now. We all want the glory days of Lamar/Hank but neither are walking thru that door. We’re left with some good guys in Andy and Dorsey but also the entitled son.

    You figure out the rest.

  • May 4, 2015  - Susan McFarland says:

    Peters should be an interesting pick. We will see.

  • May 4, 2015  - KCChiefsgoChiefs says:

    Gaines and Fleming will compete for the starting position against Peters. He is new and will need to learn the system.

  • May 4, 2015  - Ernie Barney says:

    Hey RW; since you are in the know give us some examples of Jr Hunt’s meddling with the current regime that is inhibiting their performance or causing the fear of being fired. I agree the Hunt family isn’t selling anytime soon but everything has it’s price. No guarantee that a new owner would be better; maybe worse. Who knows? There is no doubt (and rightly so) that Lamar is an NFL and KC icon but the argument could be made that during the late 70′s and most of the 80′s it seemed his commitment to putting the best product on the field was diverted to other endeavors. Would you call him a bad owner during that time? Not being combative here RW but you bring up very interesting points and since it’s still the off season (if there really is one in the NFL) worth a discussion.

  • May 4, 2015  - el cid says:

    I was so happy with the occasional compliment then Ernie has to bring up a sore point.

    After winning his teams only Super Bowl and consolidating the leagues – Lamar turned his attention to other interest, seems pro tennis was the first adventure. Lamar love to invent games early in life but never cared to win them, just prove he could invent them. He became all about the NFL emblem and not the Arrowhead logo. After loses, he regularly walked around the club house and told the guys – oh, well, we will get them next week. He had done his part, bucked the NFL, won a super bowl, and join the leagues together…. frankly winning another game was nice but not necessary. No, Lamar Hunt was a wonderful person and had a certain drive about him but winning further championships was not the point of the exercise, and he was a crappy owner all those years because of it.

    What Clark is or is not will be in his bio some day. Would suggest he is a businessman first, soccer fan next, and Chiefs shaker and mover next. Not a bad thing but never saw any fire to win it all or die trying, do not care who the GM or HC might be

  • May 4, 2015  - Johnfromwichita says:

    TO WHOM THIS MIGHT COCERN: Ok. I know you kidnapped el cid and you will soon ask for a ransom. Well, forget it. Not paying. Dude, I like you better. Keep it up.

  • May 4, 2015  - txchief says:

    Every team, including the Chiefs, say that they’re going to draft the “best player available.” That’s just a smokescreen. It’s always really about drafting for team needs. The problem is, the players you need aren’t always available in the draft.

    Remember 2013? The Chiefs really needed a franchise QB, but there were none in the draft, and there really weren’t any players really worth the #1 pick at all. They had to resort to taking Eric Fisher, the so-called BPA. If it would have been the 2012, KC would have kept Albert and selected Andrew Luck. Even Pioli wouldn’t have been dumb enough to pass on Luck.

    This year, need and availability were more closely aligned for the Chiefs. I hope the personnel men and scouts were right in their analysis of who they selected.

  • May 4, 2015  - johnfromfairfax says:

    I agree with Jimbo on all points. I also think Susan is onto something although I’m not sure where she’s going with it. Peters will be the key to this draft. Any way you slice it that was a risky pick. He is undoubtedly a talent at a sorely needed position with some unpleasant baggage. Hopefully he’ll prove to be a great pick and showcase his talent on the field while making little splash off it.

  • May 5, 2015  - Tenand6 says:

    With all the sub-packages, I’m not sure who is considered a starter. And, I’m not sure if I want a rookie starting Game 1. That being said, I expect these players to eventually start this year:

    Peters CB
    Morse C or G (He, if Kush starts, that’s not necessarily bad)
    Conley WR

    Defense Subpackage


    I want to say Alexander on passing downs, but we will see. I’m skeptical on both LB picks starting in any capacity until we see them in the pre-season. I don’t think Dorsey is done here.

    I also count Grubbs as a draft starter.

    Brown makes the team. James O’Shaughnessy? Not sure if he’s headed for the Practice Squad to start the season.

    If that played out, that’s a good draft. In terms of drafting for now and not later, Bob’s dead on. The thing is, if the Chiefs don’t have Justin Houston on the field for every game, this season won’t end well. To make this draft count, Houston has to play. Every game.

  • May 5, 2015  - David says:

    One thing about draft picks. With the rare exception of an Andrew Luck-type player, you never know for sure how they will work out. Everyone remember that when the Chiefs made Glenn Dorsey their first-round pick in 2008, Mel Kiper declared it the most brilliant pick in the entire draft? On the other hand, I’m sure most of us yawned when the Chiefs picked Jamaal Charles in the third round (#73). It will be fun (I hope) finding out if this batch of draftees contains more Charles’s than Dorseys.

  • May 5, 2015  - Ernie Barney says:

    Hi cid, sorry about bringing up a sore point! I agree with your view of Clark Hunt. That’s the impression I get of him too but I have not spoken with him in person beyond a rare passing “hello, go Chiefs!” on game days. No doubt in my mind he wants to win it all under his watch but his public persona comes across, to me at least, as less than engaging. Not aloof just a little, I’m not sure of how to put it right (not being a great wordsmith like Bob is) but let’s just say reserved or no “fire” as you so rightly put it. During the dark days of the Pioli era posters on this site called Clark a flinty eyed, green eye shade type guy. That impression seemed to change when the current regime was hired. Hopefully on the field results will be more Ws!

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