Another in the long line of positive stories about the Chiefs during their first week as the final unbeaten team in the NFL comes from ESPN.com. Greg Garber spoke with Chiefs owner Clark Hunt about the team exceeding expectations thanks to all of the contributions from the rookie class.
“Scott’s thought process was different from anyone else we talked with,” Hunt said. “Everybody wants bigger, faster, stronger players, but Scott believes in players with a team-first mentality. Intelligence, toughness, team first, leadership — those are the things he’s looking for.
“I believe that successful teams are built through the draft, and this year’s group is very special. Maybe in a few years we’ll look back and say that was a cornerstone for what our franchise can become.”
The first three choices — safety Eric Berry (No. 5, from Tennessee), wide receiver and returner Dexter McCluster (No. 36, Mississippi), cornerback and returner Javier Arenas (No. 50, Alabama) — are contributing. Third-round tight end Tony Moeaki (Iowa) leads Kansas City with 12 catches, 123 yards and two touchdowns. His spectacular 18-yard one-hander versus the 49ers is a YouTube hit. That catch carried him to the NFL Pepsi Rookie of the Week title, giving the Chiefs two in three weeks. McCluster won for his Week 1 effort, which featured a 94-yard punt return for a touchdown.
We all know how important this year’s draft class has been to the Chiefs fast start. McCluster and Arenas immediately moved Kansas City out of the cellar when it came to team speed around the league and Moeaki is proving to be Matt Cassel’s favorite target.
It is all even more amazing when you think about how little the 2009 draft class has pitched in this season. Tyson Jackson showed week 1 that he was starting to come into his own, but after that you have to go all the way to Mr. Irrelevant Ryan Succop before you get find another player that contributes.
Not only has this group of rookies helped turn around a 4 win team, but they have also covered up what is turning out to be a disastrous debut draft class by Pioli.