View Full Version : RAND: Instant help won't come easily

04-21-2005, 10:57 PM
RAND: Instant help won't come easily
Apr 21, 2005, 4:46:03 AM by Jonathan Rand

Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil’s wish list for this weekend’s draft includes a cornerback, safety, linebacker, tight end, running back, wide receiver and offensive lineman. That’s a big list and obviously he’s not going to find a dazzling gift in every draft choice he unwraps on the Arrowhead Stadium practice field.

It’s not a problem if most Chiefs’ offensive draftees spend the 2005 season playing special teams and preparing to start down the road. The Chiefs, after all, can expect to once again be at or near the top of the NFL’s key offensive categories.

But their top defensive draftees, as the Chiefs have explained, will be asked to contribute right away. That’s especially true of their first-round pick, who’ll most likely be a cornerback if the Chiefs can’t swing a deal with the Miami Dolphins for Patrick Surtain.

The idea of seeking immediate defensive help makes sense. The Chiefs’ current offensive cast can’t keep blasting away forever, a defensive performance like last year’s would doom their season before it starts and Vermeil would like to make the final year of his contract, and possibly his career, as successful as possible.

But this strategy begs the question: Exactly how do you draft for immediate help? Every team that tries to fill a hole through the draft would like its pick to start immediately, even though history keeps reminding us how few rookies actually can do that.

There are, certainly, some guidelines the Chiefs can use to draft defensive players with an eye to immediate help rather than long-term development.

They’ll need to project who’s the more finished product for 2005 instead of who’ll be the better player in 2008. In the era of unrestricted free agency after four years, that’s not a bad philosophy for any team.

The Chiefs will have to avoid project players. If a defensive player needs to put on 30 pounds, acquire more personal maturity or switch positions, he’s probably not right for the Chiefs. And they’ll probably want to look at underclassmen with even more a jaundiced eye than usual.

Players coming off major injuries need not to apply, either. If a prospect’s rehabilitation is going to cause him to miss a big chunk of training camp or even the season, he’s got no chance of getting enough practice repetitions to contribute right away.

The Chiefs may want to draft player agents as well as players this weekend. If they’re taking a defensive player in the early rounds, they’d better avoid any represented by agents who have a history of holding out players. A player reporting the week of the regular season opener won’t be much help this season.

Yet there are just so many precautions the Chiefs can take against drafting early-round defensive players who may be too green to help them this year. A shrewd gambler can improve his odds at a casino but he’s still gambling, and there’s a reason why the draft is often likened to a crapshoot. The process is still fraught with peril, no matter how meticulous a team tries to be.

While the league has been full of late bloomers who were picked late or not at all, Priest Holmes and Trent Green among them, the best players usually make the most immediate impacts.

So the Chiefs, and 31 other teams, will be repeating the drill they attempt every year. They’ll be looking for the best athlete available, filling a specific need or, as is usually the case, filling a need with a player who’s talented enough not to be considered a reach.

If the Chiefs really could buckle down and annually identify defensive prospects who could step in and contribute right away, they wouldn’t be in the pickle they’re in. Heck, drafting players who will ever make an impact is a tough enough challenge for anybody.

04-21-2005, 11:00 PM
Why in the hell would D.V. want to draft anaother Tight End??? :shake:

go bo
04-21-2005, 11:22 PM
i think he's officially lost his mind... :huh:

Tribal Warfare
04-21-2005, 11:36 PM
Why in the hell would D.V. want to draft anaother Tight End???

Gonzo won't last forever we need another blocking TE Special teams help for Dante

04-21-2005, 11:37 PM
It was a smart *ss answer if you ask me. The question was, "what are you looking for in this draft?" Vermeil answered by basically naming every position on the football field.