Yesterday, the Kansas City Chiefs selected DE Tyson Jackson from LSU with their only first round pick.
Kent Babb at the Kansas City Star talks about a Jackson as a kid with a penchant for going out at night, but not the type of places we’re used to hearing from the likes of Larry Johnson and pre-trade Jared Allen.
Larry Dupont, Jackson’s high school coach, told recruiters he liked to go out a copule times a week. The coach called it “nightlife”. Yup, the quiet kid went out every Wednesday and Sunday. That’s when the services were at the church Jackson’s family attended, and the kid didn’t like missing them. Besides, that’s what you do when you’re an 18-year-old Baptist from Louisiana, isn’t it?
I might not be sold on the Jackson pick yet, since yes I still am pining for Aaron Curry a bit, but I’d be lying if I told you hearing things like this didn’t make me feel better. Not because being a church going kid makes you a better or worse football player, but because he has big time potential without the red flags of say a Percy Harvin who is covered in character flags.
Also at the KC Star, Jason Whitlock wanted to argue Jackson came off the board too early and wasn’t worth the contract he was going to get for doing just the dirty work on the line. New England’s Richard Seymour went No. 6 in the 2001 draft, and Ty Warren lasted until the 13th pick in 2003.
But when I asked Pioli whether Jackson would be asked to play the same role as Seymour, the Chiefs’ new general manager recognized that it was a setup question, and he answered the unasked follow-up, referencing a conversation he had had with former Dallas Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson.
“Johnson talked about the importance of how Russell Maryland … allowed him to play the defense they wanted to play.”
Maryland was the No. 1 overall pick in the 1991 draft. He signed a big contract. He was a 6-foot-1, 300-pound defensive tackle who never recorded more than 4.5 sacks in a season. He played in one Pro Bowl. He helped the Cowboys win three Super Bowls. He was perfect for what the Cowboys did defensively.
Jackson is perfect for the Chiefs. And he’ll be worth the price tag. A quarterback, a pass-rusher, a receiver, a big-play cornerback and a left tackle are all worth paying $30 million-plus in guaranteed money. By referencing Maryland, Pioli was saying a defensive lineman doesn’t have to rack up headline stats to justify a significant paycheck. Pioli is right.
And more than likely, Pioli is right about Tyson Jackson. In terms of identifying 3-4 defensive linemen, Pioli’s credibility can’t be questioned. Don’t let Kansas City’s tragic recent history with high-round defensive linemen color your perception of Jackson. He’s not the next Ryan Sims, Eddie Freeman, Tamba Hali, Junior Siavii or Glenn Dorsey.
Whitlock is on board with this selection? I thought for sure he would be killing Pioli for not just selecting Jackson but for ONLY selecting Jackson and no one else. Though he still asks for fireworks in his article, he isn’t demanding Chase Coffman from Missouri as long as we see some activity in free agency after the draft. I’m still listening to arguements to get me fully on board with Jackson, so please keep ’em coming.
Count Bob Gretz among those that are on board with the selection of Jackson because he fits what Pioli is trying to do with the Chiefs.
There may have been players ranked higher by all the pundits, draftniks and even NFL teams. Guys like LB Aaron Curry and WRs Michael Crabtree and Jeremy Maclin were still there. Pioli passed on all those players, although he considered some of them (he wouldn’t say who.) He was ready to talk trade, but nobody was calling and the Chiefs did not call anybody about a deal.
Put in position to make the selection, Pioli grabbed a player that fits the mold of what he’s looking for in rebuilding this Chiefs roster. Yes, there’s athletic ability, size and strength and all those things so very necessary to play on the line of scrimmage in the NFL. Hey, it’s not like Jackson wasn’t rated as a high first-round pick.
But there had to be something more in Jackson to be the name Pioli picked. There had to be those intangibles that Pioli believes are very tangible, those factors that make for the 53 right guys, rather than the 53 most talented players. Jackson has some of those qualities. When asked the most important, Pioli didn’t hesitate.
“He loves football, loves to play football.”
The one thing we can all agree on is Pioli has stayed true to his word about making sure the Chiefs have guys that love to play football as opposed to Al Davis who brings in nothing but athletes, character and passion for the game be damned. So for anyone that is upset with this pick, just be glad Pioli is bringing people in that will fit into the team’s new scheme and not just kids that can light up a 40 yard dash.