The draft is important for every team in the league every year. But with the Chiefs owning 8 of the first 144 selections, Bob Gretz feels this could be one of the biggest batch of picks the franchise has ever seen.
In the little picture of the 2010-11 seasons and the big picture of this next decade, the Chiefs need to hit home runs with these eight choices, especially given the fact they are all within the top 150 spots. They should be able to draft eight players who can contribute to winning. It’s hard to believe that all eight could become starters; that’s a batting average that would put Scott Pioli and his personal department in the Hall of Fame.
But this draft is critical for Pioli, head coach Todd Haley and team chairman Clark Hunt. It’s all tied to the economics of the game and the equation is quite simple: victories = $.
The > the victories means > $; with < winning comes < $.
The Chiefs are 10-38 in the last three seasons, they’ve not won a game in the post-season since January of 1994, attendance declined in the last three seasons, the local TV blackout streak ended, the team currently has less than 40,000 tickets spoken for by season ticket holders, sponsorship revenues are down significantly, so are the sale of suites and prime seating and an expensive renovation of Arrowhead Stadium is nearing completion.
Yes, the bulk of the improvements at the stadium will be paid by a Jackson County sales tax. But the Hunt family has thrown $150 million of their money into the deal as well. They can make that back with sponsorships, suites, premium seating, club payments, etc. But that revenue stream will only flow if the Chiefs field a winning team. Not a soul is going to buy a ticket for a Chiefs game simply to see wider concourses or more restrooms and concession stands.
It’s pretty hard to properly stress how big this draft is the for the Chiefs. Sure, we say that every year but if we ever want to see Clark Hunt open up the checkbook on a big free agent again, the finances surrounding the team need to improve.
With only a few exceptions in the last couple of seasons (Matt Cassel comes to mind), Hunt has been unwilling to hand out any big contracts other than the ones he had no control over (Glenn Dorsey, Tyson Jackson). And then last season he finally stopped buying up the necessary tickets to prevent the Chiefs from being blacked out on local TV.
If the team continues to struggle financially, what’s to say the franchise will do what it needs to do to keep young stars Brandon Flowers and Jamaal Charles when the time comes?
Out of Kansas City’s 8 selections, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect Pioli to deliver three starters and at least four players that will contribute meaningful snaps sooner rather than later.