GM John Dorsey continues to remake Chiefs through draft
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) When he was hired four years ago, Chiefs general manager John Dorsey not only inherited a two-win team with very little depth, but also one that was aging right before his eyes.
He's already done a lot to rectify that problem.
Sure, his first draft in 2013 was largely a bust outside of No. 1 overall pick Eric Fisher and tight end Travis Kelce, but the three subsequent drafts have reshaped the Kansas City roster.
Dorsey has made 24 selections and all but four of those players have contributed to a 10-4 record with the goal of clinching a playoff berth Sunday night against Denver.
Perhaps most gratifying? Three of those remaining 20 players were chosen to the Pro Bowl this week, including Kelce, who has emerged as one of the game's top tight ends.
Marcus Peters, the Chiefs' first-round pick a year ago, was selected for the second straight year, and fifth-round pick Tyreek Hill was chosen to the Pro Bowl as a rookie.
''Look,'' Chiefs coach Andy Reid said, explaining the way the team has been built, ''you try to accumulate as many good players as you can that fit into what you're doing, and handle themselves the right way, and then you roll.''
That sounds simple, but circumstances in Kansas City have actually made it quite difficult.
The first draft class was thrown together in a matter of weeks after Dorsey, Reid and the rest of their staffs came on board.
The Chiefs also traded two second-round picks to acquire quarterback Alex Smith from San Francisco, and then traded their first-round pick this past year to accumulate more selections, which they have in turn used to remake more of their roster.
Throw in the two draft picks that Dorsey was docked for tampering with his pursuit of then-free agent wide receiver Jeremy Maclin, and building through the draft has been a chore.
But it's one that has paid significant dividends.
Peters had five interceptions early in the season, and has been so productive when it comes to forcing turnovers that few quarterbacks choose to test him anymore.
Hill already has 10 touchdowns, two shy of the franchise rookie record, and they've come on the ground, through the air and on kickoff and punt returns
Then there's Kelce, who has 73 receptions to lead all NFL tight ends this season, and who needs 43 yards in the final two games to eclipse 1,000 for the first time in his career.
''I mean, I was there last year,'' Kelce said of the Pro Bowl,'' so I kind of had the expectation of reaching that accomplishment again, knowing we had the same core group of guys on offense. If you have guys around you playing amazing, you get the accolades off that.''
In many cases, the Chiefs' crop of young talent was acquired simply because Dorsey and Reid were willing to gamble on prospects with character questions when other teams were not.
Kelce was suspended for a season in college after failing a drug test. Peters was kicked off his team at Washington after getting into a run-in with coach Chris Petersen. And Hill was booted out of Oklahoma State after pleading guilty to striking his pregnant girlfriend.
None of them have had any off-the-field issues since they've arrived in Kansas City.
''It definitely means a lot,'' Hill said of the Pro Bowl recognition,'' but without my teammates, without my coaches, without this organization motivating me each and every day, giving me a chance, this wouldn't be possible. I have to thank everyone for giving me this chance.''
Now, there have been plenty of missteps in the draft, whether it was third-round pick KeiVarae Russell getting cut early this season or the five picks from 2013 no longer on the roster.
But at least so far, the hits appear to outweigh the misses.
Notes: OLB Justin Houston did not practice Wednesday because of swelling in his surgically repaired left knee, though Reid did not sound concerned. ''It's very common,'' he said. ''It's really just part of the recovery.'' ... CB Phillip Gaines (knee) also did not practice.
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