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Old 04-23-2011, 11:42 PM  
Tribal Warfare Tribal Warfare is offline
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Teicher: Pioli drafts for character, looks for appropriate fit

Pioli drafts for character, looks for appropriate fit
BY ADAM TEICHER | THE KANSAS CITY STAR

One by one, the players kept coming to the Chiefs in the 2010 draft, and at first it was a remarkable coincidence how they all had the same qualities.

Eric Berry loved football so much in college at Tennessee that he helped clean teammates’ helmets between games. Dexter McCluster and Kendrick Lewis organized offseason workouts for their Ole Miss teammates before their senior year. Tony Moeaki was on the player policy group his last four seasons at Iowa. Six of the seven players drafted by the Chiefs were team captains.

Once the draft was finished, it was no longer a coincidence but part of a pattern. The Chiefs went looking for leaders and players of good character, and, by all accounts, general manager Scott Pioli found them.

“That (Chiefs) draft last year? I just love the type of kids he brought into the building,” NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock said. “I don’t care if it was Javier Arenas or Jon Asamoah or Eric Berry or Tony Moeaki. All those kids have the same kind of toughness and work ethic. That’s what you’re going to see from Scott going forward.”

As last year’s draft showed, Pioli’s players have as distinctive a stamp as those of any other general manager around the league.

All teams try to find players who fit their offensive or defensive system. But Pioli also prefers players who not only enjoy playing football, but enjoy working at it, too.

“This program and the way we’ve set things up, it isn’t for everyone,” Pioli said. “There will be certain players who can make it here, perform well in our system and not perform well in another system. Then there are other players, whether it’s (because of) a physical capability or trait or their makeup, who can be successful in other programs but not be successful here.

“There are certain demands on people that (some) players can handle and others can’t. That doesn’t mean they’re not good players, and it doesn’t mean they’re not good people. It means the fit isn’t right.”

All general managers give lip service to that concept. But Pioli is on the road scouting college players or in his office watching them on video more than many of his colleagues around the NFL.

“Scott’s been on the record saying he likes big, smart, tough, intelligent football players who are going to fit well within the scheme,” Pro Football Weekly draft analyst Nolan Nawrocki said. “If you look at what he did with New England, I think it was similar. They highly value character. They’re going to do their work and really dig in to their players. They’ll take some chances, but they’re going to do their homework and make sure they feel comfortable about whoever they’re selecting.”

At some point, the Chiefs will draft a player from outside the mold. But this doesn’t appear to be that year. The Chiefs, after winning their first AFC title in seven years, are at a delicate point in their development. Expectations are high, and the schedule gets exponentially more difficult.

More likely, Pioli will go the conservative route with the first-round pick and use it on an offensive lineman such as Wisconsin’s Gabe Carimi. Carimi may never play in a Pro Bowl, but he could be a solid player for the next 10 years.

In other words, he’s Pioli’s kind of player.

The Chiefs could be in the market for a developmental prospect at quarterback, and, if so, Nawrocki has a suggestion.

“Ricky Stanzi from Iowa fits the criteria,” he said. “He’s wired the right way. He’s what they look for in a quarterback. He’s got all the intangibles, and he’s got the intelligence. He just needs to develop a little more confidence.”

Pioli’s draft strategy is something he learned from his nine seasons with New England, where Bill Belichick was building the Patriots much the same way that Pioli is trying to now. Another former Belichick assistant, Thomas Dimitroff, Atlanta’s general manager, operates much the same way.

“You see what building Scott comes from,” Mayock said. “When you come out of that building, obviously, there are some things that are paramount to Bill Belichick, Scott Pioli, Thomas Dimitroff. One of them is you’ve got to fit in the building. You’ve got to be intelligent and hard-working. Those kind of things, regardless of what position they’re picking, are critical to Scott.

“Scott wants the kind of guy that’s going to show up for work and get better every day. If he’s going to err, he’s going to err on the conservative side and make sure he gets a good football player.”

Doing the safe thing with draft picks is Pioli’s philosophy. He tends to avoid boom-or-bust type of players, preferring instead to believe he will get a certain minimum from each one.

He said he can gauge that in a player by watching him play in college and then through research getting to know the player’s character and work ethic.

“You don’t necessarily know what the ceiling is, but you (need to) know what the floor is about a particular player. That’s important,” Pioli said. “I’m more concerned about dependability, reliability and consistency than highs and lows.

“A pattern I’ve seen is that dependability and consistency give you a better chance to build for the long term. The goal when I came here wasn’t to build something quick or something fragile that just immediately satisfies the masses in the short term. It’s about building something that lasts.”

He veered away from that philosophy to an extent in 2009, his first draft with the Chiefs. They desperately needed defensive linemen, so Pioli took one with each of the first two picks.

The first, Tyson Jackson, was selected with the third overall pick but has given the Chiefs little. The other, Alex Magee, gave the Chiefs a mediocre rookie season and then was traded to Tampa Bay.

The difference is that the Chiefs still believe in Jackson’s potential. Pioli recently said he would pick Jackson again if he had the chance to do that draft over again.

“If you make a bad pick or a bad free-agent decision, one of the worst things you can do is not acknowledge it once you sort it out,” Pioli said. “I’ve watched people make picks and based on pride or their inability to admit a mistake … that to me is a flaw in leadership. I believe one of the greatest strengths in leadership is the ability to admit it when you’re wrong and you make a mistake. Great leaders do something about it.

“That doesn’t mean you react to what public opinion is, necessarily. You have to stay true to what you know and what you believe.”
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Old 04-24-2011, 06:22 AM   #2
tyton75 tyton75 is offline
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I'm starting to have a bad feeling about this draft
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Old 04-24-2011, 06:57 AM   #3
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there's two side's to this safe pick thing right!!!!!
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Old 04-24-2011, 07:42 AM   #4
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I really like the idea of Stanzi in the 2nd or 3rd if he's still there. I think he is going to climb higher than people think.
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Old 04-24-2011, 07:46 AM   #5
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I really like the idea of Stanzi in the 2nd or 3rd if he's still there. I think he is going to climb higher than people think.
I don't hate the idea of drafting Stanzi, but before the 4th round?

Are you just trying to piss me off?
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Old 04-24-2011, 07:53 AM   #6
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Old 04-24-2011, 08:35 AM   #7
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I am not a Ricky Stanzi fan. I've watched every college game Stanzi has played, and I'm not sold on him at all.

If Pioli is looking for consistency in a player, it isn't Stanzi. He was extremely up and down in terms of accuracy, footwork, and decision-making throughout his career. His senior season was good from a stats perspective, however his decision-making game by game really was frustrating.

Stanzi is a 5th round pick at best in my opinion. A lot of people compare him to Brady, but is attitude and bone headed plays reminds me of Grbac.
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Old 04-24-2011, 08:40 AM   #8
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I really like the idea of Stanzi in the 2nd or 3rd if he's still there. I think he is going to climb higher than people think.
I'd take him in the 3rd, and not look back...
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Old 04-24-2011, 08:41 AM   #9
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Yes yes I am.

I'd definitely be all over him in the 3rd since we pick a handful of picks from the 4th but I'm not 100% he's going to be there. I think Zorn could make him special. But that's just me.

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I don't hate the idea of drafting Stanzi, but before the 4th round?

Are you just trying to piss me off?
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Old 04-24-2011, 08:46 AM   #10
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Old 04-24-2011, 08:57 AM   #11
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I don't hate the idea of drafting Stanzi, but before the 4th round?

Are you just trying to piss me off?
Id love him in the 5th.
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Old 04-24-2011, 09:31 AM   #12
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I'm OK with Carimi. I'm just not sure I would draft a QB at all this season. This is year 4 for Cassell. Swim or sink time. If he is what he is supposed to be, no need to spend an early rounder... or any pick for that matter... on a QB this season. And if he is not? Hope someone like Carolina wins the #1 overall pick again next season, and empty the bank to get Luck. Sounds like he would fit the profile, and be a stud on top of it instead of a project.
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Old 04-24-2011, 09:36 AM   #13
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I'm OK with Carimi. I'm just not sure I would draft a QB at all this season. This is year 4 for Cassell. Swim or sink time. If he is what he is supposed to be, no need to spend an early rounder... or any pick for that matter... on a QB this season. And if he is not? Hope someone like Carolina wins the #1 overall pick again next season, and empty the bank to get Luck. Sounds like he would fit the profile, and be a stud on top of it instead of a project.
Year 4?

I just don't think there's any chance that the Chiefs will be able to get Luck.
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Old 04-24-2011, 09:43 AM   #14
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Year 4?

I just don't think there's any chance that the Chiefs will be able to get Luck.
1 year starter in New England. 2 year starter in KC. That would make this next season year 4.

The second part depends a lot on which Cassel shows up. The one making some progress during the middle of the season, or the one early in the season... that re-appeared late in the season.
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Old 04-24-2011, 10:11 AM   #15
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I'm starting to have a bad feeling about this draft
OF course you are. Its a requirement to be a member of CP..
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