|04-28-2011, 01:17 AM|
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Teicher:Draft day distress: When the best-laid plans go awry
Draft day distress: When the best-laid plans go awry
By ADAM TEICHER
The Kansas City Star
Gil Brandt helped the Dallas Cowboys run their draft for a lot of years, and there was only one time the team’s decision-makers were undecided about the player they would pick.
That was 1979 and all these years later, it still haunts him.
“Our pick was going to be a guy named Joe Montana,” Brandt said. “Coach (Tom) Landry said, ‘Well, we can pick Montana, but we’ll probably cut him in training camp because we’ve got three pretty good quarterbacks right now.’ ”
So the Cowboys passed on perhaps the best quarterback ever and drafted tight end Doug Cosbie.
“Cosbie went to, I think, three Pro Bowls and played for 10 or 11 years,” Brandt recalled. “But he really never turned out to be as good as Joe Montana.”
Sooner or later, every team winds up in a sort of no man’s land for the draft: A place where — with the clock ticking on a pick — the only players available are ones who play a position already stocked or are otherwise unappealing. Trade possibilities are not enticing.
“I’ve been there,” said former Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil, who also coached for the Eagles and Rams. “Sometimes disappointment occurs five minutes before you make the pick. You have somebody you’ve discussed thoroughly, and you’re really ready to go and, bang, somebody else takes him. That creates a disappointing, sinking feeling.
“Nine times out of 10, you’re organized enough to go on to the next guy. But that doesn’t eliminate the disappointment.”
The Chiefs might be in no man’s land tonight when the draft opens with the first round. Their biggest need is at wide receiver, where they have no one they’re satisfied with to pair with Dwayne Bowe.
But the draft’s two best available receivers, Georgia’s A.J. Green and Alabama’s Julio Jones, figure to be long gone by the time the Chiefs select with the 21st overall pick. So they may be able to get as good a receiver with their second-round pick on Friday as they could select tonight.
It happened to Scott Pioli with his first pick as the Chiefs general manager. The Chiefs had the third overall pick and weren’t thrilled with their selection of players, even at that point in the draft.
The Chiefs tried to deal out of that spot and thought for a time they might be able to reach a deal with Detroit, which had the 20th pick. But the sides were unable to complete the trade, and the Chiefs wound up selecting defensive end Tyson Jackson, a player who might have been available to them had they been able to acquire that 20th pick from the Lions.
Pioli recently said if he had that draft to do over again, he would still select Jackson, who has had two disappointing seasons with the Chiefs.
Pioli had been in no man’s land before, as personnel director with New England. In 2007, the Patriots were loaded with talent and about to embark on the NFL’s first and only 16-0 regular season.
“We knew we had a good football team,” Pioli said. “Not only did we have quality starters but we had quality depth. We were picking players we were certain, or pretty certain, would be practice squad players at best. You end up in those situations sometimes, and you have to make the pick as best you can unless you can trade out.”
Predictably, the Patriots didn’t get much from that year’s draft.
The Chiefs also landed in no man’s land with Vermeil as their coach in 2004. They were beaten to the player they wanted in the first round that year, bailed out of the round altogether and went on to have a miserable first three rounds. They made the regrettable choices of Junior Siavii and Kris Wilson in the second round and Keyaron Fox in the third.
The only thing that salvaged that draft is the Chiefs in the fourth round selected a defensive end from Idaho State, Jared Allen.
“It doesn’t happen often, but it does happen and no team is immune,” Vermeil said. “It’s hard to predict when it’s going to happen. It’s why you see so many trades. There are teams that see something happening and they’re willing to move up ahead and give something up for the right to get there. It’s like added insurance to getting the guy they really want.”
To avoid that sinking feeling Vermeil described, the Chiefs have traded up many times to get the player they wanted. They moved up in the third round last year to get tight end Tony Moeaki and jumped a few spots in the first round in 2008 to draft tackle Branden Albert.
Most famously, they moved up in the first round in 1997 to get one of the franchise’s best all-time players, Tony Gonzalez.
Vermeil recalled being devastated while in Philadelphia when the Eagles lost highly coveted wide receiver Perry Tuttle. The Bills traded into the first-round spot ahead of the Eagles to take Tuttle, leaving Vermeil with what he thought was a consolation wide receiver: Mike Quick.
Quick went on to a great career in Philadelphia, catching 363 passes and scoring 61 touchdowns. Tuttle lasted only a couple of seasons, catching 25 balls and scoring three TDs.
“So every once in a while, other teams do you a favor,” Vermeil said. “The guy you wanted gets drafted in front of you and ends up not being as good as you thought or as good as the player you end up picking. You pick somebody else and you end up with a better player.
“So it works out for you once in a while. But it seems like it happens the other way more often.”
|04-28-2011, 01:24 AM||#3|
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