Clark Hunt can tell the story now, after the Chiefs traded for quarterback Alex Smith and used their first-round NFL Draft choice on offensive tackle Eric Fisher.
But shortly after the Chiefs finished a miserable 2-14 season, gaining the No. 1 overall pick for the first time since they joined the NFL, Hunt thought his franchise was cursed.
The Chiefs, quarterback needy at the time, would have the first pick in a draft in a year when the consensus was that no quarterback would be worthy of the choice. Most of the better players appeared to be linemen.
“At the end of the season I certainly had those thoughts,” Hunt, the Chiefs chairman, said Friday. “I was like, ‘Why could this have not been last year when there were the quarterbacks sitting there (and) we had a need at the quarterback position?’
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“When we were able to pull off the trade on Alex Smith, really for me that issue went away. We ended up getting a first overall quarterback. He just happened to have been taken (eight) years ago. We were able to trade for him with a second-round pick this year. Then with what we did in free agency we were able to address a lot of our needs and put ourselves in the position where we could take the best available player. We didn’t have to draft somebody to come fill a hole here or there. We were able to take the guy John Dorsey thought would be the best for the Kansas City Chiefs in the long run.
“So, actually, it turned from being a little bit of a negative to very much of a positive because we were going to be able to get a player (in Fisher) who would help us not only this year but down the road. It wasn’t a typical year like last year, where there was maybe an obvious pick, a consensus pick. But the guys did a great job and I think they ended up with the best available player.”
The Chiefs are in the midst of their first draft with Dorsey as general manager and Andy Reid as head coach. Only time will tell whether Fisher will be worthy of the first overall pick, but Hunt said he was impressed with the way Dorsey operated the draft process.
Hunt said much the same thing four years ago when the Chiefs were in the middle of their first draft under Scott Pioli, then their new general manager. That year, with the third overall pick, the Chiefs selected defensive end Tyson Jackson, who has yet to play up to his draft position.
“They were thorough,” Hunt said. “John is somebody who has been around the National Football League literally his entire professional life. He just brought a knowledge and a calmness to the process. I talked to him frequently throughout the process. He had his guys in there churning. Every time I spoke to Andy, he said, ‘I can’t get John out of the (draft) room.’ They did their evaluation and when it came time to make the pick, there was a lot of confidence in the decision. There wasn’t any second-guessing. He and Andy were on the same page, which was something that was very important to me. They’re both very excited to have Eric as part of the Kansas City Chiefs.”
“The drafts I’ve been involved in the last half-dozen years, there has been a fair amount of confidence (in the players the Chiefs picked). But with John it just felt different. I don’t know how to describe it other than that. There was obvious the back and forth between Luke (Joeckel) and Eric as to which one of the two tackles was the better. That was sort of the common discussion around the National Football League. At the end of the day, John was confident that Eric was our guy. That’s not to slight Luke at all because they think he’s a very fine player as well. But Eric was the right guy for the Chiefs. They think he has a tremendous upside. They think he can come in and help us right away.”