Print and Go Back AFC West [Print without images]

Friday, April 15, 2011
Scott Pioli discusses Chiefs' draft strategy

By Bill Williamson

Kansas City Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli held his pre-draft press briefing Friday. Let’s take a look at some of the highlights:

Of course, Pioli didn’t give any major hints what the team will do with the No. 21 overall pick. However, the Kansas City Star reports that Pioli indicated the Chiefs will likely go for the best available player rather than jumping on a particular need. Pioli reasons that there is always a need at every position.

''I don’t think there’s a position on this football team where there isn’t a need,'' Pioli said. ''Something I feel strongly about and Todd [Haley] feels strongly about is the mentality we had in New England. It doesn’t matter who you have at any position ... you’re never set at any one position. … There are bad things that can happen to players and your team so you better be ready for the next player. So we have a need at every position. Some are ranked higher than others for immediacy but that doesn’t mean you run from another position. It goes into trying to find the delicate balance between best player available and need.

''It’s obvious to people what people perceive and what we perceive the needs are but you also have to think ahead. You can’t focus in a one-year or even a two-year frame of thinking because then you set yourself up for failure when you’re trying to build a consistent winner.''

It all makes sense. Fortunately for the Chiefs, the best players available in the range where they pick in the first round fit their needs. Expect Kansas City to be able to choose from several pass-rushers and offensive linemen at No. 21. reports that Pioli said the jury is still out on the recent drafts, however, he stood by the selection of defensive lineman Tyson Jackson at No. 3 in 2009. Pioli’s first choice in Kansas City has showed flashes, but he has yet to prove himself.

"I look back to that draft and I would say that I think we do have a good player in Tyson Jackson," he said. "I know the jury is still out. We need to see that. I think everyone in our organization is pretty confident still that Tyson is going to be a good player."

Jackson looks the part and he is known for having a good attitude. But he has to make strides this season or the bust rumblings will grow louder.

The Chiefs’ website reports Pioli talked about the importance of scouts having their own voice so the team can thoroughly evaluate players.

“All of the scouts that we hire and develop within our program, we want to make sure that they disagree,” Pioli explained. “Not for the sake of just disagreeing, but we want them to have their own opinions. They understand that it’s a healthy thing to disagree and the same goes for our coaches. … We encourage [debate] just by doing it and there’s never a feeling of intimidation or shouting people down. I’ve seen and heard of places where there are disagreements and they’ll throw [conflicting] opinions out the window or talk a person down. There is no component of disrespect in our meetings. We encourage [disagreement] because we have a nice mix of older coaches and scouts with younger coaches and scouts.”

Pioli has a strong grasp on his organization. He has long had a reputation for being one of the league’s better drafters dating back to his New England days, and his decision in April has helped expedite the Chiefs’ progress.