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Meet the Middlemen for the Kansas City Chiefs' 2015 NFL Draft

John Dorsey may decide the pick, but these guys actually turn in the card


When you're watching the 2015 NFL Draft this weekend from the comfort of your home, the local watering hole or following along on social media, you're going to notice a couple of guys at the Kansas City Chiefs table at the draft in Chicago, Illinois.

They will have headsets on and will constantly be on the phone. That phone connects them with the draft room in Kansas City via a live line.

In case you were wondering who those guys are, this year it'll be Allen Wright, the head equipment manager for the Chiefs and Chris Shropshire, one of the two Chiefs assistant equipment managers.

Wright, who has been with the Chiefs since 1983, attended the draft in this role from 1990 to 2005 and then returned again last year.

He explained the process in which a player is officially picked at the NFL Draft.

"We're on a phone with the draft room live the whole time. The line stays open," Wright explained. "Based on who you're working with, different regimes have done it different ways, but primarily they'll give you a couple of options or they'll give you the name. You'll write it down and turn the card over and kind of sit on it as they debate it.

"Sometimes they'll reach out and call the kid and then they'll say, "OK, go ahead and turn in the card."

As the official card gets turned into a league employee by either Wright or Shropshire, it's at that point that a player has officially been selected.

Wright explained how far the NFL has come in terms of coverage from the first draft he attended back in 1990.

"At that time, it was the Marriott Marquis in New York and it was held in the ball room," Wright explained. "All the rounds took place in one day and if there were 50 people, there as an audience, I would be shocked.

"It made its transformation into the 2000s to what I went to last year. It's unbelievable how big of an event it has become."

Shropshire, who is pictured below (on the right), has been with the Chiefs for 22 years and has worked the drafts since 1998. He said technology has changed their responsibilities a bit in working the event.

"Back in 1998, TV cameras were present but the internet wasn't what it is today," he said. "We used to communicate from New York and be more a part of that process but now there's not as much lag time between everyone involved."


Wright continued about how things are different now.

"When we did it back then, there wasn't television coverage carrying it live," Wright said. "We were the only line of communication with the public relations back in Kansas City, in the draft room.

"We could tell them when there were going to be trades, what the trades were and all of those things. Nowadays, you're all getting it at the same time that we are. It's really just a formality."

Even though Wright and Shropshire aren't making personnel decisions and with technology expediting the travel of information, it doesn't hinder their excitement in being a part of this important process.

"It's pretty exciting to be one of the first few people to know," Shropshire said. "I have a lot of friends asking to trade me jobs.

"We're getting to that point now where you're putting that name on the card and now those guys are ending up in the Pro Bowl. It's really cool to see."

Before he was a key member of the draft process, Shropshire started with the Chiefs as a security guard back in the mid-'90s. 

"I had my EMT license and they like to hire security people who have that," Shropshire said. "I started working practices and got to know Allen (Wright) and [former equipment manager] Mike Davidson that way. They'd ask me to come down and help fold towels.

"I was a 20-year-old young man back then and I was like, 'I get to see the Chiefs locker room, Marcus Allen and Joe Montana. Absolutely I'll do that!'"

A few years later, Shropshire had a full-time job that has now, 22 years later, led him to being a conduit in the draft selection process during a key weekend for the Chiefs franchise moving forward.

"It's a great honor," Shropshire said of this opportunity. "This is one of the premier franchises in the league and just to be a part of it is an honor and a privilege."

Wright said that although he's not making the selection decisions, that doesn't mean there aren't some tense moments as that clock is winding down.

"Sometimes you can get into a time crunch where they run the clock way down and then throw a name out to you and you're trying to get it within the allotted time.

"It can be a little nerve-racking."

The official cards may be turned in at the draft, but Wright and Shropshire have made a habit of grabbing some extra cards and filling them out to give to the players once they arrive in Kansas City.

"It's a pretty cool keepsake for the player," Wright explained.

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