Chiefs trade up for defensive tackle

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- With a 150-pound assistant equipment
manager running interference in New York, the Kansas City Chiefs
got their 300-pound defensive tackle.

Making a last-second trade with Dallas to move up two spots from
eighth to sixth, the Chiefs got North Carolina defensive tackle
Ryan Sims Saturday -- the man they coveted since his dominating
performance in the Senior Bowl.

"He's a complete player," coach Dick Vermeil said. "Within
time, he will be an impact player at that inside position."

For a few confused seconds, however, it looked like the
Minnesota Vikings might slip in and get the 6-foot-4, 311-pound

Dallas was on the 15-minute clock, ready to exercise the sixth
selection in the first round, as Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and
Chiefs general manager Carl Peterson hammered out details of a

With 90 seconds left, they finally agreed that in return for
swapping first-round spots, the Chiefs would give the Cowboys their
third-round pick this year and their sixth-rounder in 2003.

But before they could get word of the trade to NFL official Joe
Bussert, the clock read 0:00 and the Vikings, picking seventh, were
approaching the podium with Sims' name written on their card.

Peterson said assistant equipment manager Allen Wright was
standing at the podium with Sims' name written on his card and
would not get out of the way. The Chiefs later corrected themselves
to say it was assistant equipment manager Chris Shropshire, not

"It's still Dallas' pick. But then frankly, I looked at the TV
also and they were down to zero-zero and (the trade) still hadn't
been confirmed," Peterson said. "It said Minnesota was standing
behind them. But they didn't allow them to make their pick.

"As soon as Joe said there's been a trade, then we could give
the card and make the announcement.

"Allen Wright did a great job in New York. He wouldn't let the
Vikings behind him get in front of him."

The Chiefs, who ranked 27th in the NFL last year in run defense,
paid a steep price for Sims, a third-round pick in an unusually
deep draft class.

"We know him real well," Vermeil said. "I don't think there's
any flaws. What he needs is experience and a lot of hard work. He's
got the strong lower body, the power, the explosiveness to get
around a guy quickly. He gets to the quarterback in a bad mood."

As the clock ran down on Dallas' pick, Sims' heart was racing
just as fast as everyone's in Arrowhead Stadium.

"My agent tapped me on the side with about a minute left for
Dallas to pick and told me that Kansas City was about to move up,"
he said. "I thought they were a top 10 team and why would they
trade up two spots. I was like, `Oh, my goodness, I am going to be
a Kansas City Chief."'

For inside information on Sims, the Chiefs leaned heavily on
North Carolina coach John Bunting, a former Kansas City assistant.

"I was thinking about being a Chief for awhile since coach
Bunting put a lot of good things in my head about how great a coach
Vermeil was," Sims said. "He is a great coach and I am sure I'll
have a wonderful experience."

Although sometimes overshadowed by North Carolina defensive end
Julius Peppers, the second player taken overall, Sims made a name
for himself as the season wore on. Then he exploded into prominence
in the Senior Bowl.

"At first I really did not want to play in it because I figured
I had already shown everybody what I needed to show them in the
Peach Bowl," he said.

But then he was told that none of the other three defensive
tackles who were also being rated as first-round material would be
at the Senior Bowl.

"I was thinking if they are not going, they must have something
to hide," Sims said. "I did not want teams to think that I had
something to hide. I wanted to show the teams and prove to myself
that I could compete against the top competition."