There has been a lot of blame swirling around Chiefs nation the past couple of weeks. Fans had a taste of a winning season in 2010 and they refuse to go back to the dark ages, aka, Chiefs football from 2007-2009.
Matt Cassel, the offensive line, no receivers, Todd Haley, the offensive coordinator, the defense, the injuries, whomever is unfortunate to make a mistake next, or the direction of the wind… All have come under fire and all are the target of some Kansas City fan somewhere.
Another one of those targets has been Scott Pioli and his selection of Tyson Jackson in the 2009 draft. Tyson Jackson was a surprise selection by Pioli as the 3rd overall pick in that year…and fans have been questioning the pick ever since.
Pioli and Haley came to Kansas City and one of the first areas of concern that needed to be addressed was the defense. Both front office personnel and a majority of the fan base agreed that the defense needed to be fixed…and quick. And that was the mindset in the spring of 2009. But Tyson Jackson?
…but Jackson, he was so far down the board on these mock drafts, it might have made the Chiefs look desperate, misinformed and stubborn. Red Zone.com
The first year didn’t help Pioli’s case as Jackson’s play looked more like a 3rd round project than a 3rd overall pick in the NFL Draft. Year after year, since 2009, fans and media have proclaimed that Tyson Jackson must start producing more to be worthy of Scott Pioli’s surprise pick.
Considered by many to be custom-made to play defensive end in a 3-4 coming out of college, Jackson was simply dreadful as a rookie. He consistently got washed out of the play in his first season while trying to hold the point in the run game. And he did very little disrupting of quarterbacks. ESPN. com
Jackson’s play has improved since 2009, to be sure. Maybe the improvement hasn’t been enough to justify the 3rd overall pick in some fans’ minds. But he is far from a washout. But what did the Chiefs have to pick from in 2009? Many clamored for Aaron Curry, others for Michael Crabtree. So how did they turn out?
In retrospect, some draft analysts have declared the 2009 draft class the worst in history. More players were dropped or waived prior to the season than any other year. Considering the options available to the Chiefs in 2009, instead of selecting Tyson Jackson they could have selected Aaron Curry LB, Andre Smith OT, Eugene Monroe OT, B.J. Raji NT, or Michael Crabtree WR. Based on what the Chief’s front office was thinking, and what the fan base in general wanted, it would appear that the only real options at the time was Curry, Jackson, and Raji (who was also selected higher than his projection).
So could the Chiefs have done better?
The biggest cry, at the time, came from those fans who wanted the Chiefs to select Aaron Curry, linebacker. The fans were convinced that Curry was a can’t miss pick. Surely, he is better than Jackson and will have a longer career.
On Thursday [ Sept. 2011], Curry was demoted in favor of rookie fourth-round pick KJ Wright. CBS Sports.com
Other fans wanted to fix the offensive line and demanded that Kansas City take Jason Smith, offensive tackle. And after he was selected by the Rams, with their 2nd overall pick…they wanted Andre Smith.
Andre Smith’s fall from grace has by no means gone unnoticed. The images of Smith running the 40 shirtless have been lampooned by what seems like every sports’ site on the web.
It has left the Bengals organization disgruntled, with Marvin Lewis making it clear that Smith is simply running out of time, with patience dwindling. Bleacher Report.com (2010)
Why couldn’t the Chiefs have selected Michael Crabtree?
But the source immediately gave me a definitive, and somewhat bracing response: Nope, Crabtree’s agent Eugene Parker and 49ers management are too ground in for any deal coming before the end of August. Tim Kawakami from MercuryNews.com
Michael Crabtree started the season late in 2009 due to an impasse with the 49ers organization which prompted Jerry Rice to comment…
“I’m sure there might be a little animosity toward him if he comes in and gets handed that starting job,” Rice said. “I’m sure a lot of guys are probably taking it real hard. This guy is the No. 1 draft choice and he’s holding out and he can really help the team. And he’s only thinking about, well, he went No. 10 but he thought he should have gone No. 5 and that’s the type of money he’s trying to get.” ESPN.com
Crabtree has gone on to post 625 yards and 2 touchdowns in 2009 and 741 yards and 6 touchdowns in 2010. Not bad seasons for a receiver. But for a receiver that would have been selected #3 in the Draft? Michael Crabtree, like Tyson Jackson, is producing in the NFL. Anytime you can do that then you have accomplished something. But Crabtree might be in a similar boat as Jackson if he had been selected #3 by the Chiefs.
In retrospect, the Chiefs could have selected B.J. Raji 3rd in the 2009 draft. But how many pundits would have cried foul on that pick, as well? Raji has turned out to be a good selection by the Packers and anchors the middle of their defense, but he was projected to go in the middle of the first round.
The Kansas City Chiefs did okay with their 3rd overall pick in 2009. Compared to what they had to pick from, that is. For some fans “okay” might not be good enough for a 3rd overall pick in the draft. But for Tyson Jackson and the Chiefs, there is still a future. For others in that 2009 draft, a draft that was possibly the worst in history, there is no future. At least not in the NFL.