Coaches Vs. Scouts Over Draft Decisions

There are going to be a lot of voices that want to be heard when it comes time for the Kansas City Chiefs to make each of their selections in next week’s draft.  Bob Gretz has tackled the blurring lines between coaching and scouting this morning, with a couple of very interesting examples.

In the 1993 Draft, the Chiefs did not have a choice until the third round.  In the run up to the draft and on selection day, offensive line coach Alex Gibbs did not feel Nebraska guard Will Shields was worth drafting using a high or middle-round choice.  Gibbs doubted the ability of all Cornhuskers blockers to handle pass protection at an NFL level and felt Shields was no different.

Needless to say, Carl Peterson and Marty Schottenheimer ignored Gibbs opinion and selected Shields, who would play for 14 years, never miss a game and make a dozen Pro Bowls.

Another example came two years later, when RB Curtis Martin was coming out of the University of Pittsburgh.  Then Chiefs offensive coordinator Paul Hackett had been the head coach at Pitt, most recently in the 1992 season, when Martin was a sophomore.  In discussing the running back, Hackett was very negative in his evaluation of whether he was durable enough or mature enough to handle playing in the NFL.

My favorite draft day story goes back to when Dick Vermeil literally stood on a table in the war room to state his case for Jared Allen, then just seen as a project from small Division I-AA Idaho State.  We all know how that worked out.

Though this does bring up the question about how much input you allow your coaches to have compared to your scouts.

Yes, you pay the coaches to coach and scouts to scout. But is it fair to hand a coach a player to work with that he isn’t high on but a scout is raving about?  If Scott Pioli is torn on a player, Todd Haley’s opinion — no doubt based both on his own scouting and reports from the Chiefs staff — needs to be the deciding voice…  without standing on a table.

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