Less than one week away from the 2014 NFL Draft, Kansas City Chiefs General Manager John Dorsey took time to address the media on Friday, discussing continued preparations for next week's three-day event.
OPENING STATEMENT: “Thank you all for coming out here today; I know that you all have busy schedules, and it’s a beautiful day outside. There’s a draft coming up here in a couple days and I’m sure that you all have some questions, so feel free, I’ll answer any questions.”
Q: Who are you picking?
DORSEY: “The best available player!”
Q: How deep is this draft, talent-wise?
DORSEY: “We all hear different things about how deep it is; it’s probably a combination of things. It’s probably the marquee positions, where there’s depth. It’s probably the influx of the large number of juniors that have decided to come out in the 2014 draft. I think that’s what makes it deep. I think that there are good football players to be found in every round.”
Q: Do you like that they can enter early or would you rather they wait?
DORSEY: “If they’re ready to play football, then I like that.”
Q: How often is that the case?
DORSEY: “I think that’s where you do your homework. Sometimes guys make hasty decisions and some guys make the proper decisions. It’s the best advice that they give. There is a process, within the league itself. There’s a junior selection committee and they’re allowed to submit their request to see where they fall within the draft. Once they get the assessment back from the NFL, they’ll sit with their support staff, coaches and whoever to help them make that recommendation for what is in their best interest.”
Q: How many guys are you projecting that you’ll be choosing from at 23?
DORSEY: “Right now, we’ve broke for lunch; we’ve been at it since about seven o’clock this morning. We’re in the final preparation of plans in putting this thing together. Right now, you begin to play the hypothetical games. You begin to not only look horizontally, but you look vertically and then you begin to narrow your choices down. Then, you have to build in those hypotheticals too, what happens if you decide to trade up, what happens if you decide to trade back as well. I think there is a certain pocket there; it’s really interesting to me that you can narrow it down to a group of about four that you think. It’s so hard to predict, when you’re sitting in the back there in to 20’s or the 30’s of who is going to fall to you, because so many different scenarios can occur in this process. You have to think out every little step as you go along the way just to protect your interests and the interest of the Kansas City Chiefs, when it does come time to select those players.”
Q: How many years have you been really surprised with who was and wasn’t there, when it was your turn to pick?
DORSEY: “I don’t think you can rush the judgment, there is a degree of patience. Sometimes, let it come to you (and) if it comes to you, good things may happen. But, if you see a player sometimes and you think ‘gosh dang, I’d really like to have him on my team’ let’s roll up there and see if we can trade up. Then again, if there’s not really a player you feel can help you early on, trade back. That’s why you’re actively setting some limits with other teams in terms of are you willing to trade up or are you willing to trade back. That’s why you do the legwork now, so that it helps you on that draft day.”
Q: If you trade back, how much of that is because you don’t really love someone at your spot or what the conversation is?
DORSEY: “You do what’s in the best interest of the Kansas City Chiefs. A man told me once, 'never pass up a good player', but if I can acquire some additional picks in a draft that could or could not be deep, then I’ll do that. I’m going to do what’s in the best interest of the Kansas City Chiefs future.”
Q: Does the fact that you don’t have a second round pick factor into that any?
DORSEY: “No, because I look at that as part of acquiring an All-Pro quarterback; I think that was pretty good compensation. Who’s to say that we won’t have a second-round pick? It’s one of those scenarios all of the sudden, you’re on the clock, and you’re getting phone calls, then you have to weigh the value of the players and the compensation offered and you make those decisions.”
Q: Are there any teams who have inquired about a potential trade, already a week out from the draft?
DORSEY: “You do your due diligence. I think you call all 31 teams and you let them know that if something happens you’d like to move up or if you’d like to move down. You know, our phones are always open.”
Q: Were the extra two weeks beneficial to you?
DORSEY: “In this scenario, you have to not overthink it. You could overthink it in two weeks. Once again, I think that you have to be a little bit patient. It gives you a little extra time to do some legwork; it may be that you felt rushed on let’s say like in last year’s draft. I think it gives you a little bit more time to relax, recharge and just sit back. Don’t overthink it is the easiest way to put it.”
Q: When are you ready to have the draft in your opinion?
DORSEY: “In the spring. Every personnel guy loves the draft, because you have a chance to help your organization and to build and add quality players to that and that’s what it’s all about, trying to get your team to be better as you go along here. It doesn’t make a difference to me. Whatever the rules are, whatever the cards are that are dealt to you, you have to play by those rules and that’s what we’re doing.”
Q: How many names do you have on your board this year?
DORSEY: “Good questions. I would say anywhere between 150-175.”
Q: You don’t have any more than you did last year and this is a deeper draft?
DORSEY: “Quality over quantity, that’s the way that it should be.”
Q: If today was draft day, is there anyone you are salivating over and you’d want to sell your soul for?
DORSEY: “There are a lot out there (that) I’m salivating over, and if they’re still out there at 23, then I’d say I’d get those. There are a lot of good football players in this draft, not only at the top of this draft, but I think from a value-based perspective, there are a lot of players to be had in every specific realm. There are good players to be had.”
Q: How different is your approach to the Draft this year as opposed to last year when you were mostly at the top of every round?
DORSEY: “About 22 picks. I’d prefer to be at the back third on a consistent basis. Last year was very unique, hopefully it never happens again. You have a new coaching staff and you’re trying to understand the philosophical positions of your personnel staff. You’re trying to understand what it takes to be successful, within this scheme both, offensively and defensively. Now, I have a clearer understanding of both offense and defensive schemes. I think the best analogy would be in my mind, I’ve always had a cookie cutter image of what a 3-4 defensive end is supposed to be like, but in Coach (Bob) Sutton’s defense, he has a big five-technique end and a three-technique defensive end; two distinctly-different players to play those positions to succeed. There is a high degree of success, because the personnel staff is likeminded thinking, the coaching staff is likeminded thinking and there is great communication between both of those staffs. It’s the one-year cycle you’re in and I sleep better at night, because my family is here.”
Q: With the way the league is passing now, are some 3-4 teams looking at players who don’t necessarily fit the confines of a 3-4?
DORSEY: “I think the game has truly been extended out; the speed of the game has gotten a lot faster. Anytime you can get internal, generate internal pressure with the pass rush, I think that’s critical, because it helps those defensive backs in the secondary as well. So, anytime you can get an interior pass rusher, there is some added value, within that pick.”
Q: Is it even better when the player is a three-down player?
DORSEY: “Sounds like a first-round pick to me.”
Q: How much more important is it to find inside linebackers who can cover in space?
DORSEY: “Again, the game has changed, which means that the speed of the game has changed. I think it’s imperative that your inside backers be able to have those athletic traits, with quickness and speed and agility to actually succeed in the pass defense that you’re asking them to do.”
Q: Did you watch
DORSEY: “I told you all this last year and I mean this, I haven’t watched TV, listened to the radio or picked up a paper in like six weeks. I heard about it. I’m sure he did a fine job.”
Q: What’s your philosophy on player visits? Do you use them on particular players?
DORSEY: “No. I mean, it’s not specific on how we do it. I think it’s good to use all 30 of them. You use all 30 of them, because you have unanswered questions and you’d like the coaching staff to maybe meet them, or you didn’t have a long one-on-one session with them at the combine or the scout may have some questions that need to be answered. There are other guys who may have been overlooked, or maybe need a medical on them. It’s a horse apiece on terms of why you bring guys in here, but there are specific reasons for why they come in.”
Q: So you don’t necessarily have to bring them in for a visit here, before you draft them?
DORSEY: “No, not necessarily; not if you’ve done all of your due diligence and your homework. You have ample opportunity to get to know these players as the spring season goes along, (from) all the work that your scouts have done. I think you have ample enough time, but I think if you have some questions that need to be addressed, you may do that.”
Q: How much of a long-term pick can you make in the first round, considering you don’t have a second-round pick?
DORSEY: “Define long-term pick.”
Q: If they give you an immediate impact.
DORSEY: “You would like to get a slam dunk. That’s all personnel guys’ objective. I think what you have though, is you have a unique coaching staff, with very good teachers and that helps in the process, along the way. I’m a glass half-full kind of guy. I believe everybody that you select is going to help the Kansas City Chiefs.”
Q: What is the confidence like in your staff as you prepare for the draft? How do you evaluate your personnel team and the jobs they do?
DORSEY: “What I find interesting and what I’d like to do is say thank you to the personnel staff and the coaching staff for all of the hard work they have put in in this whole entire process. It is a very arduous task and it is very long. It’s turned into a year-long (process) as we speak. With that being said, I’m very comfortable with this personnel staff. Like I said earlier, it’s a like-minded (group), they all understand what the total objective is of the organization. They understand how I would like things to be done. I think that’s very important. They understand that when we sit in that draft room, it’s time for discussion. Anything can be said, you know, whatever you feel, speak your peace; don’t hold anything back, because at the end of the day, you’ve had all of that discussion, you’ve had a chance to have your input. So, if you think something makes a difference, say what it is and why. I think that’s important and that’s where communication comes into play. But, at the end of the day, everybody said it and the Kansas City Chiefs are going to make the selection.”
Q: Do you have a player in your head that you want at 23?
DORSEY: “You have a wish list. But again, those things have to unfold in a perfect scenario. It’s better to put a group of them together and all of the sudden, if one falls, don’t make an immediate reaction. Make a factual decision as opposed to an emotional decision. When you make knee-jerk reactions and you haven’t thought all of these variables out, that’s when you’re going to make mistakes in this thing.”
Q: If we saw a draft camera leading up to draft day, we would never see you react emotionally?
DORSEY: “You can’t do that. It’s all there, just let it all play itself out. You sit there and assess it and analyze it and you can have deep thought about it, what’s best for the long-term future, that’s how you think through these things.”
Q: Have your expectations changed for your 2013 draft class, now that you’ve had them for a year?
DORSEY: “I said this earlier; I think to truly assess any draft class, it’s going to take three years in the system. Like I said in the past and I’ll say it today, I’m very happy with this class and I look forward to great things from these guys, coming up in this training camp.”