If there’s a singular item that baffles Kansas City Chiefs fans, it might be the teams inability to draft a first round talent that makes an immediate impact on the field.
When Head Coach, Andy Reid and John Dorsey, arrived in Kansas City three years ago, each had a reputation of being shrewd personnel men. In their tenure to date, they’ve found the sledding a bit rough when it comes to drafting impact players in round one.
Two years ago, Eric Fisher, was the teams first overall pick but he still hasn’t blossomed into the premier left tackle most felt he’d become entering the NFL. Last season Kansas City selected Linebacker, Dee Ford, in the first round and he’s yet to show much progress on the field in his short NFL career.
Now with the news Ford is suffering from a concussion, his maturation process has slowed to a crawl. With veteran, Tamba Hali, entering the twilight of his career, Ford was supposed to be his heir apparent. So far, that’s not been the case.
With Justin Houston firmly planted as a fixture on KC’s defense for the next six years, someone has to break out of Hali’s shadow and give this defense another solid pass rusher. Though Ford may have the tools to be that guy, he hasn’t displayed any of those skills that shot him up the Chiefs draft board.
Now I’m good with the fact the Chiefs felt the Auburn star was a high draft riser. Yet with the teams history of failed first round picks, you have to wonder if Ford can break that mold.
Since he arrived in Kansas City, Dorsey to his credit, has done a terrific job rebuilding the Chiefs roster. Reid has taken that work a step further by coaching up many of the team’s new additions and delivering a pair of back-to-back winning seasons for this franchise. However, when you have a first round pick who can’t make an impact, it moderately taints the overall work of both men.
The Chiefs have watched teams in their own divisions hit home run after home run with their first round picks. Granted every draft pick is a crapshoot, but in the first round, it’s highly critical that your number one pick make their presence felt right away.
Though that trend might be broken this season with Cornerback Marcus Peters, who has been one of the teams most impressive defenders in training camp to date. Ford still has plenty of distance to prove he has a grasp of KC’s defense on par with that of Peters thus far in his rookie campaign.
Now if some in the organization feel Ford has lost some of the mojo that made him a first round pick, the coaching staff will give him more time to evolve. After all, the team has stuck with Fisher, even though he’s done very little on the field.
Regardless, Ford isn’t doing much to earn his lofty draft status; I’m not ready to call him a bust. If the concussion isn’t serious, he has plenty of time to show Reid and company he can become a productive defensive player for the Chiefs.
After all Fisher, who appears healthy for the first time in his NFL career, has improved on the practice field, perhaps the bottom line in Ford’s evolution means needs another season to get up to speed in Kansas City.
If that’s the case, at least we can draw some sense of gleam knowing Peters has shown flashes that he intends to start a new trend as a first round pick.