Legendary NFL Personnel Man Gil Brandt Shares His Thoughts on Chiefs

Brandt took time to talk to Chiefs.com on Wednesday at radio row in Houston

There isn't much that happens in the NFL that Gil Brandt—the former Dallas Cowboys vice president of player personnel and current NFL.com senior analyst—doesn't know.

Brandt has been involved in this game at the highest level in some capacity since 1955, when he started as an executive with the Los Angeles Rams (1955-1959) before moving on the Dallas Cowboys (1960-1988), with whom he helped put together a roster that had 20 straight winning seasons (1966-85).

He was a part of two Super Bowl championship teams (VI, XII) and has been described as "The Godfather" of scouting, as many of his methods are still used by today's personnel departments.

As is his business, Brandt, who stops by Chiefs training camp in St. Joseph, Missouri, each year, spoke about what he's seen from the Chiefs under general manager John Dorsey and head coach Andy Reid.

"I think Andy does a great job, their staff does a great job and defensive coordinator [Bob] Sutton does a great job," Brandt explained. "The organization, since Andy and John took over, I think has grown tremendously. The team is more competitive, I think they're more community-minded, I just think they do a really good job, and don't forget Mr. Hunt, because I think Clark has done a great, great job of managing their organization."

For the second straight season, the Chiefs lost in the divisional round of the AFC playoffs—falling to the Pittsburgh Steelers by a score of 18-16. Brandt, who knows something about winning a lot of games before getting a Super Bowl title, as his Cowboys teams had six straight winning seasons before taking it all in 1971, shared his thoughts on where the Chiefs are at right now.

"I think sometimes you get caught up in, 'Why aren't we in the Super Bowl?'" Brandt explained. "We criticize the quarterback by the name of Smith. I think the answer is, 'OK, we're going to get rid of Smith, but who are we going to get in his place that's going to be better?'

"It's so hard to win a championship. You have to have luck on your side. The last time that the Patriots played down here against Carolina, they won the game at the end because a very good kicker kicked the ball out of bounds. There's so many things that go into it.

"You might have been here if that official didn't see [Eric] Fisher holding. That's what happens. I guess it was the right call. I would not have made it. We still don't know if you would have won or not, you know? It's so hard when you're good. It happened when I was with the Cowboys—we were always next year's champions."

While the Chiefs get ready to plan for next year and hopefully follow a similar path as Brandt and those Cowboys teams of the 70s, the focus turns to free agency and then the draft, where Brandt has liked what he's seen from the Chiefs over the last few years.

The Chiefs' 2015 draft class consisted of guys who are contributing and helped lead to a 12-4 record and division title this past year in cornerback Marcus Peters, center Mitch Morse, receiver Chris Conley, cornerback Steven Nelson, linebackers Ramik Wilson and D.J. Alexander, along with tight end James O' Shaughnessy and defensive lineman Rakeem Nunez-Roches.

It's a phenomenal draft class and only their last pick, receiver Da'Ron Brown, isn't with the team or contributing right now.

The class is obviously headlined by Marcus Peters, who followed up his NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year season by being named a first-team All-Pro in 2016.

"The only thing that I didn't like about number 22 [Marcus Peters] was I was worried that after the first week that he might break the record by Everson Walls, who was the first rookie in NFL history to lead the league in interceptions his first two years," Brandt laughed. "He kind of cooled off at the end."

Peters led the league with eight interceptions as a rookie, and then finished second this past year with six, although his 14 interceptions total are the most of any player over the past two seasons.

This past year, rookie defensive lineman Chris Jones and playmaker Tyreek Hill, who was a unanimous first-team All-Pro, headlined another successful draft class for Dorsey and company.

While the draft is far along the horizon, the Chiefs will first have to make some decisions in free agency, and Brandt shared a story about a conversation he had on Wednesday afternoon.

"I talked to [Eric] Berry's father today," Brandt, who once signed Berry's father, James, to a contract after he finished up his playing career at Tennessee, explained. "I told him, 'I want you to know one thing. The best deal is not always the best deal.' I think Kansas City is the type of town, and you can go to Bobby Bell and Len Dawson that have lived there all their life and are held in such high esteem and ask them, I think Kansas City is a great place to go.

"It's not what you get today, it's what you get for the next 30 or 35 years that counts."

Berry, who is an impending free agent, said last week that he hopes to stay in Kansas City.

"It's just an unbelievable story," Brandt said of what Berry has overcome the last two years. "I never thought anybody could recover from that. A big part of this thing isn't only the illness, but it's staying away from football for a year.

"I hope Eric stays there and leads that team to an AFC Championship and a Super Bowl."

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