Just when local fans and media thought they had Scott Pioli figured out, he went out and threw a curveball by selecting WR Jonathan Baldwin from Pittsburgh. Sam Mellinger takes a look at the differences between Pioli’s first two drafts and the first pick of his third.
A year ago, everyone drawing a Chiefs paycheck talked about finding “the right 53” and drafting captains and scholars and upstanding citizens. Today, they are talking up a receiver who publicly ripped his college coaches and quarterback.
Before this, Pioli talked about how he was conservative by nature and favored more predictable players rather than guys who could boom or bust. Today, he is talking about how excited he is to have drafted a gifted athlete who struggles at basic receiver requirements like route running.
“If you get yourself too tracked in to thinking one way and staying locked in on whatever belief system you have and not being altered,” Pioli says, “you’re setting yourself up for failure.”
I was just as surprised as everyone else when Pioli passed on “Right 53” players like Gabe Carimi and Akeem Ayers for Baldwin, but not disappointed. In fact, I wanted the Chiefs to take a shot at him with the 55th pick if he was still on the board for shear value. If he had a better attitude, there is no doubt in my mind he would have been a top 20 pick.
So in the end, Pioli is taking a chance on a wide receiver that will be playing for a head coach that not only requires every player to do things the right way, but also is known to spend extra time with the receivers.
Do you feel better when the Chiefs can draft one of the most talented players and have him also be an exceptional person (Eric Berry)? Of course. But if Pioli and Todd Haley are convinced that Baldwin has what it takes to take his game to the next level, this was an easy pick.