What We Learned from Chiefs GM John Dorsey on Friday

The Chiefs GM spoke with the media for his pre-draft press conference

OPENING STATEMENT:"Welcome everybody and good afternoon. As we start, before questions, I'd first like to say, we just concluded the first week of phase one. It's always good to have a little energy in the building. It's always fun to have the guys back. Also, before we start the questions, I'd like to thank everybody in football operations. I'm talking from the coaches, to the personnel staff, video guys and the equipment guys that kind of help in this process. It's a very arduous task of building the draft board. We did a study – you're going to fact check me here Terez [Paylor] on this one – but I really think it takes 60,000 hours to put this whole process together. I had the actuaries kind of do that. I thought that was a fun fact."

Q:Out of those 60,000 hours – how many of those are your hours?


Q:How many players do you have on the board this year?

DORSEY:"Well, I would say anywhere between 150 and 170."

Q:Is that about normal for you?

DORSEY:"It's about right."

Q:Who's in the 27th spot?

DORSEY:"There's a whole bunch of people there."

Q:What's your thought of the outside linebacker position in general? DORSEY:"In this year's draft, I think there are some very talented individuals. I think that not only spans from the top, but it goes down into the fourth and the fifth rounds as well. So, I think there are some pretty good players in this draft at that particular positon."

Q:How difficult is it to evaluate offensive linemen these days?

DORSEY:"I do find it interesting. I think you [Terez Paylor] may have asked me that back in February or March, but I think the way the spread option has evolved, it does make it harder because guys, during the two-point stance, don't have the leverage or the technique. To play that offensive line position, it's by repetition, by repetition, by repetition, so I think once you get into the National Football League, you better have some good offensive line coaches to work you through the process because by no means is it a finished product."

Q:What kind of role in the relevant strength of this offensive line class, played a role in the decision to lock up Laurent Duvernay-Tardif?

DORSEY:"I think each draft class is different. I think we've all said this year's offensive line position in this draft is not as talented as it has been in the last couple years. So, I think it's important to exercise every option that you possibly have to try and insure that you have stability within that offensive line group."

Q:How do you feel with where you are at running back right now?

DORSEY:"I think the two guys who are here right now, I think they've done a really wonderful job. I think the year before that, they did a very wonderful job. I think we're very happy with where we are. Then, we go into the offseason, we add C.J. Spiller to that to just give it a little boost and see if that works. Then, you have Darrin Reaves still there. I think these guys have shown that they're NFL football players."

Q:What did you see from C.J. Spiller in particular?

DORSEY:"I saw the quickness and the speed that he had in college. He was nursing a knee injury – I think when he was with the Saints, and then, he went to Seattle. I saw that twitch back in him that he had earlier in his career."

Q:Did you learn or come away with anything in particular from the fall out or feedback last year with Tyreek Hill? How do you draw the line with caution light and red flag with each player?

DORSEY:"We have a very thorough process in place. We always have had a thorough process in place. We have a checks and balances system in place. What we do is, we do very intensive research. What we do, normally – I've always done this and I will always continue to do this – the Tuesday before the draft in those types of cases, we sit down collectively with the coaching staff, some scouts in certain areas, some decision makers – the head coach and myself – and we'll collectively say, 'is this guy a Chiefs fit?' So, after the extensive research that we'd done with Tyreek [Hill], we thought – yes – he was a perfect fit for the Chiefs."

Q:Did it matter to you anyway that there was a lot of skepticism about the decision from the media or do you just have to know your own course? You're putting risk-reward in it yourself.

DORSEY:"No, I understand that, and it's a process. I have to be strong enough as a decision maker to say, 'what's in the best interest of this organization and this community?' I will do that, and I've always done that. He [Tyreek Hill] is exactly who I thought he would be as a person. So, no, do I think about that? I told you many years ago, I turn the radio, the T.V. and the newspaper off the last six weeks, and I still do that – block out all that noise."

Q:What is your evaluation of the overall roster today compared to where it was a year ago?

DORSEY:"I like our roster. I like the people that make up the roster that are in it. We talk about competitive balance and competitiveness. I think every position across the board is competition. You have to create competition to ensure that you're moving forward in the proper direction. I think these guys understand that competition brings out the best of them. I think Coach [Andy] Reid has always said – and I agree with it – 'no, spot is guaranteed.' You go in and compete for that spot if you're a young buck, and you go in, and compete and you get it, then you earn it. That's how we go about it. I like the roster where we are right now."

Q:With 10 picks, do you think you'd add 10 players to this roster knowing how competitive your roster is right now and some of those guys could potentially not make the team?

DORSEY:"I like to have a lot of picks because you can do a lot of things with a lot of picks. I do."

Q:Is that a no?

DORSEY:"Well, I like lots of picks. You can do lots of things. It's better than the opposite."

Q: Do you have room for 10 draft picks if that's what it comes to?

DORSEY: "I think that's a hypothetical and when we get there we'll deal with it, but are we going to do the same thing we always do? Are we going to see if we can trade up and get some stuff, are we going to see if we can trade back and get more? We're always going to do our due diligence with that regard and I think us as an organization, we have to do that and I think that's what good clubs do. You have to see every option available before you make that pick, either going up or going back, or staying put."

Q: How about quarterbacks, is there a difference entering this draft and the approach at drafting a quarterback than the previous drafts?

DORSEY: "No I think it's perception versus reality from where I sit. I attack every position, every year, the same exact way regardless of if it is a quarterback, punter, linebacker, wide receiver, long snapper, I do my diligence on every one, and that's why we stack those boards at the right positions."

Q: When you're in the draft room, who's doing most of the talking?

DORSEY: "On what phase? There's different phases that we're involved in now."

Q: When the draft commences and the pick comes up, what is the communication?

DORSEY: "Here's the thing, to me when you go through the draft its factual, not emotional, we've always said that. All the discussion, all the clarity, all of that is as a group we sit together and have discussions. You can sit and discuss your position on a particular player, but at the end of the day we're going to pick who is best for the Kansas City Chiefs. What you do then, and I've always said this, you let that board kind of talk to you and trickle down and then you'll see because you have all your hard evidence  already established."

Q: What processes do you have in place to keep that last minute voice from coming up and changing the set plan?

DORSEY: "I think it's important, that's why you have that Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday discussion, you have a period just like that. We sit around for two hours and you just say, "okay here's where we are," we're going to talk about this thing, anybody have any other last thoughts with regards to position with what's on that board and I think all of that is talked out, because at the end of the day, this thing is about the Kansas City Chiefs and getting this thing right."

Q: How much do you guys play mock draft? Do you have to play that game with the first round to anticipate what other teams might do and who might be available?

DORSEY: "I'm not big on mock drafts. We have discussions similar to the mock drafts, but I don't pay attention to the mock drafts."

Q: When you're building your models as far as trying to figure out what players may be there, how often are you surprised to where a player may have fallen and you're in a positon to take somebody that you weren't expecting to be there?

DORSEY: "It happens every year and you just have to be prepared for it, it always does."

Q: Are you willing to take a quarterback in the first round even though he might not play for a year or two behind Alex Smith?

DORSEY: "If he's deemed the best available player I will, and I'll do that."

Q: Pretty deep group on the edge rushers, where do you think you are at that position where the roster currently sits?

DORSEY: "I think we have a good nucleus there, but I think in today's football you can't have enough, it's getting to be one of those premium positions where you can't have enough of those guys. Do I like the depth of this year's class? I do. I think each one of them has some special traits that not only could help a 4-3 team, but also there's a lot of those 4-3 ends that have actually shown that they have the ability to stand up and play a 3-4 outside linebacker and is athletic enough to drop in space when he's called upon, but I do like the depth of the edge rushers this year."

Q: On Dee Ford's option.

DORSEY: "We don't have to address that until the first week of May. We'll address that when it comes."

Q: When you make that decision, what is the thought process?

DORSEY: "You have to see if he's contributed enough to do that and made an impact. I thought last year he did a great job."

Q: What do you think of the quarterback class?

DORSEY: "I think there are some talented athletes within this class. I think they have different skill sets that vary – some are better runners, or this and this. Now making the transition from college to the professional level, that's a different animal. Are there any sure fire, bang starters right off the bat? You may take a poll on other GMs, but I personally don't think so. Are there some quarterbacks who have enough traits and skills to be developed down the road? Yeah there sure is."

Q: Did you think Dak Prescott was one of those guys that could come in and start right away last year?

DORSEY: "No, everybody will probably try and sit up here and say "yeah I had him". We had him at a position right around where he drafted and I think what he's done, I think he went to the right organization, the right offense and you applaud a guy like that. Really I can't talk much more about him because he's property of another team, so he did pretty good."

Q:Do you like the schedule?

DORSEY:"I do. I texted Clark [Hunt] last night and told him, 'this is probably the best schedule in our five years -- that I've been a part of.' That's a reflection of the organization and the direction we're headed. It's a reflection of ownership and how we've culturally tried to build this organization and say, 'you know what? We're a pretty good football team.' Of course you also have Andy [Reid's] steady leadership and guidance, which always helps as well. So yeah, I'm happy with it."

Q:What makes it the best schedule since you've been here?

DORSEY:"I like three home games in December. I love that. I hope the fans will love that too. There's nothing better than having three out of the four last games here. I think the bye week is in the perfect position from my standpoint. I also like that this year, we don't have two back-to-back road games. If you look at the schedule, it's back-and-forth with our only consecutive road weeks separated with the bye week. That's the caveat there."

Q:What makes December home games good?

DORSEY:"The fans."

Q:Are they not there in September?

DORSEY:"[They're there] all year. But you're making that playoff push in December and it's so incredibly important to have the fans there when you're making that push. I just think it's a really good way that it finishes out."

Q:Do you like all the primetime games from a football standpoint?

DORSEY:"Me personally? I do like how it's positioned because I think it's a reflection of the organization. Now if I were a purest football guy, I'd have every game start at 12 o'clock, but the National Football League doesn't work like that."

Q:Is the NFL Draft the most exciting time of the year for you?

DORSEY:"No. It's one of them because what you're doing and what we've always said is that you want to build through the draft. We think the draft is a really important process in the long-term future of stable organizations, that carries over to different things. It's one important component of it. My personal favorite moment is the opening day of training camp. I love that."

Q:Alex Smith said earlier this week he would be willing to restructure his contract in order to help the team -- like Derrick Johnson did. Is that a possibility? Have you discussed an extension at all?

DORSEY:"That's one of those hypotheticals I don't have to deal with. And I won't deal with it until after the draft."

Q:After making the jump last year and taking a player with a 'history' in Tyreek Hill, do you have to think twice about taking someone with that specific history this year?

DORSEY:"Again, we have a process in place. I believe I stated in one of the earlier questions that I'm a creature of habit. I like my system in order and in place. That's how we do things and that's how I'm compartmentalized. We know he is a very talented running back. With my process, when we deal with these types of situations, we had that meeting on Tuesday before Thursday's draft in place. When those decisions are made, that's on that Tuesday, and then you can make the ultimate decisions."

Q:What happens when one of your sources gives you information on Wednesday that would impact what you talked about on Tuesday and potentially during the draft?

DORSEY:"The credibility of the information is very important. Especially at that Wednesday before the Thursday draft. If it's credible, it will impact certain things and I will pay attention to it. It all depends who the source was."

Q:If the source was really good, you might just revisit with your guys and talk about it?

DORSEY:"We'll talk it through. Communication, as you all know, is everything."

Q:Do you have to consider having too many players in the locker room with a 'history'?

DORSEY:"I think it's a case-by-case study and research. As I look at this thing, I want to make sure when that person comes to Kansas City, he will not only fit into this locker room, but also into the community. I've always taken that into accountability."

Q:Is there a balance within the locker room where you can take on so much 'troubled past' on a particular roster versus say a 'really good' roster?

DORSEY:"We have a very strong locker room and I've always said that is so important. But again, it's a case-by-case basis. When I try to sit and talk to people, I want to see, are they a good person? My thought is to look into every man's soul and see if he truly has a blessed soul. That's kind of how I look at things."

Q:How do you feel about the Chiefs cornerback situation and the depth of this year's corners in the draft?

DORSEY:"With the cornerback class this year, it's probably as deep a group of cornerbacks as I've seen in 10 years or so. I can't remember the last time that 'X' amount of corners were taken in the first round. I think it may have been seven in the first round or something like that. There's a chance there could be seven corners taken in the draft. Now, do I like the corners on our roster? Yeah. I do. I think there's growth, development and some really good players on it. That's not to say we won't acquire some more corners because this is a league now a days where you can't have enough of those good cornerbacks."

Q:Why would the football purest in you like to play at noon every day?

DORSEY:"Because I can go home and sleep at like eight o'clock in the evening maybe [laughing]. But I really do understand it and it doesn't bother me a bit. I was just saying.

Q:Is it difficult on a player to have a schedule that varies as opposed to just a noon start every week?

DORSEY:"As long as we continue to make the progress we're making, I'm willing to play these types of games on a year-by-year basis. But I think it's a reflection of where we're headed."

Q:But is it difficult on a player?

DORSEY: "I wouldn't know. When I was a player, they were noon every Sunday because we were like 4-12. We weren't very good."

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